William H. Bonney aka Billy the Kid
DENVER – The only authenticated photograph of the notorious William H. Bonney, known the world over as Billy the Kid, has sold for $2.3 million dollars at an auction in Denver. The photo, known as a tintype, was purchased by a private collector named William Koch.
It is believed that the tintype was taken back in 1879 or 1880 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico just a year of two prior to Billy the Kid being killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
History says Bonney gave the photograph to a friend, Dan Dendrick, and that the photo has remained in the possession of Dendrick’s family ever since. The photo was auctioned off at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction on Saturday and fetched more than six times the amount experts predicted. It is the single most expensive piece of old west history ever sold by the auction house.
Billy the Kid is one of those legendary figures of the Old West whose fame has gone beyond the bounds of history. William Bonney has been the subject of tall tales, novels and Hollywood movies for decades.
He was born William Henry McCarty, Jr.  and used numerous aliases including the two that stuck, William H. Bonney and Billy the Kid.  Many states lay claim to the birthplace of Billy the Kid, but most historians believe he was born in New York.
Young Guns and Young Guns II were very popular films from the 1990’s depicting the exploits of the legendary “kid”. It is believed that the real Billy the Kid killed as many as 27 men in his 21 years of life.
In 1878, Bonney was captured and sentenced to hang for the murder of a county sheriff, all part of his participation in the famed Lincoln County War, but Billy the Kid made a daring escape, truly the stuff of legend.
Billy the Kid was tracked down and killed by former saddle pal Sheriff Patrick Floyd Garrett in July of 1881.
Even Garrett’s killing of “the Kid” has come into question with legend rising that Billy’s old pal let Bonney off and that he disappeared into Texas to live out the remainder of his life.
Now, the lone portrait of the William H. Bonney aka Billy the Kid becomes legend itself.

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