29 November 2013
“And he did do all those things they said he did!”
Handsignierter Al Capone Brief kommt zusammen mit der 15% Rabattaktion vor Weihnachten.
„Wie man sich vorstellen kann, hat Capone nicht besonders viele Autogrammstunden gegeben.“ Markus schmunzelt.
Der amerikanische Gangster Al Capone, der ein Verbrechersyndikat zur Prohibitionszeit führte, hat so gut wie nichts handschriftlich hinterlassen. Daher war es für die Sondereinheit des FBI`s lange Zeit schwierig, ihm Verbrechen nachzuweisen.
Nach seiner Haftstrafe auf Alcatraz führte Al Capone ein ruhiges Familienleben in Palm Island, Florida. Nach Luciano Lorizzo’s 2003 Biographie verbrachte Capone viel Zeit beim Kartenspielen mit Bekannten aus seiner glorreichen Zeit - sie besuchten ihn häufig und hatten noch immer so viel Respekt vor ihrem ehemaligen Boss, dass sie ihn selten verlieren ließen. Zu dieser Zeit traf er auch Gertrude Cole, die seit längerer Zeit eine enge Freundin seiner Schwiegertochter Diana Casey war. Dank ihrer Ausbildung als Krankenschwester, ihrem Ruf als vertrauenswürdiger und zuverlässiger Begleitperson und ihrer Liebe für Pferderennen, wurde sie eine angenehme Freundin und gelegentliche Betreuerin in Al’s Welt.
Cole`s Enkeltochter beschreibt in einem drei Seiten langen Provenienzbrief die Freundschaft von ihrer Großmutter zu Capone. Mit der persönlichen Geschichte erhält das Stück einen ganz besonderen Reiz, da man sich ihm gleich näher fühlt.
Dabei handelt es sich um einen eigenhändigen Brief mit Unterschrift (Mitte 1940er Jahre) an Gertrude F. Cole, die er um einige Artikel aus einem Geschäft bittet, geschrieben und signiert in dunkler Tinte "Your dear old pal, Al", montiert zur Ausstellung mit einer unveröffentlichten original Vintage Photographie (entstanden an Capones Haus in Palm Island in Miami, Florida), die Capone und seine Frau Mae zeigt.
"Cole - Please bring me 3 decks of Pennucle Cards, 1 large bottle of Bayer`s Aspirin & get some ...Borax or Lux or any kind of soap you can the more the better. Your dear old pal, Al"
„Dies ist vermutlich die einmalige Chance einen handgeschriebenen Brief mit exakter Provenienz zu erwerben“, so Brandes. „Dieses Objekt kommt zeitgleich mit der 15% Rabattaktion ab dem 29.November bei www.brandesautographs.com in den Handel.“
Folgend der Provenienzbrief in englischer Sprache:
July 14, 2013
This letter is to provide background information on the history of this note and photograph. The note is a grocery list written to my grandmother, Gertrude F. Cole, by Al Capone in the mid 1940's. The photograph is of Al Capone and his wife Mae. The photograph was taken in front of the Capone home on Palm Island in Miami, Florida. At the time their only child, Albert Francis Capone known as "Sonny", was married to Diana Ruth Casey.
My grandmother came to know Al and Mae Capone through her close relationship with the Casey family. When my grandfather passed away, my grandmother became the sole provider for my Mother, their only child. She always loved caring for people so she became an LPN. Cole, as she was known, was an unusual, independent woman, trusted by all who knew her. I was told that was one of the reasons Al valued her friendship. She kept everything anyone told her in confidence. Also very intuitive, she loved to go to the horse races at Hialeah horse race track. Once, she bet on two horses to win. A photo finish, they could not determine which horse crossed first so both were declared a winner.
Cole entered the Casey's life to help care for Diana Ruth Casey's grandmother. Cole soon became a trusted family member and close friend. She was very close to the two Casey children, Diana Ruth Casey and James "Pop" Casey, and remained so until her death. Diana or "Boogie" as she was known attended Miami High School with Sonny Capone. They were high school sweethearts. Another classmate in high school was Desi Arnaz. It was through Boogie's relationship with Sonny, Cole (and my parents) met Al and Mae Capone.
Cole came to live with us in Louisiana when I was small. When I was ten years old, I went on a road trip with Cole and my aunt to Florida. Cole had not returned in many years. I met Ruth Casey (Boogie's Mother) as well as Mae. I was told they were my grandmother's close friends and she had known them in Miami. I remembered them as being very nice to a young girl. Every year, my grandmother would receive birthday and holiday cards from them.
Many years later, Cole had a stroke and because my Mother could not physically take care for her, she could no longer live in our home. With deep regret, my Mother placed her in a nursing home.
On one of my visits to see her on her birthday, I was making conversation looking at her cards. I held one card signed by "Mae" and asked Cole if that was the woman I had met in Florida.
"Yes," she said. I then asked, "What was her last name?" Cole said,
"Clark that is the name they used." I asked, "What do you mean the name they used?" In a moment of lucidity, Cole responded, "Well, their name was Capone." "Capone, do you mean as in Al Capone?" I replied.
Her answer was yes. At that moment, my mother turned around and said, "Oh Jan, we told you that story." I quickly replied no one had ever made that connection for me and I was certain my older brother did not know the story either because we would have remembered it. Cole then went on to say, “And he did do all those things they said he did!”
When we returned home, Mom told my Dad, "Jan said we never told her about Al, Mae, and Sonny. Dad thought they had shared the story as well. Now my curiosity could not be contained. Mom retrieved this note handwritten by Al to Cole as well as the photographs. Apparently, Cole had several conversations with Boogie before her marriage, trying to get
her to think about the family with whom she would now be associated. Love prevailed. I now assume my grandmother was present at St. Patrick's church when Sonny and Boogie married on Dec. 30, 1941 in Miami. Sonny was twenty-two and Boogie was twenty-one.
Cole was a frequent visitor at the Capone house. Since she had a love of horse racing as did Al, they may have discussed the daily events at Hialeah. Cole had taken me there on our trip. With her nursing background, she may have assisted Mae with his care. This is the
reason I think he wrote her the grocery note asking for three decks of Pinochle cards, Bayer's aspirin, and Lux soap - the more the better. Since part of his handwriting is difficult to read, I speculate his health was declining at the time.
I asked my parents if they had ever been to the Capone house. They had been there several times during the mid 1940's, once for Thanksgiving dinner. Jokingly, I asked if there were several guys walking around with machine guns guarding him. They said no, but the Capones did have a "butler” called Brown who worked for them.
When I asked my parents why they never shared the story, they replied "times were different. You just didn't talk about those things." They had met Al after his return from his time served in Alcatraz. When they moved to Louisiana, the home of my Father, in 1945, they did not want anyone to think badly of or make assumptions about the relationship Coleand my Mother had with the Capones.
I chose not to part with these mementos while my Mother was still alive to protect her desire to respect the family relationship. While I always thought of the story as fun, interesting, and entertaining, she felt it was a private matter and would only discuss it with me.
Now, I would like to pass these remembrances to a collector who will preserve and cherish them and relate the story behind the collectibles to others.
Jan Day Gravel