“I hope this inspires others to delve into trunks and attics in search of lost gems,” Randy Guijarro stated to the Guardian on Monday.
A 45-inch-long image from 1878 that depicts Billy the Kid playing croquet.
Once upon a time, a thrift store photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet was worth only $2. It sold for millions of dollars today.
Gujarro paid $2 in 2010 for three four-by-five-inch tintypes that he purchased from an antique store in Fresno, California. worth several million dollars today.
The telecom guru and his wife Linda have stated that they plan to utilize part of the proceeds from their unexpected discoveries to support further exploratory efforts.
We might gain by getting a new car.
We want to investigate overlooked historical occurrences on a national and worldwide scale.
We love to travel the world together. The chase is an amazing spectacle.
Billy the Kid, the renowned character of the Wild West, examined the photograph under a microscope at home and found that, in 1878, the man leaning on the mallet was actually him, and the other people were members of his gang, the Regulators, playing croquet in New Mexico.
There is just one verified photo of the offender, and it is worth $5 million.
A Kevin Costner-hosted National Geographic broadcast on Sunday detailed the five years of research and investigation into its authenticity.
It was amazing, really. “It was extremely difficult for us to observe that,” 54-year-old Guijarro continued. We genuinely hope that your journey was enjoyable, since we have been completely honest and transparent with you.
He continued by saying that the investigation was hindered by mistrust and false leads, which left the two uneasy and unsure of whom to believe.
Life is full of both happy and sorrowful times. It had been a lonely, protracted journey. It appeared as though the picture was shot from The Twilight Zone. Without a doubt, it’s too good to be true.
The term “Billy the Kid” immediately evokes images of the Wild West and the well-known New Yorker who, after a difficult but brief career as an outlaw, was shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett at the age of 21.
Some historians, however, contend that he was only responsible for nine murders. In 2011, an auction of his sole surviving artwork, which dates back to the 1880s and depicts him lounging with a handgun, brought $2.3 million (£1.5 million).
Over the course of their life, Guijarro and his wife—who also loves to collect—have gathered a wide range of artifacts, including coins, sports cards, comic books, and vintage photographs.
While meandering around the Tower neighborhood of Fresno on his way home from work one late July night in 2010, he happened upon Fulton’s Folly Antique Collective.
Guijarro was instructed to approach two people who, according to the vendor, were attempting to remove the contents of a storage unit while hauling “junk crates.”
He selected three pictures, some of which included croquet players and other historical scenes, and offered $2. They had to use force to grab it.
Guijarro just vaguely remembers them. My memory of them is so foggy now that I can’t even remember who they were.
Though he was relieved to find the croquet ball, it took him a week to identify the legendary robber after careful examination.
“You could hand him a Winchester rifle,” was said in reference to the man’s attire, demeanor, and position on a croquet stick. I thought, “Whoa, that’s Billy the Kid.”
“A wonderful, shrewd woman,” he says to Linda, who was hired to investigate the other Regulators.
She was able to contact Charlie Bowdre and Tom O’Folliard, two additional croquet players, with the use of the internet. “It was fantastic,” Guijarro declared.
Thanks to the efforts of scholars, collectors, facial recognition experts, and others, the remains of the schoolhouse in Chavez County, New Mexico, were found. Every one of the eighteen people in the photo was identified.
It was discovered that the picture was taken right after a wedding in 1878—that is, fewer than two months after the gang got into the deadly fight in Lincoln County.
The numismatics company Kagin’s Inc., located in California, is insuring it for $5 million and is currently looking for a private buyer.
Guijarro said, “We’re not counting our chickens before they hatch,” in spite of the interest.
After that, he and Linda hope to help a few close friends and family members, pay off debt, start planning more treasure hunts, and purchase a new car.
He says they almost always sell the things they buy, which proves they are not hoarders. Because without hunting, “we’d be sitting on a hundred acres of stuff else,” hunting is essential.