National Geographic : 2015 Oct
Us EXPLORE PHOTO: COURTESY RANDY GUIJARRO A notorious outlaw of the Wild West, Billy the Kid was notoriously camera-shy: Only one authenticated photo of him was believed to exist—until now. Randy Guijarro bought this 4 x 5 tintype (above) at a California memorabilia shop for two dollars in 2010. When he blew it up to 50 inches wide, he saw what looks like a familiar figure (inset) in the posed croquet tableau, dated 1878. Some prominent collectors of Old West photos say that it isn’t Billy, aka Wil- liam H. Bonney, and his gang of Regulators. But another vintage-photo expert, John McWilliams, says he’s “hovering around 80 percent” that it is. Guijarro has worked with a private investigator to pore over a patch of Lincoln County, New Mexico, that mirrors the photo. TV producers Jeff and Jill Aiello have performed photo matching and facial analyses, and in a “hallelujah moment” found a diary entry by Billy’s friend Sallie Chisum that links everyone in the shot. If the photo goes to auction or sells privately, it could fetch a price any outlaw would love. In 2011 the sole authenticated image sold for $2.3 million. — Jeremy Berlin Is It Billy the Kid? Tune in on Sunday, October 18 at 9 p.m . ET as the National Geographic Channel airs Billy the Kid: New Evidence, a two-hour special investigating the origin and authenticity of this tintype photograph.