On a hunch, Randy Guijarro found a photograph in an antique store, and after paying $2 for it, he thought that it could be of great historical and monetary significance.
As it turned out, he was right!
Randy loves to collect things. Everything from sports cards, to coins, comic book and other trinkets that most people past by in thrift stores and at garage sales.
His wife Linda also shares the hobby, collecting old photographs. These collectibles were a mutual interest that bonded the couple since they first met.
During the summer of 2010, Randy decided to go into Fulton's Folly Antiques Collective in Fresno, California.
Two men in the store had recently gone to an auction to buy a storage unit, and were eager to get rid of some of the things they didn't think they needed. That's when a cardboard box piqued Randy's interest. Inside the box were three old photos that dated back to the 1800s.
Randy offered to buy the box, but all he had in his pocket at the time was $2. The men were happy to get rid of the box and accepted his offer.
One of the photographs in particular peaked the collector's interest, a 20-square-inch tintype.
On first look, it looked like several people playing a game of croquet, but the person in the centuries-old photograph had Randy wondering about its historical significance.
Upon closer look, Randy was convinced that the figure in the photo was non other than Billy the Kid, the infamous, and most rarely photographed outlaw of the American "Wild West".
With the help of Linda, they were able to identify two other men in the photos who looked surprisingly similar to Charlie Bowdre and Tom O'Folliard, both who were in Billy's gang, the Regulators.
Billy the Kid was born in 1859 under the name of Henry McCarty. His life of crime started when he was young, where he was imprisoned for some time as a teen. In 1877, he adopted the moniker William H. Bonney after he killed an Arizona blacksmith and ran off to Mexico to join the Regulators.
That's when every crime by the Regulators committed was soon attributed to him. This included the death of three men, one of which was Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady, in a shootout.
Billy was charged with murder and captured in December 1880. He was sentenced to be hanged the following May, but somehow he escaped from jail and wasn't captured again until 1881.
Sheriff Pat Garrett followed him to Fort Sumner, New Mexico and fatally shot Billy in the chest, but rumor still persisted that he was living somewhere.
Part of the reason Billy the Kid still remains such a historical figure is because of how little evidence of him that still exists. That we know of, there was only one photograph of him from around 1880 that historians agree is genuine. It was bought in 2011 by an American businessman for $2.3 million.
With such a high price tag, you can imagine how hard historians have been looking for other pictures of the Wild West gangster.
Randy and Linda spent an entire year researching the photo before making their discovery public. Unsurprisingly they experienced a lot of a skepticism about it's authenticity. Over the next three years the couple worked with facial recognition software to prove the photo was real.
National Geographic release a documentary about it, called Billy the Kid: New Evidence.
In the same month that the documentary was released, Kagin's auction house in California claimed the photo was genuine and even insured it for $5 million.
That goes to show you can find rare treasures in unsuspecting places. What do you think of their find? Share with us in the comments.
Source: Boredom Therapy