Billy the Kid photo shows outlaw playing croquet; could be sold for $5M
A newly discovered photo showing legendary Western outlaw Billy the Kid playing a leisurely game of croquet could be worth $5 million.
The faded 4-by-5 inch black-and-white image was found in a cardboard box at a junk shop in Fresno, California, by a collector in 2010. Randy Guijarro paid $2 for the image, which is now estimated to be worth upwards of $5 million.
The photo was authenticated by a San Francisco-based company, Kagin’s, which identified Henry McCarty, also known as William H. Bonney or Billy the Kid, along with several members of the
Regulators gang playing a game of croquet after a wedding in the summer of 1878.The photo was taken just one month after the brutal Lincoln County War came to an end.
“When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably skeptical – an original Billy the Kid photo is the Holy Grail of Western Americana,” said David McCarthy, Kagin’s senior numismatist (an expert on rare coins and other goods), in a statement. “We had to be certain that we could answer and verify where, when, how and why this photograph was taken.”
The company says it spent a year studying the photo to verify its authenticity and will be the exclusive seller.
“Simple resemblance is not enough in a case like this – a team of experts had to be assembled to address each and every detail in the photo to ensure that nothing was out of place,” said McCarthy. “After more than a year of methodical study including my own inspection of the site, there is now overwhelming evidence of the image’s authenticity.”
The only other confirmed photo of Billy the Kid, from 1880, sold for $2.3 million in 2011 to U.S. billionaire William Koch.
The photo will also be the subject of a documentary Billy the Kid: New Evidence narrated by Kevin Costner and will air Sunday on the National Geographic Channel .
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