“To My Dear Son, Well Son of my heart, here is dear father, who loves you with all my heart and proud to have a son, as smart as you are,” Mr. Capone wrote in the letter, dated Oct. 5, 1939. “Give Mother a nice big kiss for me and God bless you both. Your dear Father Alphonse Capone.”
It sold for $56,700, including the buyer’s premium.
Fifty-six people attended the auction in person, which was accessible only by lottery or invitation. Nearly 1,500 bidders registered, and more than 200 bidders followed the auction online or over the phone.
A surviving granddaughter of Mr. Capone, Diane Capone, said in August that she and her two surviving sisters, who all live in and around Auburn, Calif., had decided to sell the possessions because they were growing older and worried what might happen to the items if Northern California wildfires forced them to flee quickly.
“We decided that it was time to part with these family heirlooms and to reveal a very different side of Al Capone that most people would never imagine,” she said in a statement. “To us, he was Papa. He was a very loving and doting husband, father and grandfather who would run around the house playing with us as small children. He was clearly a complex man, and that’s evident if you examine the years after his imprisonment at Alcatraz.”
Mr. Capone is believed to have been behind the deaths of more than 200 people, including a prosecutor. Although he was never convicted of murder, he was sentenced in 1931 for tax evasion and served seven and a half years in federal prison. He was released from prison in 1939 as his health deteriorated because of paresis, a partial paralysis resulting from syphilis.
He died at 48 of complications from a stroke and pneumonia in January 1947 in his villa in Palm Island, Fla.
Separate from the California auction, the Palm Island property was also recently put up for sale. The mobster’s mansion in the exclusive neighborhood on Palm Island, in Biscayne Bay just west of Miami Beach, sold for $10.75 million in August to Todd Glaser, a real estate developer, and Nelson Gonzalez, an investor, who had planned to raze the residence and build a modern one.