The year begins with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The Museum of Modern Art is established in New York City. Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta to begin her work among India’s poor. Buck Rogers and Popeye debut on newspaper comics pages. In sports, George Hainsworth becomes the first NHL goaltender to record 22 shutouts in one season, while Babe Ruth becomes the first professional baseball player to hit 500 home runs. At the first Academy Awards ceremony, Best Picture goes to the silent film Wings. And the Roaring Twenties end with a Wall Street crash in October.
On May 16, Al Capone (1899-1947) is arrested in Philadelphia for carrying a concealed weapon. A signed and fingerprinted police booking card from the arrest sold for $71,700 at a May 2016 Heritage auction. Within a year, newspapers and law officials are calling the notorious gangster Public Enemy No. 1.
Eddie Shore (1902-1985) is considered among the NHL’s greatest players, helping the Boston Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 1929. Shore’s Bruins jersey, worn between 1929 and 1931, sold for $119,500 at a February 2015 Heritage auction.
Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (1880-1980) studies with Auguste Rodin in Paris before returning to the United States to continue her work. A bronze piece titled Scherzo, circa 1929, portraying a young woman glancing at fish at her feet, from an edition of six, sold for $95,600 at an October 2006 Heritage auction.
Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) was the dean of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction, with Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) among his legendary creations. Originally serialized in a pulp magazine, The Dain Curse tells the mysterious tale of a diamond theft from a wealthy San Francisco family. A first edition, with “dopped in” for “dropped in” on page 260, sold for $27,500 at a March 2019 Heritage auction.
This article appears in the Winter 2020-2021 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.