Tags: billy the kid | flea market | photo | millions

Billy the Kid Flea Market Find: $10 Photo Could Be Worth Millions

Image: Billy the Kid Flea Market Find: $10 Photo Could Be Worth Millions
Frank Abrams claims that this photo shows Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett, left, and Billy the Kid, second from right. (Twitter/‏@alex_thee)

By    |   Tuesday, 12 Jan 2016 08:41 AM

A Billy the Kid flea market find could be worth millions of dollars if the person in the old tintype picked up at a North Carolina sale for $10 is found to actually be the infamous Wild West outlaw.  

Frank Abrams, a lawyer who picked up the old photograph at Smiley's Flea Market a few years ago, is now working to authenticate the image of five cowboys with cigars and whiskey bottles, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. Only two other photos purporting to feature the man born as Henry McCarty, alias William H. Bonney or Billy the Kid, have been authenticated, the newspaper noted.

One Billy the Kid photo that was sold at a Fresno, California, junk shop five years ago for $2 was later estimated to be worth $5 million, experts told the Los Angeles Times in October. The second one, a 2-by-3-inch tintype taken at Ft. Sumner in New Mexico Territory in 1880, was sold for $2.3 million in 2010.

When he heard about the discovery of the latest Billy the Kid photo in October, it caused him to take a harder look at the tintype he purchased at Smiley's in 2012, Abrams told the Citizen-Times.

“This could be one of the most famous photos in American history. It could belong in the Metropolitan Museum,” he said.

He believes one of the cowboys standing in the back of the group bears a strong resemblance to Billy the Kid, so much so that he is having experts conduct facial recognition studies on it.

One person who saw the photo is Tim Sweet, owner of the Billy the Kid Museum in Lincoln, New Mexico. He told the Citizen-Times that there is at least one famous man in the picture.

"That's definitely Pat Garrett on the end," Sweet said, identifying Billy the Kid's former friend-turned-sheriff who was credited with killing the outlaw in 1881 at Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico, according to History.com. "I'm not sure who the others are."

Abrams told the Albuquerque Journal in December that he believes the picture was taken Jan. 14, 1880, at the weddings of Garrett to Apolinaria Gutierrez and Barney Mason to Juana Madril.

Mason could be the man in the center of the photo, Abrams said. Mason used to steal cattle with Billy the Kid, according to the Journal.

"If I'm right, this will be the only known picture of Billy the Kid with Pat Garrett," Abrams said.

Arizona State University historian Robert J. Stahl told the Journal that there's little scientific evidence available to prove or disprove Abrams' claim about his picture, beyond the evidence that the tintypes used for photographs from the 1850s through the 1880s.

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A Billy the Kid flea market find could be worth millions of dollars if the person in the old tintype picked up at a North Carolina sale for $10 is found to actually be the infamous Wild West outlaw.
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2016-41-12
Tuesday, 12 Jan 2016 08:41 AM
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