Billy The Kid Photo Sold for a Staggering $2.3 Million
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Born Henry McCarty, the Kid was an American frontier outlaw of the 19th century. Legend sais that he shot dead 21 people, but historians have reduced that number to between four and nine. Only months after he had killed two deputies in a jailbreak, the Kid was shot by lawman Pat Garrett. This happened in 1881, when Billy was only 22 years old.
This picture is the only authenticated photo of the legendary outlaw, taken sometime between 1879-1880, outside a Fort Sumner saloon in New Mexico. The Kid only paid 25 cents for the picture, which was made using a special technique, known as tintype photography. Such metallic photos were printed using an iron plate and showed a mirror image of the reality, which led to the belief that Billy the Kid was a lefty.
The iconic photograph shows him standing and holding a Winchester carbine by the upright barrel with his left hand. Strapped to his right hip there can be seen a Colt 45 pistol. This tintype was given by Billy to a friend of his, Dan Dedrick, whose descendants kept it until recently, when they sold it at the 22nd annual Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction.
The new owner of the photograph is American businessman William Koch, who bought it for a whopping $2.3 million (buyer’s premium included). Pre-sale estimates were much less optimistic: the lot was expected to fetch between $300,000 and $400,000, which shows just how much Koch must have wanted the piece.