Whitey Bulger Auction Raises $109,000 for Victims’ Families

Boston gangster Whitey Bulger's claddagh ring, which sold at auction for $23,000 to raise money for victims' families.
Boston gangster Whitey Bulger's claddagh ring, which sold at auction for $23,000 to raise money for victims' families.

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2016

The personal effects of organized crime-boss James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr. were offered up for auction by the U.S. Marshals in June. A total of 104 items were seized during Bulger’s arrest at his Santa Monica apartment in 2011, where he had been living with his long-term partner, Catherine Greig. The auction raised a total of $109,000 for the families of Bulger’s murder victims. Of the $822,000 in cash collected from the scene of his arrest, the families also received $39,000 apiece.

The auction, which took place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, saw a wide array of objects arrive at the block. Both run-of-the-mill household items and outlandish memorabilia were available for purchase, with the collection of seized goods as a whole providing many glimpses into Bulger’s life on the lam. Among the auctioned objects were 67 watches, an imitation Stanley Cup ring, 30 rolls of paper towels, a new pair of Asics sneakers, and a boxing mannequin wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat.

Bulger’s 14-karat gold and diamond Claddagh ring was the main object of desire for many auction-goers. It was bought for $23,000, the highest price of Bulger’s effects, by Colm Dunphy, 52. Dunphy, a native of Northern Ireland, told the Boston Globe that he was willing to spend as much money as it took to leave with the ring. The ring is indicative of Bulger’s Irish-American status, as a Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish piece dating back to the 17th century. It is said to represent love, loyalty, and friendship.

Bulger, now 86, is currently serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary Coleman II in Sumterville, Florida, for racketeering, extortion, narcotics distribution, and 19 counts of murder. For 12 of the 16 years he spent at large, he ranked among the FBI’s 10 Most Top Wanted Fugitives. ♦

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