Sterling silver cigarette case presented to Al Capone and his wife Mae by fellow mobster Johnny Torrio on the occasion of their 11th wedding anniversary. The elegant case measures 2.75″ x 3.5″ x .25″, and features a presentation inscription engraved on the reverse, "To Al and Mae, 12-18-29, From John Torrio." The front is engraved with a central monogram, "C," surrounded by a foliate border. The case boasts a spring-loaded hinge with internal cigarette clip, and is stamped "Sterling" on an inner edge. In fine condition.
Capone came of age under Johnny Torrio in Brooklyn, looking up to him as a mentor while serving as his bodyguard and trusted associate. While in New York, Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin on December 18, 1918, in a ceremony at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church on Court Street, presided over by Rev. James J. Delaney. Shortly after Prohibition began, Torrio summoned Capone to Chicago to act as his lieutenant in a violent effort to corner the market in the bootleg whiskey trade. Fronting as a used furniture dealer, Capone organized a gang of gunmen and began a campaign of terror to drive out the competition. In 1925, Torrio was brutally shot and beaten in retaliation for the murder of rival mobster Dean O'Banion; though Torrio survived and slowly recovered, he made the decision to retire and turned the reigns of his gangland empire over to Al Capone.
Provenance: Lot 395, Christie's, June 20, 1990. From the collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts.
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