Randy Guijarro was having a casual walk in Fresno County, California when he came across a beautiful secondhand store. The displays in the store instantly caught his attention, and he succumbed to the temptation to explore more.
Although the shopkeeper showed him various antiques, a few photographs piqued his interest. “I really liked the looks of it. It’s 4 x 5 inches, it’s a tintype, and it’s a country scene,” he told the media. So he bought them for $2 each.
When he showed the photos to his wife, something seemed catchy about one of them. The couple observed the photo carefully, and it immediately struck them that they were looking at the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid and four of his men with their wives.
Billy the Kid, originally Henry McCarty, was an American outlaw and gunfighter of the Old West who allegedly killed 21 men before he was shot and killed at 21. An intriguing fact about the boy is that there are only two photos of him so far, one of which is the photo Randy Gujjarro purchased.
In the photo, Billy the Kid is with his girlfriend and other gang members. To test the authenticity of the photo, Gujjarro and his wife dug through wild west history for years and literally became “historians and authenticators.”
“We spent the next four years going at this, traveling throughout the Southwest, calling people, going to western shows, talking to experts. Several people dismissed it because it’s too unbelievable,” he said.
Finally, Kagin’s, an auction house, authenticated the photo and bought it for $5 million.
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