Only Known Photo of Billy the Kid Sells for $2.3M

Was only expected to draw $400G

By Greg Wilson
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:10 AM EDT
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Only Known Photo of Billy the Kid Sells for $2.3M

ASSOCIATED PRESS

This pose of Billy the Kid, circa 1880 was captured on four 2-by-3-inch tintypes.

The only known photo of legendary gunfighter Billy the Kid sold for $2.3 million to a billionaire collector.

The tintype image of the gunslinger, who died at age 22, was expected to sell for just $400,000. William Koch, a Florida energy tycoon and collector of Wild West memorabilia, put in the winning bid before gaping onlookers at Brian Lebel's Old West Auction in Denver Saturday night. Koch told Reuters we will "just enjoy" the photo and will allow museums to display it.

"I love the old West," he said. "This is a part of American history."

The metallic photo was taken outside a Fort Sumner, New Mexico, saloon in late 1879 or early 1880. It shows the famous outlaw holding a Winchester rifle with a Colt 45 pistol on his hip. The photograph was owned by the descendants of Dan Dedrick, who was given the photo by its very subject.

Billy the Kid, whose real name may have been Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim or William H. Bonney, escaped the gallows by allegedly gunning down two sheriffs as he was about to be hanged. He was killed in 1881 by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett, whose subsequent book helped transform a little-known outlaw into a legend.

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