^
Keep Westword Free
4
| News |

Billy the Kid photo for sale in Denver: Price tag $400,000?

A credit-card-sized tintype of William H. McCarty, alias William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid -- arguably the single most famous photograph to emerge from the Wild West -- will be up for public sale for the first time ever in Denver next weekend. And no, the young desperado in the photo doesn't look anything like Paul Newman, Kris Kristofferson, Emilio Estevez, or any of the other actors who played the Kid in the movies. Well, Michael Pollard, maybe.

Experts regard the tintype as the only authenticated surviving image of the Kid. It was taken around 1879, outside a saloon in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, when McCarty was barely out of his teens and already a budding cattle thief and jailbird. (Note the shabby clothes and goofy hat in the larger image below.) The Kid gave it to his pal Dan Dedrick, and it's been in the family ever since. It's occasionally shown up in museum shows and has been featured in numerous books on the Kid, including one by Pat Garrett, the sheriff who gunned Billy down on July 14, 1881--130 years ago next month.

The photo will be up for auction at Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction at the Denver Merchandise Mart June 24-26, with an anticipated sale price in the $300,000-$400,000 range.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

That's a more magnificent range than Billy ever rode. The New York Times reported that there will be "armed guards" when the photo is previewed June 24, just in case some varmint in the crowd decides to turn outlaw.

That would be a bad move. Ask Billy.

More from our Things to Do archive: "Frozen Dead Guy Days for sale: Want to buy a well-preserved festival? (PHOTOS)."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.