Some people have all the luck. If you've ever watched shows like "Antiques Roadshow" you may already be familiar with the concept of how someone can find something kinda weird and cool at a garage sale or passed down from their family, only to have to appraised and realize that it's worth a small fortune. This is kind of like that, but in the most extreme way imaginable.
Five years ago, antiques collector Randy Guijarro came across a dusty old tintype photograph at a junk shop in Fresno, California. He bought the photo for $2.
Now, it's come to light - after extensive research and authentication - that one of the people in the photo is none other than legendary outlaw Billy the Kid. Up until now, the photograph below (sold for $2.3 million) was thought to be the only image of him.
Billy the Kid (a.k.a William H. Bonney) is an almost mythical figure of the old Wild West. Born as Henry McCarty in 1859 to Irish immigrants in New York City, he became an outlaw in New Mexico by the time he was 16. According to legend, he killed 21 men, though other accounts put his count at around seven. He was eventually killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in July of 1881 (aged 21), though some legends say he survived and went into hiding/retirement.
Kagin's, a company specializing in Western Americana and rarities, spent over a year researching the new photograph and have confirmed that it is in fact the second known photo of Billy the Kid and estimate its value to be around $5 million.
Billy is fourth from the left in the photo, seen wearing a top hat and holding a croquet mallet.
It's believed that the photo contains all the members of the famous Lincoln County Regulators gang, to which Billy belonged.
To confirm the photo's authenticity, Kagin's looked beyond just facial resemblance of each member. They also examined the setting.
The scene took place at a New Mexico ranch belonging to cattleman John Tunstall, who hired Billy and the Regulators to help him fend off rivals in the lawless West.
The scene in the photo is believed to be the wedding of gang member Charlie Bowdre and his wife, Manuela (seated on horses).
The experts even traveled to the site of the ranch. Remarkably, even though another structure had been built around it, the original schoolhouse from the photo was still standing.
National Geographic lent a big helping hand in authenticating the photo as well, and recently released a new documentary titled "Billy The Kid: New Evidence" which discusses the mystique of Billy the Kid as well as the hard work researchers put into authenticating the photo.
Asked if it still feels like a dream, Randy says that he and his wife, Linda, are still getting used to the reality of their startling find.