How often does an everyday person get a chance to own a gun that was possessed and used by one of America's most notorious gangsters?
It's probably not likely.
But that's what will happen for a lucky bidder after the first of the new year. A pistol that belonged to Al Capone goes up for public auction in Byron Center, Michigan.
"It came into our possession two weeks ago from a collector here in West Michigan," said Austin Miedema, auction manager for SSL Firearms Corporation, which is the company hosting the online auction. "The collector commissioned us to sell it for him."
Al Capone vacationed in Michigan many times during his reign as mob boss during the prohibition period in Chicago, Illinois. It's been well documented that he and his henchmen spent extensive time in the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph area, during the 1920s. Capone also owned a houses all over West Michigan, including one in Newaygo County.
The Muskegon Big Reds were his favorite football team.
Still, the fact that a gun linked back to Capone himself, loose "in the wild", so to speak, seems impossible nearly a century since the Gangster Era ended, but Miedema says he has the paperwork to prove the path of ownership to this pistol.
"It was no secret that Capone loved to play golf when he spent time in Michigan, and because of the constant threats he dealt with, he always carried a gun in his golf bag at all times." said Miedema. "He kept it hidden in a golf ball box.
"One of Capone's booze runners by the name of Charles D'Agostino, stole Capone's .32 Smith & Wesson pistol out of the golf bag after a golf outing in St. Joseph. According to the notarized documentation that came with the gun, Charles D'Agostino would later give the revolver to his half-brother, Dominick D'Agostino who, in 1983, then sold the gun to a man named Robert Forrest, who was from East Grand Rapids.
Capone also owned a houses all over West Michigan, including one in Newaygo County.
"The current owner purchased the gun at at estate sale, then brought it to us to auction off."
"People can come in over the course of the next month and touch the gun, feel the gun, and make their own decision as to the provenance and authenticity," said Miedema. "All the documentation and stories link up to this gun having once belonged to Al Capone."
If you're interested in bidding on this gun, SSL Firearms Corporation is welcoming the public to their headquarters in Byron Center (601 Gordon Industrial Ct. SW) to view the piece in person, but you're encouraged to call ahead to make an appointment.
The online auction will be held Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. It's scheduled to run twelve hours, beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m.