Al Capone's 'favorite gun' up for auction, could fetch over $2 million

'Sweetheart' Colt .45 pistol last sold in 2021 for over $1 million

Cover Image for Al Capone's 'favorite gun' up for auction, could fetch over $2 million

Al Capone's "Sweetheart" Colt .45 pistol has hit the auction block at Richmond Auctions, a leading antique firearm and advertising auction house.

Richmond has placed an estimate of $2 million to $3 million on the weapon, which Capone credited with saving his life on multiple occasion and nicknamed "Sweetheart." Bidding for the single-lot auction starts at $500,000.

The pistol previously sold to a private collector in 2021 for $1,040,600, topping a 175-lot sale of the Capone estate at Witherell Auction.

The 2021 sale of nearly 200 items from Capone's life was consigned by his granddaughters, Barbara and Diane Capone.

"This gun was kind of his protection, and I think it saved his life on a number of occasions, and so he called it his sweetheart," Diane Capone told CBS News in 2021.

Despite Capone's widely-believed involvement in a litany of brutal slayings, most notably the 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, which resulted in the death of seven people associated with Chicago's North Side Gang, he was never convicted of a violent crime. Instead, his downfall was precipitated by a 1931 conviction of five counts of tax evasion.

Capone ultimately served nearly eight years in prison before his release.

The firearm was given to Capone's wife, Mae, after his 1947 death, who in turn passed it down through generations of her family, ultimately arriving in the ownership of his granddaughter's, who consigned the weapon as one of the lots in the 2021 auction.

Other notable items from Capone's estate which sold in the 2021 auction at Witherall's included a Platinum and Diamond Patek Philippe pocket watch ($229,900), a personal letter from Capone to his son Sonny ($56,700) and an 18K yellow gold and platinum belt buckle ($27,225).

One popular piece that has come up frequently in auctions are Capone-signed gold coin interest notes. One sold at Goldin for a record $43,200 in February 2022. Swatches of the Capone family dining room table cloth, graded by CAG, normally sell in the $150-$200 range.

In recent years, collectible firearms — particularly those with historic provenance — have seen an outpouring of interest from buyers. In August 2021, Bonham's sold the gun used to kill Billy the Kid for $6,030,313, a world record for any firearm.

In December 2020, a semi automatic Walther PP gun used by Sean Connery in the first James Bond Film, “Dr. No,” sold for $256,000 at Julien’s.

Rock Island Auction Company, which specializes in firearms, reported their third consecutive year of more than $100 million in sales in December 2023, a mark which the company described in a release as an “unprecedented occurrence in the fine arms field."

Pre-bidding on Capone's "Sweetheart" gun has begun and will culminate with live bidding May 18.

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct. You can follow him on X at @Will__Stern.