Eliot Ness Prohibition agent memorabilia to sell

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2015-06-26 10:56:12

Eliot Ness Prohibition agent memorabilia to sell

A cache of rare memorabilia relating to Prohibition agent and leader of The Untouchables Eliot Ness is to go on sale by Central Mass Auctions on September 27th.

Ness became a U.S. Treasury Agent in 1927, and a U.S. Prohibition agent in 1928 for Chicago. He led the team of enforcement agents known as ‘The Untouchables’, called so because they refused to take bribes from Al Capone, and other notorious smuggling and bootlegging gangsters of the era. They enforced Prohibition and tax laws to bring down Capone and his beer and liquor empire of speakeasies, stills and breweries. The Untouchables wire-tapped gangster hangouts to gain information, and ran raids into their establishments. They were disbanded after Capone’s arrest in 1931, and Ness was named Chief Investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago.

For some, this collection is the ultimate in Americana, representing one of the most notorious and divisive eras of 20th century history. The whole is expected to fetch between $30,000 and $50,000. It includes the only two known Ness credentials: Department of Justice May 14, 1932 credential, numbered 3423, and Treasury Department of Prohibition May 20 1927 credential, numbered 557.

Other items include his business card, canvass photographs and brochures from his unsuccessful mayoral candidate campaign for Cleveland in 1947, photographs of Ness with contemporary dignitaries, handwritten notes, telegrams, and more.

The items were in the possession of Ness’ personal secretary, the trustworthy Winifred Higgins Knorr. The collection includes several personal effects of the late Ms. Higgins, an attorney who also held significant governmental positions.

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