Mobster's hidden treasure up for sale
July 28, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- You don't often hear a story about government officials doing the mob's bidding. But, in this intelligence Report, that is just what the U.S. Marshal's Service is about to do with thousands of dollars in outfit cash.
The government is about to sell off some of the hidden treasure of a Chicago mobster.
This is the latest installment in the long saga of Frank "The Breeze" Calabrese and a stash of cash that he was hiding in his Oak Brook home.
Calabrese is now serving a life sentence for running outfit rackets and committing gangland murders.
After Calabrese was convicted in the Operation Family Secrets mob trial, federal agents found his hidden money and are about to sell it.
At the Oak Brook home of imprisoned mob boss Frank Calabrese Sr., down in the basement covered by a family portrait, authorities found Calabrese's secret hiding place. Loose diamonds, other expensive gems and finished jewelry had been stashed behind the drywall and the between the studs.
And there was $750,000 in cash, according to authorities, some of it in unusually large bills.
Now we know how big of a bounty. Calabrese had dozens of $1,000 and $500 bills, printed in the 1920s and 30s, that the government is about to auction to help satisfy the mobster's fines and court-ordered restitution.
According to a record in the Calabrese court file, the marshal's service and a Texas auction house will start the bidding on 125 rare bills, many in mint condition, during a two-week online auction. The bidding for each piece of currency will start at over face value.
Most 80-year-old currency is so worn that the government shreds it.
Today, the highest denomination printed by the government is $100. So, well-preserved, high denomination currency is frequently worth more than its face value.
In some recent auctions of similar $1,000 currency, individual bills have gone for eight or nine times the face value.
The government's auction that begins online on August 9 will feature 43 of Calabrese's bills of $1,000 denomination and 82 bills with a face value of $500.
The other Calabrese property, including 1,000 pieces of diamond jeweler, will be auctioned off as well someday, but the cash is being sold at a stand-alone auction.
One thing not on the sale block: More than a dozen audio tapes that were found hidden in Calabrese's basement. Federal authorities have never revealed what was recorded on them and why they were so important that they were stashed with the cash.
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