Forgotten Mafia Catalog Sells at Auction for About $11G

"It was an unlikely — and coveted — find: a thick United States government file discovered on the backseat of a New York City taxi, its pages containing mug shots, criminal associates and "favorite hangouts" of over 800 Mafia members during the 1950s and early 1960s. Such notorious figures as Carlo 'Don Carlo' Gambino, Meyer Lansky and Salvatore 'Lucky Luciano' Lucania each had their own entries. So reports CBS News.

Nearly 20 years after it was found inside the yellow cab by a passenger, the 3-inch thick, three-ring binder stamped 'Mafia' and 'United States Treasury Department Bureau of Narcotics' was sold at Bonhams New York on Wednesday for $10,980.

The file, sold by James Finkle, a retired undersheriff from Essex County, N.J., was compiled sometime between 1957 and 1962 by the Bureau of Narcotics, an early iteration of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Robert F. Kennedy is believed to have used a copy of the file while he was U.S. Attorney General in 1963 during the televised McClellan Hearings into organized crime.

Only 50 copies of the file were thought to have been printed. The one for sale at Bonhams is No. 31, and the others were probably destroyed, said Christina Geiger, director of Bonhams New York fine books & manuscripts.

Geiger said the passenger found the binder inside a black bag on the seat of the cab on a snowy night in the early 1990s after leaving Radio City Music Hall.

"He basically just kept it to himself until contacting HarperCollins in 2006," said Geiger. The owner, who is connected with the film and music industry in Hollywood, did not wish to be identified.