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American Gangster Al Capone's Iconic Pistol 'Sweetheart' Is Going Up For Auction

The Colt 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol is claimed to have saved the gangster's life multipe times.
Cover Image Source: Al Capone on the day of his release from jail, Chicago, 1939 | Getty Images | Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum
Cover Image Source: Al Capone on the day of his release from jail, Chicago, 1939 | Getty Images | Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum

An iconic relic belonging to famous gangster Al Capone, also known as “Scarface” and  “The Most Shot at Man in America,” is set to go on the auction block in Greenville in May. Richmond Auctions announced the upcoming auction of the handgun nicknamed "Sweetheart" by Al Capone. The handgun that was used for personal protection by Capone is a Colt 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol. The item is expected to attract significant global interest and potentially break records.


Capone reigned as a crime boss and a notorious gangster in Chicago during the prohibition era. He had many enemies, including other criminals and law enforcement, so he carried the Colt .45 pistol as a personal protection weapon. According to his granddaughter, he referred to the Model 1911 semi-automatic as his "sweetheart" as it had saved his life on multiple occasions. It is also likely that the gun was one of his most used weapons.

Police mug shot of Chicago Mobster Al Capone. The photograph was taken by the Miami Police Department. | Getty Images
Police mug shot of Chicago Mobster Al Capone | Photo by Miami Police Department | Getty Images

As per a report from The State, the gun first came to auction from his granddaughter Diane, with whom he grew close while serving out a jail sentence at Alcatraz. After the gangster’s death, the pistol passed to his wife, then their son Sonny Capone, and later to his granddaughters. In October 2021, Diane sold the gun under the Capone Estate to a private collector for $860,000. The weapon was sold through Witherell’s Auction House in Sacramento, California, close to where Sonny Capone lived in his later years. It was one of 174 items sold, including personal photographs, pocket watches, jewelry, and more owned by the Capone family.

People registered for the auction worldwide and the pistol was the top seller among the lot. At the time, the Capone granddaughters were criticized for mongering “blood money.” However, Diane Patricia Capone told CBS News that the family wanted the world to know and remember Al Capone as the grandfather they knew and not as the mobster.


The owner of the gun is a businessman in Las Vegas who bought the gun as an oddity to show visitors to his office, Richmond said in the report. The owner found Richmond on Google after he heard the news that Richmond sold guns of John Wayne’s family for $5.4 million last year.

Richmond Auctions specializes in antique advertising and firearms and is auctioning Capone’s pistol at their gallery on Donaldson Road. As per their website, the starting bid for the pistol has been set as $500,000. Along with the pistol, the winning bidder will also get a certificate of authenticity, a notarized letter from the Capone family about the chain of custody, and a Colt Historical Archive letter that shows whom the pistol was initially sold to. Interested buyers can arrange for an advance viewing by making an appointment from Richmond. The final auction will be held at 3 p.m. on May 18 and bids will be accepted in person, online, by phone, or absentee.


Jordan Richmond, owner of Richmond Auctions, told The State that the pistol is expected to break records including the $6 million paid for the gun that brought down Billy the Kid.  “The history is incredible, What it’s been through, what it’s seen,” Richmond said.