While notorious Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger was in federal prison, he bemoaned the state of his old neighborhood in letters to a friend he met in detention.
“Someone painted this on a fence in South Boston many years ago,” he wrote in reference to a graffiti mural of a leprechaun smoking a pipe and holding an Irish flag. “Now South Boston is populated by rich college kids living in expensive condos. Weekends the bars have lines outside of them.”
The letters were part of a collection of memorabilia related to Bulger that were on the auction block through Urban Culture Auctions in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday. The letters that Bulger wrote to former inmate Timothy Glass provide a glimpse into the years that the longtime fugitive and convicted murderer spent behind bars.
Rico Baca, the owner of Urban Culture Auctions, said Glass approached him about the letters about four months ago. After reading the letters and verifying them, he decided to include them in the auction.
“We think that we know what it’s like to be in prison because we watch movies and we watch TV,” Baca said. “But [through these letters] I think you really get an understanding of the mundane things, the grind on a daily basis, and what it’s truly like to be in prison.”
Baca said the auction house had expected to get between $400 and $700 for the letters, but that they ended up selling for between $1,300 and $1,500.