132-yr-old shot of outlaw Billy the Kid, Henry McCarty up for sale for $US400k

Updated: 19 Jun 2011
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Outlaw: Henry McCarty, also known as Billy the Kid, depicted in this undated tintype photo, circa 1880
Up for auction: The Old West Show & Auction at the Merchandise Mart in Denver, Colorado, where the iconic image will go up for sale next Saturday
He went down in history as the most famous gun slinger in the Wild West, but little record exists of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid.
One single authentic photograph - that historians can agree on - remains. Now, it's set to be offered to the public for the first time ever.

Bids on the credit card-sized tintype photo is expected to fetch as much as $400,000 when it goes up for auction in Denver next week.

The photo was taken outside a saloon in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, when Billy the Kid, born William Henry McCarty and later known as outlaw William Bonney, was barely out of his teens.

Experts estimate it was taken around 1879. But 132 years later, it endures as the most recognisable photo of the American West.
The Kid gave it to his friend, Dan Dedrick, and it's been kept in the family for the last century, going on public display only once at Lincoln County Museum in New Mexico in 1986 to 1998.

It was famously featured a book by Pat Garrett, the sheriff who gunned Billy down on July 14, 1881 -130 years ago next month.

Relatively unknown during his own lifetime, he was catapulted into legend that year by Garrett's tome, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid.

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The photo will be up for auction at Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction at the Merchandise Mart in Denver, Colorado on June 25 and 26.
Auctioneers estimate it will bring in between $300,000 and $400,000, though some say it could fetch as much as $1million.

The New York Times reported that there will be 'armed guards' when the photo is previewed on Friday.

Other purported photographs of Billy the Kid have surfaced over the years, but none have ever been authenticated, Old West Auction founder, Brian Lebel says on the company's website.
'This is it,' he said. 'The only one.'
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