Last Remaining ‘Billy the Kid’ Photograph Auctions for $2.3 Million

  • Share
  • Read Later
REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell

This tintype, which Billy the Kid had made of himself for 25 cents, was sold for $2.3 million on Saturday.

Somebody wanted to be a cowboy when he was a kid.

William Koch, of the famously wealthy Koch family, bought the last remaining photograph of even more famous Western outlaw Billy the Kid. Koch bought the picture for $2.3 million, almost six times the maximum bid, when it was auctioned off at the the Brian Lebel Old West Show & Auction in Colorado.

(LIST: Top 10 Most Expensive Auction Items)

The tintype, which was taken about a year and a half before his death, features the cocky Kid leaning on his 1873 Winchester rifle and packing heat with a Colt 45 sidearm.

The picture is a glimpse into a life of a bandit whom we don’t know much about. Billy the Kid is said to have killed as many as 21 people, but the actual number is probably lower. His full name is also disputed. It could be William Bonney…or William Henry McCarty… or Henry Antrim. He fought (and switched sides) in the Lincoln County War , a conflict over business competition that turned into a bloody feud in the unorganized New Mexico territory in the 1870s. In his spare time, he robbed banks, stole horses, and pilfered cattle. But every legend has an end, and this one met his when he was killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in 1881 after he escaped from prison.

(LIST: Top 10 Bandits)

Koch’s love for the Wild West is not new. In fact, he already owns guns that belonged to Gen. George Armstrong Custer, Jesse James, and Frank James. His fortune comes from his family’s creation of Koch Industries, one of the biggest energy companies in the U.S. Don’t worry, Bill won’t go broke for his purchase of Billy. It’s chump change compared to his total worth of $3.5 billion.

Koch plans on sharing the picture with some small museums for a while before storing it in his private collection. NewsFeed kind of wishes he’d share some of that cash, too.