Star of David Ring Among Hundreds of Mobster-Owned Items Set for Auction
A trove of items owned by some of the most notorious figures in 20th century organized crime in America, some of whom were Jewish, will be up for auction in August in Beverly Hills, California, and online.
The rare historic collection of items is owned by Jay Bloom, founder of the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. The items will be auctioned by Julien’s Auctions on August 28 and feature hundreds of personal artifacts from some of America’s most infamous gangsters and crime family members, including Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, Meyer “The Little Man” Lansky, Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, Sam “MoMo” Giancana, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano and “Scarface” Al Capone.
Black Spartan boxing gloves belonging to Jewish Los Angeles-based crime boss Mickey Cohen are expected to be auctioned for $10,000–$20,000, while his gold and diamond Star of David ring is expected to fetch for $800–$1,200.
One item for sale that was owned by Lansky, a mob accountant and key figure in the American mobster scene, is a Medal of Freedom ($40,000–$60,000) that he was presented in a secret ceremony by President Harry S. Truman in 1945. Lansky was given the honor for his work with the Sicilian mob to provide information to the US about the location of Nazi forces during World War II, called “Operation Husky.”
Lansky’s inscribed copy of a Passover Haggadah is expected to sell for $2,000–$3,000. Also up for sale is a 1948 love letter sent by Lansky to his second wife, Thelma ‘Teddy’ Schwartz; a set of four hand-written notebooks that have been dubbed “The Lansky Diaries”; his colorful bowtie collection; and a monogrammed oak cane that was given to Lansky as a gift from Luciano. The cane, which has a gold top that has “ML” carved into it, is expected to sell for $5,000–$7,000.
Bloom said the collection was “sourced directly” from surviving immediate family members of the mobsters, including their spouses, children, nieces and nephews and grandchildren, and also caregivers. He said the artifacts were “an extraordinary, once in a lifetime, look into the psyche of some of the most secretive people in history who, behind the curtains, helped shape the course of our nation and the world.”