Items owned by notorious Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger may be up for auction soon.
The Boston Globe reported Saturday that the US Marshals Service will put belongings seized from Bulger’s California apartment after his 2011 arrest up for auction, with the proceeds divided among the families of those Bulger murdered.
Federal authorities are appraising the items, now in storage in Massachusetts. So far, the most valuable items are Bulger’s claddagh ring, valued at $48,000, and his replica 1986 Stanley Cup championship ring, valued at $3,000.
“It’s difficult to tell what an item might sell for given the notoriety of a defendant,” Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of the asset forfeiture division of the US Marshals Service, told the Globe.
Other items that could make it to the auction block, according to an ABC News report, include:
binoculars, a telescope, camouflage clothing, nine fedoras, 27 pairs of sunglasses, ceramic poodle salt and pepper shakers, assorted porcelain cats and hundreds of books, many with Bulger’s handwritten notes scrawled in the margins. There’s also a McCain/Palin campaign button and a God Bless America poster.
Authorities handling the appraisal are weighing getting as much money as possible for the victims’ families against whether an auction would be seen as an attempt to cash in on Bulger’s notoriety.
“The reality is there are lots of people who would be willing to pay money for some or all of the contents of that apartment, and that money is going to victims and victims’ families. So we want to do what we can to get as much money as we can for them,” First Assistant US Attorney Jack Pirozzolo told the Globe.
The wife of one of Bulger’s victim’s supports the auction.
“If they can sell anything he owned down to a ballpoint pen, then good luck to them,” said Patricia Donahue. Her husband, Michael, was shot to death by Bulger in 1982. “I’m sure the victims could use the money.”
According to Wojdylo, the US attorney’s office will decide what, if anything, to sell. Once the auction is approved, it may take a month or two to schedule it. The auction may be live or online, or both at the same time.
Bulger, 84, was on the run from 1994 until his capture in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2011. He was found guilty in August of murder, drug trafficking, extortion, and other crimes committed while running an extensive Boston crime ring from the 1970s to the 1990s.
He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison on Nov. 14.