CHICAGO – Jewelry collectors who don't mind if their gems have a shady past will soon get the chance to bid on a stash of valuables found in the home of reputed mobster Frank Calabrese Sr.
Federal agents raided Calabrese's home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook two years ago and found a hoard of jewelry, guns and cash in a secret compartment behind a family portrait.
Now, the Chicago Sun-Times (http://bit.ly/Mxe8YZ ) reports an online auction house in Texas plans to sell the items, which are valued at more than $500,000 and include more than 250 loose diamonds, earrings, engagement rings, luxury watches and other jewelry.
"He's got lots of diamonds," said Bob Sheehan, owner of the Gaston & Sheehan, which will hold the online public auction July 10-24.
Calabrese is currently behind bars. He was one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2009 in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decades-old murders. He was blamed for 13, sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay more than $24 million. The auction proceeds will go toward that restitution.
During his trial, Calabrese bragged that he made millions on the street and was known among his family for stashing valuables. It isn't clear where Calabrese got all of the jewelry. Defense attorney Joseph Lopez described Calabrese — who accepted items in lieu of cash while doing business as a loan shark — as "a collector."
Next month's auction is the second sale of items from Calabrese's home. Last year, Gaston & Sheehan sold more than 100 rare $500 and $1,000 bills from Calabrese's stash. According to court records, that sale brought in $245,860.
Gaston & Sheehan auction house: http://www.txauction.com
Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index