Tags: billy the kid | wild west | old west | henry mccarty | william h. bonney

Rare Photo of Billy the Kid Worth $5 Million

(KDAT-TV)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Oct 2015 04:50 PM

A rare photograph of Billy the Kid and members of his outlaw gang has been appraised at $5 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It was bought in a Fresno junk store five years ago for $2.

The 4-by-5-inch tintype has been dubbed the "Holy Grail of Western Americana." It is only the second known photograph of Henry McCarty, who was better known as William H. Bonney and by his nickname, Billy the Kid.

The photo was taken in 1878 and shows the notorious outlaw playing croquet with members of his gang, the Lincoln County Regulators, and family.

The photograph was authenticated over a one-year period by numismatic firm Kagin’s Inc. The process will be the subject of a National Geographic Channel show airing Sunday.

"When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably skeptical — an original Billy the Kid photo is the Holy Grail of Western Americana," Kagin's senior numismatist David McCarthy said, the Times reports. "We had to be certain that we could answer and verify where, when, how and why this photograph was taken."

But a team assembled finally determined the photo was real. In addition to Billy the Kid's tell-tale slouch and grin, a member of the authentication team flew to New Mexico and found the site where to photo was taken. It was a 15-minute walk from the home of John Tunstall, who was Billy the Kid's mentor.

"The historical importance of a photograph of Billy the Kid alongside known members of his gang and prominent Lincoln County citizens is incalculable — this is perhaps the single most compelling piece of Western Americana that we have ever seen," said Kagin's President Donald Kagin.

"Billy the Kid is incredibly famous," McCarthy told ABC News. "[But] he wasn't shooting people all the time. He had friends he cared about. He had women he chased. It [the photograph] opens up the idea about the humanity of a character like Billy the Kid."

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A rare photograph of Billy the Kid and members of his outlaw gang has been appraised at $5 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.
billy the kid, wild west, old west, henry mccarty, william h. bonney
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2015-50-14
Wednesday, 14 Oct 2015 04:50 PM
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