With the capture of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger yesterday, we're all in Mafia-mode today. And lo and behold, there was a Mafia-related auction close-to-home yesterday: a NJ man paid nearly $11,000 for a vintage government file filled with photos and facts about more than 800 Mafia members during the 1950s and early 1960s, including Meyer Lansky, Salvatore "Lucky" Luciano and Carlo "Don Carlo" Gambino.
The files, stamped "Mafia" and "United States Treasury Department Bureau of Narcotics," are No. 31 of just 50 printed copies of the file, with the other 49 lost or likely destroyed over the decades, according to Christina Geiger of auction house Bonham's. They were found by chance in the back of a yellow cab by a passenger in the 90s, and turned into a redaction-filled book in 2006.
Geiger added that Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire fans would especially get a kick out of them: "It really gives the flavor of organized crime in the middle of the century. From a book collecting perspective, this is the first time that the Mafia is acknowledged by the federal government, and probably the first time that the word was used in that context because (J. Edgar) Hoover was still denying the existence of organized crime not long before this was produced." Click through to see a couple of the files.