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FLEA MARKET FIND: Billy the Kid photo worth millions

Frank Abrams, who bought the photo at a flea market says experts in forensics and facial recognition have verified the picture after several months of examination.
Frank Abrams, who bought the photo at a flea market says experts in forensics and facial recognition have verified the picture after several months of examination. Frank Abrams via AP

IT'S THE picture that's worth more than a thousand words. A whole lot more!

A 137-year-old photo that allegedly depicts gunslinger Billy the Kid sitting with the famed sheriff who shot him down could fetch more than $US5 million after being snapped up at a flea market for just $10.

North Carolina lawyer Frank Abrams spotted the picture in Asheville in 2011.

He snapped it up, took it home and hung it on his wall where, along with a series of other photos, it stayed as part of his personal collection until Mr Abrams curiosity was piqued after watching a TV program about the infamous outlaw in 2015.

Recognising Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid's former friend and eventual killer, Mr Abrams approached retired professor Robert Stahl who examined the tintype photo and said, with a "high probability", it was indeed Garrett.

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However, the former academic couldn't be certain any of the other men in the photo were William 'Billy the Kid' Bonney.

Mr Abrams then consulted several experts on the validity of the photo with many confirming it had been taken some time around the printed date, August 2, 1880.

A signed declaration stated that a video expert said facial recognition indicated both the figures of Garrett and Billy the Kid while a handwriting expert declared a signature from Garrett on the photo matches his known handwriting.

The photo is now a safely guarded treasure with a photo of Billy the Kid discovered in 2015 estimated to be worth $US5 million, while another photo of the outlaw, sold in 2011, fetched $US2.2 million.

However, a photo of Billy the Kid alongside Garrett would be expected to smash both those marks.

"Now, it's in a safe deposit box," Mr Abrams told AP.

Topics:  billy the kid editors picks frank abrams pat garrett


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