A Man Buys a Photo for $2 and Finds Out It’s Worth Millions
A Man Buys a Photo for $2 and Finds Out It’s Worth Millions

They say, whoever “they” are, that a picture
is worth a thousand words. Well, sometimes words aren’t the only currency to measure
its value. Some pictures cost millions of dollars, and a photo of Billy the Kid found
in a thrift store is a good example of that. First off, for those of you wondering who
Billy the Kid is and why someone would be willing to pay millions for his picture: he
was a legend of the Wild West. William Henry McCarty (that was his real name) was born
in 1859 in New York. He only lived for 21 years, but even in that short time, this young
man of Irish origin managed to become one of the most famous outlaws of his era. Interestingly,
he never robbed banks, trains, or stagecoaches, but was rustling cattle and took part in gunfights.
Even when he was captured, he managed to design a daring jailbreak. All this makes him quite
an interesting figure in the eyes of Wild West fans. And, pictures of him are so rare,
those fans are ready to pay millions for them. Now, when I say rare, I mean there was just
one officially confirmed picture of him by 2011. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Now let’s focus on the more recent find. Back in 2010, a collector from Fremont, California,
went shopping for antiques at a junk shop with his wife in Fresno, CA. Among the odds
and ends and old furniture, they found two cardboard boxes with photographs. In there
was a 4×5 tintype (that’s a photograph on a thin sheet of metal) that the collector
liked. He bought the picture and two other photographs for $2. The picture showed a group
of men playing croquet. At the time he purchased it, the lucky collector had no idea it was
a rare image of Billy the Kid himself from 1878. But as he gave the picture a closer
look, he realized he’d found a real gem! It wasn’t a random group of cowboys, but
the legendary outlaw with his gang, the Regulators. However, when it comes to historical pictures,
you can’t just claim that what you found is the real thing and worth millions of dollars.
It took years to confirm the image was, indeed, original. One of the producers of National
Geographic was dedicated to help him in his quest for the truth. To prove that the image
wasn’t a fake, they had to travel as far as New Mexico, to the location you can see
in the picture, and find the now-abandoned building in the back. They found the exact
rock piers and the old lumber underneath. When the picture was brought for official
authentication to Kagin’s, a firm specializing in Western Americana and Rare Coins, they
were skeptical about it at first. It’s no surprise, really, since pictures of Billy
the Kid are so rare, quite a lot of people who know the value try to make money by making
look-alikes. But the company experts knew this one was real because they managed to
identify Billy, as well as other people in the picture, as members of the Regulators
gang using facial recognition software. One of them was Sallie Chisum. She mentioned Billy
the Kid in her personal journals, and one record was of a wedding between Charlie Bowdre,
who’s sitting on the horse in the photo, and Manuella Bowdre. It took place in the
summer of 1878, a month after the gang participated in the Lincoln County conflict. Once the experts
had no doubt the tintype was real, the owner of Kagin’s described the picture as “perhaps
the single most compelling piece of Western Americana that we have ever seen” because
of its historical importance. The executive director of the National Geographic documentary
about the picture called it the holy grail, not only of the Wild West, but photography
in general, and “the rarest photograph in the world”. So now I guess it makes perfect
sense why this $2 junk shop find has been estimated to be worth $5 million. Another officially confirmed photo of Billy
the Kid sold at Auction for $2.3 million in 2011. Collectors and Wild West fans arrived
in Denver, ready to fight for the gem. It was expected to go for $400,000, but obviously,
the buyer gave more than 5 times as much for it, and it became one of the most expensive
old West memorabilia ever sold. That tintype was also taken outside a saloon in Fort Sumner,
New Mexico, around 1880. Billy was posing with a Winchester carbine and a Colt 45 pistol
at his hip. If you expected a twisted and exciting story about how this one got to the
auction house, I might disappoint you. This time, it wasn’t found at a junk shop for
close to nothing but sold by the descendants of Dan Dedrick. He’d received the picture
directly from his partner in cattle rustling crime, Billy the Kid himself. A businessman
from Florida purchased it out of his love for the Old West as an important part of American
history. He said he would let some small museums exhibit the picture first, and then keep it
for his own pleasure. The third picture of Billy the Kid that has
become famous worldwide hasn’t been auctioned yet. But if it is, it’ll be worth even more
than $5 million! What makes this picture unique is that it supposedly shows both Billy the
Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett, who ended the famous outlaw’s life at the age of 21. Ironically,
Billy and Pat used to be good friends, and they’d spent time together in New Mexico.
Then, Garrett was appointed Lincoln County Sheriff in November 1880, and that turned
their friendship into a feud. Garrett offered his ex-friend a deal: Billy was supposed to
leave New Mexico and take his crimes elsewhere, and Garrett wouldn’t chase him. But if he
had stayed in the area, the sheriff promised to arrest him. The Kid chose to stay and was
arrested by his once good friend. And even though he escaped from jail, he was found
later in Fort Sumner. Seeing the two of them in the picture together (the Kid is supposedly
the guy with the prominent Adam’s apple, and Garrett is the one on the far right wearing
a dark hat) –it’s amazing. Just as amazing is the fact that the picture
was sold at a flea market in Asheville for $10 in 2011. The new owner put it in the North
Carolina home he rented out on Airbnb. It was hanging there for years as a mere wall
decoration until 2015, when the owner watched the documentary about the new Billy the Kid
picture playing croquet. The lawyer who purchased the photo recognized the familiar features.
He gave the tintype a second look and became convinced it was Billy himself with a group
of four Wild West cowboys. Because of his interest in history, he decided to investigate
the matter to find out if the picture was indeed a 137-year-old photograph of the legend.
He asked a retired professor and tintype expert for help. He confirmed the picture was taken
between 1875 and 1880 judging by how the the plate, the clothing and the firearm look.
A forensics expert who studied the picture using facial recognition software confirmed
it must have been Garrett and the Kid. The date written on the picture – August 2,
1880 – was also a clue. A handwriting expert from Texas compared it with 10 documents written
by Sheriff Garrett and said it was a match! You can only imagine how excited the man who
bought the picture was when he found out it was the real deal! He said in an interview
that if he’d known about its true importance earlier, he would have charged more for the
room where it was hanging on the wall. Understandably, he took the image down and put it in a safe
deposit box. Experts are positive if he decides to sell it at auction he could get way more
than $5 million for this gem! However, the lucky owner says as of now, he doesn’t want
to find out. He’s just happy to have that unique piece of history in his possession.
Do you like shopping for antiques and vintage stuff? Let me know down in the comments! If
you learned something new today, then give this video a like and share it with a friend.
But – hey! – don’t go anywhere just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you
to check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right video, click on it, and enjoy!
Stay on the Bright Side of life!

100 thoughts on “A Man Buys a Photo for $2 and Finds Out It’s Worth Millions”

  1. BRIGHT SIDE says:

    Hey there, BrightSiders, would you like to win a lottery?

  2. info145 says:

    But if Billy the Kid grew old, wouldn't he have been Billy the Goat?

  3. Lorena Reyes says:

    I saw the video of the man and the picture

  4. Lorena Reyes says:

    the video: Agust 2

    me: August !!!!!!!!!

  5. Tiger Delirious says:

    Invest then give

  6. 1Me says:

    Kid: Give me all your cattle.
    Man: I tell you what sit here and I'll take your picture. It's worth more than my cattle.
    Kid: okay.

  7. sally jones says:

    If I, sorry I mean WHEN I win millions of dollars I’m going to build a housing estate for the homeless. I’m going to incorporate part payment come from each persons individual skills or talents in the creation of this housing estate or its maintenance and continuance.
    That’s my dream!

  8. CHHAYA BISWAS says:


    Hold on. Why on earth they got 2 skin tones

  9. Harry_RBLX says:

    Lol I thought this was uploaded 1 second ago now ik its 1 month ago 🙁

  10. BlackAmex Vlogs says:

    Want free money?
    1: screenshot the picture
    2:sell it
    3: thank me later

  11. Arju Momtaz says:

    Someone’s dust is someone’s gold

  12. loli panda says:

    Wow so rich

  13. nayanika sarma says:

    Bright side is really doing a great job. I just love all the videos. ❤️❤️

  14. Rajiv Singh says:

    I Remember this video i watched this before…😐😋

  15. Tamzin Clegg says:


  16. Like Grabber Police says:

    Bright Side Uploaded 1 video
    Then Discoverd that the video was worth millions of views…

  17. lori639 says:

    I like the history, and even if I had the money to buy the photo, I would not .

  18. HEIDI HUBBARD says:


  19. Surya Arun says:

    I saw the notification and clicked as fast as Usain Bolt………I thought I'm the first viewer…….but it was uploaded an month ago😑😐

  20. Thomast Tham says:

    Yes.. I once sold a stamp for $10 million..

  21. Alverta Bonner says:

    Why no one has taken a picture of the skin walkers 🤷🏽‍♀️

  22. Laurie R says:

    I love treasure hunting in thrift stores and yard sales.

  23. Zackery Timms says:

    I live near Lincoln and I have a picture of him, I got a copy of the one at 4:51, I bought it at lincoln

  24. Drew Owings says:

    Alot of experts also don't think the picture is authentic

  25. toffëë gachä says:

    Alright, we all thought the video is about a treasure being found.


  26. Haneene Sokkari says:

    Yes I got some lovable antics and old books from those shops

  27. Nilanjan Mridha says:

    The man is really lucky

  28. Jejkidughyr1 gaming says:

    2010 was my birth

  29. mackenna martens says:

    I love old school stuff

  30. AsothesticWasTaken YT says:

    3:21 Welcome Name:John Doe

  31. John Greathouse says:

    the stories of people finding The Declarations of Independence are amazing too and they've been paid!!

  32. Tim Mah says:

    Strange how criminals are worshipped as pop stars in the States explains Trump I guess.

  33. Tej Karan Singh says:

    Rick from Pawn Stars: Lemme call a friend of mine who’s an Old West enthusiast from the late 1800’s. He’ll be able to lowball the price

  34. D̶y̶l̶a̶n̶ says:

    3:20 i saw the name Jhon Doe

  35. Jenny Billones says:

    After watching the video:
    Me: I'm going to start collecting antiques 😂

  36. Sirius Man says:

    F to Junk Shop's Owner

  37. Valerie Osorio says:

    I would

  38. Christian Osborne says:

    I love all your videos ❤ Huge respect 😊Thank you BRIGHT SIDE 😁

  39. Nurzyafira fira says:

    2010?! I WAS BORN ON 2011!?!?!!?

  40. Reeree Fortin-Simonics says:

    First time I saw this photograph they said it was at a wedding the Billy the Kid had attended and when you compare it with the certified photo of Billy the Kid I think it might just be the same guy as well

  41. Remi Moses says:


  42. Hey People says:


  43. Jeje Mosh says:

    That shopkeeper was so very luckyy ,, 😲😲😲

  44. Vincent Geoca says:

    watch or save lefty brown movie to have this suggestion on your yt homepage aauto… flat earth masking cons piracy

  45. Kristin Ina Buen says:


  46. TopJuanTV says:

    I still have my kindergarten school picture. I wonder how much it will cause after 20 generations.

  47. Will Nongsiej says:

    The shopkeeper might be in deep regret!!

  48. One country says:

    Wanna be a millionaire in 3 steps?
    1. Do the same as 'Billy The Kid'.
    2.Take a selfie.
    3. Sell it.
    and thank me later.


    Random person:can i have that pic
    Me:sure waif here
    Random person:ok
    Me:*run back home then screen shot*
    Me:Im back it worth a million
    Random person:ok

  50. katmprie1 says:

    you goofed.  Billy the Kid' real name was William BONNIE, not McCarthy

  51. nimsara pasindu says:


  52. The Wrecker says:

    My picture after 4050

  53. Athanasius Fischer says:

    yeah if I had the money I'm only 12

  54. David Carrilho says:

    The shop owner is crying right now.. he sold a picture for 2$, worth millions…

  55. Hello Does anyone care says:

    Billy I didnt watch video but knew it was him right away

  56. Swertres Fanatics says:


  57. Black Queen MQM says:

    Billy the Kid is a 3 star servant in FgO

  58. Thomas Gutierrez says:

    I'm born and raised in New Mexico. Lincoln county only being about 3 hours away from where I was raised. let me tell you its still the wild wild west lol. people open carry pistols in holsters as normal as if you were wearing something else within the ordinary. forgetting your pistol is like forgetting your cellphone when you leave the house lol.

  59. Arlo Moreno says:

    I was born in 2011

  60. AnubisXII says:

    I have a couple polaroids of Billy the Regular Guy. They're just as rare, but they're not worth quite as much.
    And how can anyone call something "The rarest in the world" when I have things equally as rare? The picture my camera took when I dropped it yesterday is the only one in existence. Its just as rare as this pic of Billy the Kid. Its for sale.

  61. Manny Rivera says:

    Billy the ki- HOLY the fallout game bily the kid in a fride omg

  62. PungiFungi says:

    Billy the Kid scares me. He looked like a genuine walker. And I also heard from other quarters that this was not Billy the Kid in the pic….

  63. ryan razon says:

    A father before he died said to his son: “this is a watch your grandfather gave and this is more than 200 years old, but before I give it to you go to the watch shop on the first street, and tell him I want to sell it, and see how much it is”. He went and then came back to his father, and said, "the watchmaker paid 5 dollars because it's old”. He said to him : “go to the coffee shop”. He went and then came back, and said: “He paid $5 father”. “Go to the museum and show that watch”. He went then came back, and said to his father “They offered me a million dollars for this piece”. The father said: “I wanted to let you know that the right place values your value in a way right, don't put yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you don't. Who knows your value is who appreciates you, don't stay in a place that doesn't suit you".

    Know your worth.

  64. Garrett Andress says:

    My name is Garrett

  65. joses Shervin says:

    Am not a fan of history so if the picture was mine it would still be hanging on my corridor wall..

  66. Moko Arlyana says:

    Billy the Kid’s revolver was a 40 caliber. He was 1 of the few old west gunfighters to use a double action revolver

  67. Raptorman 43 says:

    Who else believes Billy the Kid and his gang were actually the good guys?

  68. Apurva Kumar Joshi says:

    Only if Billy knew

  69. Baby Ebao says:

    Fake story alert.

  70. calvingreene90 says:

    Billy the Kid was an outlaw solely because the real criminals were well connected politically.

  71. TWICE Sana says:

    Now i can see it for free. Thanks.

  72. Crystal Melad says:


  73. Heavens Box says:

    USA is a nation full of possibilities and opportunities.

  74. BT game says:

    Yes always checkin things out as ya never know what ya go

  75. Mike Scott Singh says:

    I ounce gave away a framed picture of myself. The value was less than $15 dollars for the crystal frame, however later the woman traded it to another on the condition she could keep the photo. Unfortunately my image has never been worth more than a cup of coffee.

  76. Jhon Doe36 says:

    What's up with the cartoon characters bobbing their heads non stop?😂😂

  77. Asad Maqsood says:

    they used a facial recognition software. who did it match his face to?

  78. Randy benton says:

    I have a reproduction of the Kid’s wanted poster in my house surrounded by jail keys, old handcuffs, and old badges. It’s my favorite room in my house.

  79. Weißer Wolf says:

    It was bought in a boutique store in Fresno, CA's tower district, that had some thrift clothing, and racks of old photos.

  80. Halim Vtravel says:

    the other day..watching the pawn star..and they said the photo was fake and its not him billy the kid

  81. Eric G says:

    America. A person with no respect for anothers life. Famous. Hillary Clinton totally understands this.

  82. MR B says:

    He did rob stagecoaches

  83. M Riippa says:

    where is the world going when the most expensive and important picture is of a thief. so sad

  84. Mary Ann Sacdalan says:

    LOL look at billy the kid in 3:22 his name now is john doe XD

  85. jonathan carlson says:

    Wow. I've been wanting to come across a picture for a long time. Lucky guys man.

  86. Rithvik B says:

    time to delete all of my photos except one

  87. Smarmy Fellow says:

    07:20 i have so many questions.

    where do you get the animated graphics?
    why does the scientist scribble under the board?
    why is the scientist at the end of the desk look into the microscope and rub the table?

  88. Jose Velasquez says:

    History is awesome

  89. Along Naga says:

    Why those animations.??

  90. Mohd Sharimin says:

    Marketing genius, 1 000 000% mark up

  91. Scott CARVER says:

    The cartooning was horrific. You had great info and a great pic but rarely focused on the pic.

  92. Old CS Prof says:

    The second picture that you showed incompletely is reproduced in the book Pictorial History of the Wild West by James D. Horan and Paul Sann © 1954 on page 57.

  93. 015Froggy says:

    Forget the picture..I want his colt pistol..imagine the price on that thing

  94. El J says:

    I have a photo of my Great Grandfather on tintype. He was born in 1871 and died in 1925. Im not sure of the year of the photo. My aunt born in 1898 gave it to me.

  95. INS V says:

    It's feel like rdr 2

  96. Ruatdika. Izzy Hnamte says:

    5 million dolars for an outlawz picture,, wow,, someday someone will pay 10 million dollars for Osama bin laden picture,, wow,, em so excited

  97. Yung Kiwi says:

    1 image ever.
    Also a wanted poster

  98. Caveman X says:

    Nope. It’s trash. Throw it away.

  99. arkam raiden says:

    If the pic was 5 M $ worth.. Im trying to imagine about his revolver

  100. Carlos Garcia says:

    I live in Fresno CA no joke omg!!!!

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