Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [Al Capone]. Eliot Ness Typed Letter Signed with Related Papers. One page, 8" x 10.5", Chicago; August 9, 1933. A reference letter from Chief Inspector Eliot Ness on behalf of Special Agent Lyle B. Chapman. Chapman was one of the original members of Ness' Untouchables, the group who worked from 1929-1931 to investigate and arrest Al Capone and his organization during Prohibition. The letter reads, in part:

    "Mr. Lyle B. Chapman... is in my opinion one of the most able investigators it has ever been my privilege to become associated. Mr. Chapman was in charge of that portion of the investigation against Al Capone, et al, which required the coordination of past activity with the present activity of that closely organized gang. During that time he showed a remarkable ability to obtain and organize evidence in such form as could be used in criminal prosecutions. This part of the work which was done under his direction was exceedingly complex and necessitated great analytical ability and a strenuous application over long periods of hours for many months. It is my opinion that this case, which commanded international interest, could not have been made without the exceptional work done by Mr. Chapman...The gang itself regarded Lyle Chapman as a key man in the case, and it was only because of his high sense of duty and integrity that he could not be approached. In this way, in addition to turning down the opportunities for great financial remuneration, Mr. Chapman was feared by persons interested in the welfare of outlaw gangs, and because of his work made many enemies of persons of this type."

    Accompanying this letter are related reports and case notes compiled by Chapman during the course of the Capone case. There is the original draft of Chapman's "Report to Director: Capone Case", dated June 13, 1932, along with a more finalized version. This report "relates to an investigation conducted by the Special Agents of the Bureau of Prohibition, United States Department of Justice, into the facts and circumstances surrounding an alleged conspiring under Section 37 of the Federal Penal code to violate Section 3, 6, 12, 18, 21, 25, and 26, Title II, of the National Prohibition Act, by the possession, manufacture, transportation, and sale of intoxicating liquor, to-wit, beer, in the metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois. The conspiracy is alleged against a large number of individuals and groups of individuals under certain firm names, more particularly set forth below, known as the CAPONE SYNDICATE." It is a thorough examination of the investigation, with details of the defendants, agents involved in the case, evidence collected, witness testimonies, and raids and seizures conducted.

    There are two photographs of the Chicago Division of the U.S. Special Agents; on one of the photographs, Lyle B. Chapman's image has been circled with a red pencil. Chapman's personal file of letters and other documents is also included.

    Condition: Recommendation letter has usual mail folds and light toning, but overall very good. The reports and other related documents range from very good to fair, with some moderate toning and creasing. Some paper loss and chipping in places.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,588

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold on Oct 25, 2018 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 35 days left to consign to the 2021 June 9 - 10 Rare Books Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search