Man Buys $2 Photo In Antiques Shop, Jumps When He Discovers Its True Worth

 

Antique enthusiast Randy Guijarro decided to stroll into his local antique store, against his wife’s wishes, to add to his clutter in the spare bedroom. Noticing some buyers about to close a deal, he was intrigued to see what they had in their boxes. Having a look through, Randy was unsure what exactly he was looking for, but he hoped to find something special. Linda was disappointed her husband had gone against her wishes until she took a closer look at the photograph and exclaimed: “You do realize who this is?” Linda had a hunch that one of the people in the picture might make it worth millions. Was she right?

Hooked On A Scent

Randy Guijarro had a fondness for antiques for as long as he could remember, but it was rare that he found pieces of historical significance, he simply liked collecting.

However, as he wandered through an antique store, something incredible caught his eye. Though Randy had been far from intending to buy anything that day, when he saw some pieces being moved out of the store, he knew he had to have a closer look. What he’d eventually discover changed history.

Mission To Purge

It seemed like a routine day for Randy who was simply out meeting a friend. He’d promised his wife that he wouldn’t be buying anything new until they’d made some more space in their house, but there was something magnetizing about the local antique store.

He felt the vintage goods calling his name as he passed by the window display, and figuring that he would only be looking, he gave in to his temptation and walked inside.

A Fateful Glimmer

As Randy wandered around the store, he couldn’t help but notice that outside of the window were a couple of men and a lot of boxes. It seemed like there was some sort of deal going down.

Randy felt his curiosity begin to raise. This situation wasn’t an unfamiliar one, as the amount of stock leaving the store in boxes could only mean one thing. There was quite possibly something credible inside that no one was even aware of yet.

Going With His Gut

Randy walked towards the men, hoping that they’d allow him to take a peek into the boxes. His previous experience with antiques told him that store owner was likely in a pinch to get rid of a large amount of stock at once.

The men taking the boxes home had assuredly placed the winning bid, but probably didn’t have the time to actually go through their purchases until after they’d removed them from the store. Randy approached them anyway.

Between The Cracks

Sifting through the boxes at high speed was no easy task, but there was one particular box that caught his interest. There wasn’t very much inside, however, just before deciding to move on to the next box, Randy found a couple of old photographs.

He figured Linda couldn’t complain much about them since they didn’t take up much space. Either way, he just had a feeling that these were out of the ordinary. He had no idea just how special they truly were.

Is This What I Think It Is?

He only had $2 to give the men. However, the men happily took it and went their way. Randy and Linda had no idea what was in front of them. As she saw the three photos, hundreds of questions went through her mind.

“How much did this cost you?” she asked him. After he explained to her what had transpired, she simply asked, “You do realize who this is?” This meant that the photo in question could be worth millions of dollars…

Who Is It?

After getting in touch with a historian, they took a close look at the faces in the images and tried to work out who exactly they could be. According to the historian, the photos had been taken in the 19th century.

Soon enough though, Linda pointed out one of the men in the photo. Then, as Linda drew her head close to Randys, she whispered to him who she thought it was. The name absolutely shook him to his core…

Billy The Kid?

Anyone who knows even the smallest bit about the Wild West has probably heard of the legend that is Billy The Kid. This is the name that Linda whispered to Randy.

A notorious individual, Billy the Kid was at one point, one of the most wanted men in the entire state of Arizona. He was known for having escaped multiple prisons, while also evading the clutches of the law many times. Had they finally found the second legitimate photo of him?

Nobody Believed Them

Just a few years ago, the only other legitimate photo of Billy the Kid had been purchased at an auction for a remarkable 2.3 million dollars. However, Randy and Linda’s case was different, seeing that they didn’t have concrete evidence about who had taken the photo.

In fact, many people who they presented the photo to wouldn’t believe their claims. Just like that, after having dreamed of selling the photos for a ton of money, everything seemed so hopeless…

Huge Setback

As time went on, Randy and Linda had received a variety of opinions from a number of experts. While some were skeptical, others were more confident that they had a case.

However, when they took the photo to a show in Grassy Valley, North California, they finally got confirmation. An expert took the photo, and unequivocally wrote the photo off as a fake. According to him, there was no proof that the photo was authentic. Despite this huge setback, something big was about to change everything…

Serious Doubts

As the experts barely glanced at it, the picture could still be genuine. The story caught the attention of Jeff Aiello, who worked in their area as a TV and film producer.

“I told Randy to let me have the picture. My wife, Jill, is a fantastic researcher,’ Aiello said. “We did photo overlays and all kinds of fancy computer stuff and dove into the history. After a month, we were both confident that was a photo of Billy and four of the ‘Regulators.’”

Facial Recognition

Under the auspices of National Geographic, who provided the project with millions, Aiello filmed a two-hour special. Kevin Costner narrated the documentary, which followed Randy’s fight against the corruption in authenticating genuine historic artifacts.

Linda and Randy had all but given hope, but this was given a boost after shooting the special. Even the famous narrator was convinced after facial recognition technology corroborated the image with known photographs of Billy The Kid, resulting in at least a 70% match.

Clue In The Croquet

In addition to the facial recognition technology, they also tracked down the producer of the croquet set in the picture. This reference helped them figure how height the people who appeared in the image actually were.

Randy and Linda were encountering difficulties, as this journey had taken them over 10,000 miles in four states and their money was beginning to run out. They needed more evidence. They prayed that they would have answers after their last stop, in Tunstall’s ranch in New Mexico.

Clues In A Diary

One of those in the pictures was identified as Sally Chisum, with 80% accuracy. There are some clues in Sally Chisum’s diary that point to her and the Regulators (and Billy The Kid himself) having gathered at Tunstall’s ranch.

Randy and Linda were determined to prove wrong the so-called experts who deemed the picture a fraud, but would their trip to the ranch be fruitful? Without further ado, they all made their way down to the ranch.

Arriving At The Ranch

When they arrived, Randy gazed at the familiar landscape in disbelief. All that he had hoped for lay there, on the plot of land that was before him. He knew it; he had been right all along.

National Geographic helped the pair map out the exact spot where the photo was taken. Linda and Randy, finally triumphant after such a long journey, made their way back home. But on their return to California, they realized that they may have won the battle, but the war was far from over…

Trying To Prove It

Lindy and Randy took the photo to Don Kagen, authenticator and seller of Kagan’s Inc. Despite all the evidence, Kagan still had his doubts. He was unsure as to why Billy the Kid and his cohorts were playing croquet.

Randy tried to prove his point by explaining that the set belonged to Henry Tunstall, who was English, but still no one believed him. Randy didn’t understand why the truth didn’t matter. Then, just as he had almost lost hope, he got an unexpected call.

Finally Paid Off

Kagan’s Inc had found something that left Randy and Linda amazed. Kagen’s partner flew to the Ranch where the photo was taken. He noticed there were signs from another structure underneath the new building, exactly where the house in the photograph was.

He recreated the house on advanced software. That was it – no more convincing needed. They set the price at $5 million for the photo. Linda was relieved, five years and their life savings had finally paid off. But this was not the first case.

Going Viral

The internet couldn’t get enough of Randy’s story. Shows like American Pickers and The Antique Roadshow are watched by people all over the world, turning dusty junk into thousands of dollars.

Eventually, his story caught the attention of the popular National Geographic. While everyone has followed on, determined to also find a hidden gem that could make them millions, not many can be so lucky to get a picture for $2 worth $5 million. But there was one question left to Randy’s story.

Not The End

“I hope this prompts others out there to look into trucks and attics,” Randy shared, “because there are so many lost treasures out there!” Randy was so glad that he listened to his guy, and first and foremost, trusted his wife.

He is putting the message out there that no one should be embarrassed to check a hidden treasure, big or small. But the story is not over. Another photograph of Billy The Kid has been found since his story was aired on a National Geographic documentary.

Another Photograph

Whilst watching Randy’s documentary Billy The Kid: New Evidence, a lawyer by the name of Frank Abrams had a sudden light-bulb moment, mixed with hope. He too had an old photograph which the photo from the documentary triggered his memory of.

Maybe there was more to it than he thought? Should he dream like Randy or would he be disappointed? He instantly rummaged through his house to find it and began his own incredible journey, changing history as we know it.

A Stroke Of Good Luck

Frank had come across this picture in much the same way as Randy had. He simply stumbled across it at a flea market in 2011. According to him, he paid little more than $10 for the seemingly ancient photograph.

He was instantly drawn to the photograph and simply believed to be a picture of old-fashioned cowboys on a ranch in the American South. Being quite happy with his purchase, he hung the picture in a small apartment which he rented to travelers via Airbnb.

Familiar Face

By chance one day, Frank watched a documentary on National Geographic that detailed the life of Billy The Kid. He found the documentary and story of Billy incredibly interesting and began researching the character more in depth.

After a while of doing research, he started to notice something funny about a face that kept showing up during his investigation. It was the face of Pat Garret that he kept seeing and thinking “Where have I seen that face before?”

The Plot Thickens

One day it occurred to Frank where he had seen the face before. It was on the old photograph that he had bought at the flea market! Could this really be a photograph from all those years ago of someone as legendary as Pat Garret?

As he continued to do his research, he started noticing something else strange about the photograph in his comparisons. The photo contained a number of other faces – one of which reminded him of Billy The Kid! But could that be true?

Bingo!

After a number of visits from forensic investigators and historians, Frank was able to confirm that this was indeed a picture of both Pat Garret and Billy The Kid together dated Aug 2, 1880.

This was just before Billy Kid killed a deputy and escaped trial. While they were not able to answer why the lawman (Garret) and Billy were in the same photo together, they could indeed inform Frank that his photograph was worth a great deal of money – far more than he had purchased it for!

Priceless

After confirming that the picture was indeed an original, Frank was elated! Not only was he amazed that he found something of so much value for such a low price but the meaningfulness of the picture made him incredibly happy.

The experts now assume that the picture is probably worth twice as much as Randy’s. When they asked Frank whether he would ever separate with it, he said no. To him, the fact that the picture is an original makes it priceless to him and something worth keeping.

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