UPDATE: Unabomber’s Personal Effects Rake in Over $200K for Victims
The U.S. Marshals Service closed an auction Thursday evening, of personal items belonging to Evergreen Park-raised Ted Kaczynski.
Originally published June 2, 8:30 p.m.
Harvard yearbooks, a long black knife, a King James version of the Holy Bible, a “Unabomb” manifesto and agricultural equipment were among the 58 lots of items people bid for in an online auction of Ted Kaczynski’s personal effects that ended late Thursday.
U.S. Marshals announced Friday that items belonging to Kaczynski, the Evergreen Park-raised Harvard graduate who was responsible for a nearly 20-year mail-bombing rampage, brought in $232,246 through the online auction held May 18 to June 2.
Organized by the General Service Administration on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service, the auction was commissioned last August by U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell of the Eastern District of California, in an effort to pay off a portion of the $15 million restitution order to the victims and their families.
According to Albert Nájera, U.S. Marshal for the eastern district of California who was responsible for the auction, it was a particularly “unique” sale that the U.S. Marshals Service carried out.
“Generally, we do not do an auction specifically for the restitution of the victims,” Nájera said.
The items receiving the highest bids were about 20 of the so-called Unabomber’s personal journals, "which describe in diary fashion Kaczynski’s thoughts and feelings about himself, society and living in the wilderness," said the U.S. Marshals Service. They brought in $40,676, after 21 bids. They also include admissions to specific bombings and other crimes. But the item with the highest number of bids—30—was Kaczynski’s autobiography, which brought in almost $18,000.
More popular items were Kaczynski’s typewriter that U.S. Marshals said he used to type his manifesto. It went for $22,003. A handwritten copy of Kaczynski’s manifesto went for $20,053. Also drawing a large number of bids were the hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, which many believe were depicted as Kaczynski’s outfit in an FBI artist rendering.
According to Nájera, collectors desire the more personal items most—items that were more than likely used by the perpetrator to create plans.
“I think the bidders were most interested in items that were hand-written by Kaczynski,” he said, adding that people really wanted “the typewriters that have written famous documents. They’re known to collectors out there.”
Although the sale did not yield the full $15 million that Kaczynski was ordered to pay victims and their families, and he essentially has no more assets for the government to auction off, Nájera said that pretty much any cash that Kaczynski acquires is fair game to the government.
“If he were to come into any money,” the government would seize it, he said.
In late May, Chicago FBI officials wanted to rule out Kaczynski as a suspect in the 1982 Tylenol poisonings through DNA testing, which Kaczynski declined to voluntarily provide samples for, according to Chicago FBI spokeswoman Cynthia Yates.
Meanwhile, victims and families continue to repair their lives after the Unabomber spree. Kaczynski was arrested in 1996 in a remote cabin in Montana, after authorities received a tip from his brother. He pleaded guilty in 1998 and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I’m glad to be able to do it on this, and if there’s any convicted person out there that deserves to have his or her items seized and sold to pay out the victims, it’s Mr. Kaczynski,” Nájera said.