Billy the Kid Photo Is Real, Worth Millions
A photo of Billy the Kid bought for $10 at a flea market is the real deal and could be worth millions, experts believe.
Frank Abrams, a North Carolina attorney, 1st spotted the tintype photo in Asheville in Y 2011. The self-described history buff said the group picture of 5 men was part of a set and sat on his wall for several years.
“Now, it’s in a safe deposit box,” Mr. Abrams said in a phone interview last Tuesday. “I don’t travel with it.”
After seeing a TV program in Y 2015 about the discovery of a photo of the outlaw playing croquet, Attorney Abrams was inspired to research him further.
That is when he thought he recognized Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid’s former friend and the Sheriff who gunned him down, who is also in the photograph.
The Mr. Abrams approached Robert Stahl, a retired professor emeritus at Arizona State University who is no stranger to the history of Billy the Kid.
In Y 2015, Prof. Stahl filed a petition in New Mexico Supreme Court in pursuit of a death certificate for the Kid, also known as William Bonney, from the state’s medical examiner.
Prof. Stahl said he thought it was a “high probability” that it was Garrett in the photo, but he was not sure if another man was Billy the Kid.
“I told him ’The biggest thing you could do right now is get the picture out and let people look at it and give you feedback,’” Prof. Stahl said. “To me, it is one of the most intriguing and historically significant of those tintypes of the Old West.”
Attorney Abrams said that he spent the next several months consulting various forensic experts. Several said the tintype was likely taken between Y’s 1879 and 1880, which coincides with the 2 August 1880, date someone had written on the photo.
A Los Angeles forensic video expert said facial recognition software indicates that it is most likely Garrett and Billy the Kid in the picture, according to a signed declaration.
A handwriting expert in Texas compared a signature from Garrett on the photo with 10 documents with his known handwriting. He declared them matching in a notarized letter in September.
The Kid and Garrett were close friends until Garrett became Lincoln County Sheriff. Garrett ended up fatally shooting the outlaw in Fort Sumner in July 1881.
The photo of the Kid discovered in Y 2015 has since been estimated to be worth $5-M. Experts believe a picture that shows the New Mexico outlaw with Garrett would be worth much more.
“One day it may end up at an auction house somewhere. We will see what happens,” Attorney Abrams said. “Right now, that is not the 1st thing on my mind. I have always been somebody who’s interested in history and background.”
Have a terrific weekend.
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