Only known photo of Billy the Kid sold at auction

The only known authenticated portrait of the notorious outlaw Billy the Kid has sold for $2.3m, six times the estimated amount, at auction in Denver, Colorado. The tintype, an early form of photo using metal plates, is believed to have been taken in 1879 or 1880 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Billy the Kid gave the image to a friend, Dan Dendrick, in whose family it has remained ever since. Well, until it was bought by a private collector named William Koch.

Billy the Kid (variously William Henry McCarty, Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney) was reputedly born in New York but moved to Colorado with his mother and brothers when his father died. He fell into a career of thievery and lawlessness and was hunted across the southern US states and northern Mexico.

He is widely thought to have killed 21 people, although some sources put the figure as high as 27, others put the figure as low as four. Nobody really seems to know.

Billy the Kid was captured and sentenced to hang for the 1878 murder of a county sheriff, but he managed to escape. He was then hunted down and killed by Sheriff Patrick Floyd Garrett on 14 July 1881.

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