A Man Discovers His $2 Flea Market Photo Is Actually Worth a Million Dollars

A Man Discovers His $2 Flea Market Photo Is Actually Worth a Million Dollars
A Man Discovers His $2 Flea Market Photo Is Actually Worth a Million Dollars

In 2010, Randy Guijarro bought some vintage 19th-century photographs at a local flea market. Randy didn’t have enough cash with him that day, so in order to pay for the pictures, he dished out the last 2 dollars to his name and sang a song from “Madagascar.” When he got back home, Randy looked at one of the photos through a magnifying glass and realized that Henry McCarthy, better known as Billy the Kid, was staring right at him.

A team of experts checked the curious find and came to the conclusion that the photo was authentic and that it was really Billy. On June 25, 2011, the photograph was sold at the 22nd annual Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction in Denver to collector and businessman William Koch for $2.3 million. It was taken sometime in the summer of 1878 during a game of croquet and is currently valued at $5 million. So, who is this Billy the Kid, and why does a photo of him go for such crazy money?

Billy the Kid, real name William Henry McCarthy, was born in New York on November 23, 1859. His life wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for him. At just 14, he lost his mom, leaving him orphaned and all alone. With no one to guide him, he ended up falling in with a rough crowd, getting into trouble with the law for petty stuff like stealing laundry. Can you believe it? Getting nabbed for pinching undies! Anyway, the sheriff must’ve felt sorry for the Kid ’cause he let him off easy.

Billy decided to make a fresh start and headed out to Arizona to live with his stepdad, but that plan didn’t exactly pan out. Stepdad wasn’t too keen on having him around, so Billy had to find work on a ranch instead. Trouble seemed to follow him, though. By the time he was 16, he was already mixing it up in saloons, getting into drunken brawls. Things took a serious turn when he got into a fight that ended with him shooting a guy dead. Talk about a rough start to adulthood.

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To avoid the heat, Billy skipped town and wound up in New Mexico, joining up with this gang run by a guy named Jesse Evans. They called themselves “the boys” and were into all sorts of shady stuff, like rustling cattle and horses. But Billy’s life took a twist when he crossed paths with this English dude named John Tunstall. Tunstall tried to clean up the town and offered Billy a chance to turn his life around. But things went sideways, and Tunstall ended up dead at the hands of some crooked lawmen

That sparked a whole feud, with Billy and his crew seeking revenge. It got really messy, with shootouts and all that. The law was breathing down Billy’s neck, so he tried to strike a deal with the governor for protection. But when that didn’t work out, he went on the run for a couple of years, living life on the lam.

Meanwhile, Billy’s escapades became the stuff of legend. Newspapers couldn’t get enough of his wild adventures, even if they did stretch the truth a bit. In 1880, Pat Garrett got elected sheriff, and he had a personal vendetta against Billy. They’d crossed paths before, and Garrett was dead set on bringing him in. Eventually, Garrett tracked Billy down to a ranch and caught him off guard while he was asleep. It was a classic Wild West showdown, minus the sleeping part, and Garrett came out on top, putting an end to Billy the Kid’s notorious run

And just like that, Billy’s legend was born, forever etched into the history books as the ultimate outlaw of the Wild West. So, was this photo really worth $5 million? Not to 99.999% of people on this planet, but to that 0.001%, it’s priceless!

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