AMERICA History Money

Man Buys Old Photo From Charity Shop For $2, Finds Out It’s Worth Millions

Man Buys Old Photo From Charity Shop For $2, Finds Out It’s Worth Millions


You can find some real bargains in charity shops and thrift stores, particularly if you love your retro fashion. But one American man got more than he bargained for when he bought a box of two old photos for just $2.

While visiting a thrift store in 2010, Randy Guijarro, from Fremont, California, accidentally picked up a rare photo of notorious American outlaw Billy The Kid – believed to be only the second confirmed image of the outlaw.

The photograph, which shows Billy with his gang The Regulators playing croquet at a wedding in New Mexico in 1878, is now insured for $5 million (£3.6 million) after its veracity was approved by authenticity firm Kagin’s.

“I’m looking with a jeweler’s loop, a little magnifying glass, and the guy in the middle, Tom O’Folliard, he’s just as clear as you and me,” Guijarro told Inside Edition.

“I went and looked at who I thought he was pointing at [and] I thought, ‘Oh my! This guy, it’s Billy the Kid.'”

The photo – commonly known as the Croquet Tintype – is one of only two photos believed to show the famous outlaw; the first photo was sold for $2.3 million (£1.7 million) to billionaire William Koch in 2011.

Meanwhile Randy’s discovery has yet to be sent to auction, in part due to the continuing debate surrounding whether the photo really shows Henry McCartey – Billy the Kid’s birth name.

The full photo – the Croquet Tintype. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Unknown

“When we first saw the photograph, we were understandably skeptical-an original Billy the Kid photo is the Holy Grail of Western America,” David McCarthy, Kagin’s numismatist, told the New York Post.

“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 ensure that nothing was out of place.”

Some of the doubts surrounding whether the image is the real deal include the small size of the people in it – having been taken from a distance – and the background landscape’s lack of resemblance to New Mexico.

The journey to authenticate the photo was covered extensively in the National Geographic documentary Billy The Kid: New Evidence, which showed that many people are still not convinced.

Despite the controversy swirling around the photo, Randy’s case makes clear that you never know what you’ll find if you do a bit of rummaging.

“I hope this prompts others out there to look into trunks and attics because there are so many lost treasures out there,” Randy told The Guardian.



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