Finding a Lost Treasure: The Exciting Story of a Billy the Kid Picture
Randy Guijarro, an amateur antique collector, sends a message of encouragement: “Look in old trunks and dusty attics. You might find a hidden treasure.” He knows what he’s talking about because he found a rare picture of the famous Wild West robber Billy the Kid.
A Surprise Find at a Thrift Store
In 2010, Guijarro paid $2 each for three tintypes at a thrift store in Fresno, California. One of these is a 4×5-inch picture of Billy the Kid playing croquet in 1878. It is thought to be worth millions of dollars today.
Guijarro is an expert in communications, and he and his wife, Linda, want to use some of their unexpected wealth to go on more adventures. They hope to find forgotten parts of history in the US and around the world. “We love the thrill of the chase and exploring the world together,” Guijarro says.
Getting to the Bottom of Tintypes
The tintype in question shows Henry McCarty, who went by the name Billy the Kid, leaning on a mallet in New Mexico with his gang members, the Regulators, all around him. This find is important because it is only the second picture of the notorious person that has been proven to be real.
Before this historical find was confirmed as real, it was looked at and researched for five years. Guijarro says, “It was extremely hard for us to watch.” We’ve been open and honest with you the whole time; we hope the trip was fun!”
Even though they had problems and setbacks, the pair never lost their love for the past. “There are good times and bad times. “The journey had been long and lonely,” Guijarro said.
The Legend of Billy the Kid
The name “Billy the Kid” is always mentioned in Wild West stories. The famous New Yorker’s time as a criminal was short but brutal, and he was killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett when he was 21. Legend says that the outlaw killed 21 people, but some scientists think the number is closer to nine. The only other confirmed picture of him was taken in 1880. In 2011, it sold for a staggering $2.3 million.
Getting things for a lifetime
Guijarro has spent a lot of his life, along with his wife Linda, collecting things like coins, sports cards, comic books, and old pictures. Guijarro found Fulton’s Folly Antique Collective when he went to Fresno’s Tower neighborhood. This is where he found his famous find.
After talking the price down to $2, he chose three pictures, one of which was a famous picture of Billy the Kid. After a week of looking closely, he finally recognized the famous outlaw.
With the help of his wife and online tools, Guijarro was able to figure out that Tom O’Folliard and Charlie Bowdre were also in the picture. “That was really great,” Guijarro says in his mind.
Getting to know the past
Together with a group of researchers, people who are good at recognizing faces, and other collectors, the couple was able to identify all 18 people in the picture and find out that it was taken in a schoolhouse in Chavez County, New Mexico. They decided that the picture was taken soon after a wedding in 1878, just a month after the gang took part in the bloody Lincoln County War.
A California business that deals with coins, called Kagin’s Inc., has insured the photo for $5 million and is now looking for a private buyer.
Exploration is in the future
The Guijarros want to use their newfound money to buy a new car, pay off their bills, and help a few close friends and family members. They also plan to start more hunts for wealth. Guijarro says, “We have to hunt because if we didn’t, we’d have a hundred acres of useless stuff.”
So, let Randy and Linda Guijarro’s story give you hope. You never know what kind of lost treasure you might find in the strangest places.