The mask was bought by a Chicago business man named Ed Hirschland during an auction of some of Chicago’s most notorious and famous historical memorabilia. The final total for the buyer was $3,000 plus about $660 in fees from the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
Hirschland stated that he was a “Chicago aficionado” and that one of the most interesting aspects of Chicago’s history is its notorious criminals and crimes.
The mask was created by Kenneth “Doc” Coffman who managed to sneak past guards at the morgue where Dillinger’s body was being held after he had been shot. Dillinger had been gunned down by FBI agents outside the Biograph Theater in a north side Chicago neighborhood. He poured plaster over the gangster’s face while crowds gathered outside the morgue to try and get a glimpse of the body. Coffman was also known to have made death masks of other notorious gangster of the 1930s.
The Dillinger mask was one of 65 items that was up for auction on Thursday. A print of Daniel Burnham’s Plan of Chicago also sold and went for $1,800. Also for sale were maps of the city before the Chicago Fire and lithographs depicting Chicago street corner scenes. Al Capone’s monogrammed scarf, however, did not sell.