$2 Photo Of Billy The Kid Playing Croquet Now Worth $5 Million
News| | By Jason Owen
He thought he was simply buying an old photograph from the 1800’s of some men playing croquet. Turns out it was so much more.
Randy Guijarro purchased a miscellaneous “junk” lot from a Fresno shop in 2010, which included an old black and white photograph from the 1800’. The image cost him about two dollars.
Turns out the photo is an authentic rare image of the famous outlaw Billy the Kid playing croquet.
The four-by-five inch “tintype” photo shows Kid, real name William Henry McCarty Jr., playing the old-school mallet and ball game with his Lincoln County Regulators gang in the summer of 1878.
Americana company, Kagin, authenticated the photo and valued the image at $5 million based on the price of the only other known image of Kid, which sold for $2.3 million in 2010.
“When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably skeptical — an original Billy the Kid photo is the Holy Grail of Western Americana,” said Kagin’s numismatist David McCarthy.
“We had to be sure we could answer and verify where, when, how and why this photograph was taken. 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 insure that nothing was out of place.”
The photo will be featured on a National Geographic Channel special this Sunday at 9 p.m. The TV special, Billy the Kid: New Evidence, will delve into the backstory of the image and is narrated by Kevin Costner.
The final value of the photo will be determined after Kagin negotiates the final sale of the image.