Diamond encrusted ring belonging to notorious Jewish gangster Micky Cohen up for auction

It's part of a huge sale of gangsters' jewellery in Los Angeles


Items on display on June 13, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California at a preview of Julien's Auctions "The Mob: A History of Organized Crime's Most Notorious Artifacts" include Mickey Cohen's gold and diamond Star of David ring, estimated between $800-$1,200.. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Its imprint will doubtless have made its presence felt across many a man’s jaw.

And now this 14ct gold Star of David ring worn by US mobster Mickey Cohen is itself going under the hammer - at a forthcoming auction of mobster bling in California.

The diamond-encrusted ring is one of the hundreds of artefacts once owned by some of America’s most notorious crime bosses.

Letters penned by Al Capone detailing his time behind bars in Alcatraz, notebooks kept by Mafia accountant Meyer Lansky and a monogrammed cane the latter was given by Charlie ‘Lucky’ Luciano as a gift are also among the items for sale.  

Those with a fascination for the twentieth-century mobsters who ran US cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles will be eager to secure a collection of home movies, including undeveloped films, shot by Anthony Spilotro, founder of the Hole in the Wall gang.

Lansky’s notebooks are expected to fetch £60,000 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom he received in a secret ceremony from Harry S Truman in 1945 for facilitating the services of the Sicilian Mafia to protect US naval ports and provide intelligence on Nazi operations during the Second World War could reap £50,000.

An inscribed copy of the Jewish gangster’s Passover Haggadah, a collection of love letters written to his second wife, Thelma ‘Teddy’ Schwartz, and a selection of his colourful bow ties are also being sold. 

Capone Alcatraz letters are expected to go for more than £40,000.

Other lots include a pair of Black Spartan boxing gloves that once belonged to Los Angeles-based Cohen, who in his early days fought in illegal underground bouts staged by gangster associates.

The items, many of which have been exhibited at Jay Bloom’s Las Vegas Mob Experience, will be sold by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on August 28, and online.

Bloom said the collection was “sourced directly” from surviving immediate family members of the mobsters. He said the artefacts were “an extraordinary, once in a lifetime, look into the psyche of some of the most secretive people in history who, behind the curtains, helped shape the course of our nation and the world”.

What Lansky, at five feet tall, lacked in height, he more than made up for in ruthlessness. His criminal enterprises netted him a fortune estimated to have been worth $300m when he died in Miami Beach in 1983. At the time, an FBI agent said the Polish-born mobster “would have been chairman of the board of General Motors if he’d gone into legitimate business”.

In the 1970s, he had fled the US for Cuba in an attempt to evade arrest, then went to Israel hoping to find shelter under the Law of Return. But he was extradited back to America to stand trial - and was cleared of all charges.

Lansky and Cohen, whose family were originally from Kiev in modern Ukraine, were distant associates. New York-born Cohen had his first taste of crime aged seven selling moonshine gin, a line of work to which he would later return during the Prohibition era. At nine he was arrested for holding up a theatre box office with a baseball bat.

Soon after, his family moved to LA where he helped develop the Vegas ‘strip’.

Unlike many of his gangster cohorts, Cohen died not in a cloud of bullets, but in his sleep in the mid-1970s.

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