Only Authenticated Photo of Billy The Kid Auctioned For $2.3 Million
In the battle of Billy The Kid vs. Michael Jackson, Billy The Kid is the winner. Both men had a piece of history auctioned off in the past week. Jackson's famous jacket from the "Thriller" music video sold for $1.8 million dollars, but the only confirmed photo of the New Mexico outlaw Billy The Kid brought in $2.3 million, almost $2 million more than was originally expected.
Florida billionare William Koch placed the winning bid in person at Brian Lebel's annual Old West Auction in Denver. Koch, a known collector of art and "old west" artifacts, said it was his intention to allow some small museums to showcase the picture, before adding it to his personal collection.The famous photo of Henry McCarty, taken less than 2 years before his death at Fort Sumner, NM, is the only confirmed photo in existence of the famous outlaw. It is also the source of the biggest Billy The Kid myth, that he was left handed. Tintype photographs are printed in reverse, giving the impression that Billy wore the his holster on his left hip.
Koch's actual bid was an even $2 million, but a $300,000 "buyer's premium" was tacked on, making the final total $2.3 million.
Auction owner Brian Lebel, who originally thought the photo would only get $400,000, is very happy that the winner was not an overseas buyer.
"I'm happy that it will stay in this country and will be shared with the public."