Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Items connected to some of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history are among a collection of 1,500 artifacts at the heart of an ongoing legal dispute in Las Vegas.
The items, housed at the Mob Attraction Las Vegas at the Tropicana, are the subject of a longstanding series of court proceedings aimed at sorting out who has the right to display them. The matter has been fast-tracked, with hopes to resolve it this summer.
So, what kind of artifacts are involved? To find out, the Sun got permission from the Mob Attraction to take a look. Here are some of our more interesting finds:
Bugsy Siegel's death certificate
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel created his legacy as the visionary developer of the Flamingo. He also sealed his doom in the same role, running afoul of the mob by stealing funds during the casino's construction. He was shot and killed in 1947.
Anthony Spilotro's pistol and bullets
Some know Anthony "The Ant" Spilotro as a top Las Vegas mob figure in the 1970s and '80s, when he was investigated for criminal activity and blacklisted while representing the Chicago mob here and running his own operation, as well. Many know Spilotro by association — as the character Joe Pesci portrayed in Martin Scorsese's 1995 film "Casino."
Mickey Cohen's brass knuckles
Cohen, one of the nation's most flamboyant mobsters in the 1940s and '50s, gave up a boxing career to work in crime with some of the most familiar names in mob history, including Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel.
Coroner's report for Sam Giancana
The bullet-riddled body of Giancana, Chicago's top mob boss during the 1950s and '60s, was found in his home in Oak Park, Ill., in June 1975.
Shotgun belonging to Sam Giancana
Giancana's claims to infamy included rumors that he was involved in the Kennedy assassination and a plot to kill Fidel Castro.
Jewelry owned by Virginia Hill
Hill was Siegel's girlfriend and reputedly his partner in the Flamingo grift, rumored to have made frequent trips to Europe to stash stolen cash from the project's building fund in Swiss banks.
Tropicana Las Vegas sits on the south-east corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, an intersection which has the most adjacent hotel rooms in the world, also making it one of the most busy. The hotel has 1,658 rooms, three restaurants, a 62,011-square foot casino and a spa.