This trending post first published in 2017 is still giving us chills until today: the antique collector who buys a photograph for $2 only to discover the story behind the photo valued at $5 million. The photo shows one of Wild West’s most popular outlaws, Billy The Kid. Now, we’re reminiscing how it made waves among communities.
The scoop: Antique collector’s discovery
It was a serendipitous moment for antique collector Randy Guijarro, who hails from Fresno, California when he found a dusty old tintype photo in a junk shop he visited. He bought this photograph for $2, initially because he is fascinated with all things old and vintage. Little did he know that the photo could even make his countless times richer if he sells it.
Since he was a kid, this Fresno antique enthusiast would be different from other children. While they play around, Guijarro would instead be found rummaging through stuff and looking for his “Aha!” moment. He is a hoarder or a person whose personality type includes collecting things simply because it’s part of their nature. One day a few years ago, the story trended worldwide.
His discovery happened one day in the year when a deadly earthquake struck Haiti, he was in his hometown meeting a friend for coffee. They both sat at the Fiorenzo Tower and upon heading home, he decided to stop by an antique shop called “Fulton’s Folly Antique Collective.” It’s his hobby to look into things collected in the shop. His wife Linda does not agree to see him bring antique items at home.
Guijarro decided to follow what he wanted and window shopped in the store, only to purchase one of the items it has. He felt doubtful with each of his movements since he knew his wife would be angry at him if he carries an item home. His gaze turned upon two men shaking hands in the store’s vicinity and turned his eye over at the boxes stacked behind. Guijarro approached these two men and asked if he can take a look at what’s inside those boxes. He was permitted.
Inside the box, what Randy found was a smaller box filled with black-and-white photographs. He looked at them and one of the photos picked his interest and decided to buy it for $2. It was a photograph featuring the Old Wild West. He went home from the shop.
The exact discovery began when he zoomed into the photo to recognize a familiar figure in the Wild West era, that of Billy the Kid. Many people know Billy the Kid as a 19th-century thief and gunfighter. He bought it for the same price as you can buy coffee from McDonald’s or around two domains on GoDaddy.com. However, because of his discovery which he shared online, the photo is now valued at approximately $5 million. You can even invite Guijarro on Facebook where photos of his quest are posted.
Billy The Kid
Guijarro needed the vintage photo, but not the fame, but because of what he found, he has since started to share the fame with Billy The Kid. Who is this fugitive?
Billy The Kid was the late 1800s thief and gunfighter whose criminal life ended when he was sentenced to death for murdering a sheriff. Born on the 23rd of November, 1859 in New York City, he was William Henry McCarty, Jr. According to his online biography, his father either died or left his family early in his life, and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was 15 years old. Since then, he and his brother took the path of thievery.
He was characterized by having a slim body, blonde hair, and blue-colored eyes, and in the photo, he wore a signature sombrero in sugar-loaf and was accessorized with a decorative band. Stories will tell that he killed 21 men during his years as an outlaw, one for each year he lived, but there are also counter-arguments that he killed fewer than this number.
Billy The Kid traveled state to state, stole horses and cattle, and got arrested for the murder of a sheriff in the late 19th century. Though he was sentenced to death, he was still able to murder his prison guards and escaped in 1881. But these moments did not last long after being hunted down and shot dead on the 14th of July, 1881. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured him in New Mexico.
These are occurrences in Western history that aren’t even part of mainstream history discussions but deserve to be heard in the community. With discoveries of photos like this, conversations about them would emerge.
“I hope this prompts others out there to look into trunks and attics because there are so many lost treasures out there,” Guijarro said on The Guardian.