The Kray brothers collectibles

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:52:23

The Kray brothers collectibles are items of crime memorabilia relating to notorious English gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

 

Background

The Kray twins, Ronnie (1933-1995) and Reggie (1933-2000) were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End throughout the 1950s and 60s.

In their younger years they were involved with amateur boxing, but after a brush with the law and dishonourable discharge from the Royal Fusiliers, they turned to crime.

They were known for involvement in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults, torture, and murder. They also owned nightclubs, where they rubbed shoulders with prominent entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Barbara Windsor and Judy Garland, as well as politicians and lords. They were seen as prosperous and charming, and part of the Swinging London scene.

The Kray’s were feared all over London, and became criminal celebrities of a sort, interviewed on television and photographed by David Bailey.

The brothers were arrested in 1968, and convicted in 1969 by Detective Superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. Ronnie was certified as insane, having paranoid schizophrenia, and served his sentence in Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne. He died of a heart attack in 1995. Reggie served his sentence as a Category A prisoner, with no liberties and no permission to mix with other prisoners. In his later years, he was first downgraded, and then allowed compassionate release a few months before his death 2000.

Notable Kray brothers collectibles

The celebrity status surrounding the two has resulted in a wealth of collectible material. From the photographs taken of the pair by David Bailey, and the book ‘My Story’ published by Ronnie Kray, to the letters sent from prison and the growing market for their prison artwork, there is an established collecting community for Kray brothers items.

Art

  • Ronnie Kray – Untitled (landscape with house and tree) sold for £3,400 at Bloomsbury Auctions in November 2006.
  • Ronnie Kray – Crucifixion sold for £4,800 at Chiswick Auctions in January 2009.
  • Ronnie Kray – Warriors sold for £820 at a James and Sons auction on July 11th.

Possessions

  • Cufflinks belonging to Ronnie fetched nearly £15,000 at Chiswick Auctions in January 2009.
  • A letter to Ronnie from Francis Bacon sold for £7,400 at the same auction.
  • Letters from Reggie Kray to his girlfriend sold for £1,100 in November 2011.
  • Autographed photographs of celebrities inscribed to either of the brothers are also popular items.

Other

  • David Bailey photographs of the Kray brothers, 1965, sold for £7,500 at Christie’s in November 2007 and for £10,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in November 2010.
  • Photograph of Ronnie Kray with Conservative politician Lord Boothby sold for £550 at Gorringes auction house in October 2010.
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