Sofe Design Auctions, November 22, 2019, 11:00 AM CST
Richardson, TX, Lot 241: Sensational Authenticated 1870s BILLY THE KID Tintype Image with Great Provenance. Opening Bid: $50,000. Estimated price: $500,000 — $1,000,000.
A HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT, INCREDIBLY RARE ONE-OF-A-KIND 1877-78 BON-TON TINTYPE PHOTO IMAGE OF THE OLD WESTâ€™S MOST FAMOUS AND MYSTERIOUS OUTLAW, WILLIAM BONNEY, AKA BILLY THE KID. THE IMAGE ALSO CONTAINING THREE IMPORTANT BTK FRIENDS AND FELLOW NEW MEXICO LINCOLN COUNTY WAR REGULATOR VIGILANTES: RICHARD BREWER, FRED WAITE, AND HENRY BROWN. (BILLY THE KID WILL HERETOFORE BE REFERRED TO AS BTK). THIS AMAZING PHOTO IMAGE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED, ANALYZED PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE OF BTK. AS WELL AS THE ONLY KNOWN GROUP IMAGE KNOWN TO INCLUDE BTK. POSSESSING METICULOUS AND IRREFUTABLE TEXAS/NEW MEXICO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE DATING BACK THREE GENERATIONS. AS WELL AS 101 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY POSSESSION AND SAFEKEEPING. THIS NEVER BEFORE SEEN NOR PUBLICLY OFFERED (LIKELY ONE OF A FOUR-PLATE) PHOTOGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED AND FORENSICALLY ESTABLISHED BTK IMAGE. AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH BEING THE ONLY AS YET UNEARTHED GROUP IMAGE OF BTK, POSITIVELY ESTABLISHED THROUGH BOTH SCIENTIFIC AND FORENSIC STUDY. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, CRUCIAL AND CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY CHAIN OF PROVENANCE DATING BACK FROM THE PRESENT DAY, BACK TO 1918, WHEN TOMAS ANDERSON SR. RECEIVED THE SUBJECT PHOTO DIRECTLY, AND WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATION OF IDENTIFICATION OF IT POSITIVELY CONTAINING BTK. COMING DIRECTLY FROM, AND GIVEN TO MY GRANDFATHER BY THE WIDOW OF DAVID LAWRENCE ANDERSON, (MY GRANDFATHERâ€™S 2ND COUSIN) ALIAS BILLY WILSON, (WHO RODE WITH AND BEFRIENDED BTK DURING THE LINCOLN COUNTY WAR, AND WHO WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH TO HOLD AS SAFEKEEPING PRIOR TO BTKâ€™S 1881 MURDER). …
HE IMAGE DEPICTS THE FOUR MEN PLAYING A FRIENDLY GAME OF CARDS AND DRINKING, IN WHAT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A â€œSTAGEDâ€ PHOTO SITTING BY AN ANONYMOUS TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER. MOST LIKELY THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS PART OF A FOUR-TIN PLATE, WHICH WOULD HAVE COST AROUND, AND SOLD FOR, 25 CENTS, AND DISTRIBUTED INDIVIDUALLY TO EACH OF THE FOUR MEN. ALL PERTINENT DOCUMENTATION PAPERWORK INCLUDED WITH SALE (SHOWN IN AUCTION PHOTOS): PERSONALLY WRITTEN AND ATTESTED-TO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE CONTINUOUSLY DATING BACK TO 1918 IS PROVIDED TO THE WINNING BIDDER. AS WELL, THE APPROXIMATE AGE AND SPECIFIC TYPE OF ORIGINAL BON-TON TINTYPE BEING POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE ESTEEMED GEORGE EASTMAN MUSEUMâ€™S HEAD CURATOR. (THE APPROXIMATION OF DATE STAMPING THE PHOTO FROM MID-1877 TO EARLY 1878, COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE FOUR SUBJECTS IN THE PHOTO ALL WORKED AT THE JOHN TUNSTALL NEW MEXICO RANCH TOGETHER STARTING IN MID-1877, AND RICHARD BREWER, THE SUBJECT ON THE FAR LEFT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS MURDERED IN APRIL,1878). IN ADDITION, A TOP WESTERN PHOTO FORENSIC SCIENTIST WHO RESEARCHED AND WORKED ON SCIENTIFIC FACIAL RECOGNITION AND OTHER PERTINENT RESEARCH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BTK AND FRED WAITE AS TWO OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO. (THE OTHER TWO SUBJECTS: BREWER AND BROWN ARE TURNED PROFILE, THUS PRECLUDING FORENSICALLY IDENTIFYING THEM. HOWEVER, AS SEEN IN THE SUPERIMPOSED PHOTO OF PREVIOUSLY DOCUMENTED IMAGES OF THE FOUR MEN, THEN PLACED ON TOP OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO, THE EXTREMELY CLOSE SIMILARITIES OF THE FOUR MEN, INCLUDING BREWER AND BROWN ARE QUITE EVIDENT. IN ADDITION, NOTED ENGLISH APPRAISAL FIRM BARNEBYâ€™S HAS APPRAISED AND COMMENTED VERY POSITIVELY ABOUT THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH, ASSIGNING AN APPROXIMATE PRE-AUCTION ESTIMATE OF 100,000+. BESIDES ALL THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION INCLUDED IN THE SALE, IS THE ORIGINAL 1872 LEATHER PHOTO ALBUM WITH BILLY WILSONâ€™S CARVED INITIALS IN WHICH THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS ORIGINALLY ACQUIRED BY TOMAS ANDERSON SR. IN 1918. …
Billy The Kid (born Henry McCarty 1859-1881, also known as William H. Bonney) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21. He took part in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly committed three murders.After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney became a wanted man in Arizona Territory and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, the Regulators killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other Regulators were later charged with killing all three men. Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month. In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney aged 21 in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. During the following decades, legends that Bonney had survived that night grew, and a number of men claimed to be him.
Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (February 19, 1850 – April 4, 1878), was an American cowboy and Lincoln County, New Mexico, lawman. He was the founding leader of the Regulators, a deputized posse that fought in the Lincoln County War. Brewer was born on February 19, 1850 in St. Albans, Vermont. At the age of four, he and his family moved to Boaz, Wisconsin. Brewer moved on to Missouri before arriving in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Brewer tried farming as a profession, and he bought a farm in Lincoln County with this in mind. In the spring of 1871, Brewer began working for Lawrence Murphy, but soon left that job. By 1876, he was working as a cattle foreman for cattleman John Tunstall, owner of one of the largest farms in the area. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered. After Tunstall’s murder, a posse was deputized to serve arrest warrants on his killers, with Brewer chosen to lead the posse. The Regulators originated from that posse, and included Billy the Kid and Jose Chavez y Chavez. Dick Brewer established a bond of friendship with Billy the Kid, Chavez and the rest of Billy the Kid’s gang, and he was often accompanied by gang members. Being one of the founders of the Regulators, Brewer sometimes assumed a leadership role when around Billy, Chavez and the rest of their company, and was the first leader of the Regulators during the early stages of the Lincoln County War. The pair remained friends until Brewer’s death, and evidently he followed Brewer’s lead. Brewer was the most mature of the group, by all accounts, and the rest of the Regulators accepted him in that role.
Frederick Tecumseh Waite, occasionally spelled Fred Wayte (born September 23, 1853 – September 24, 1895), was a Chickasaw cowboy who joined Billy the Kid’s gang. His father was a farmer and operated a trading store and stage stop southeast of Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite left Indian Territory to work as a cowboy in the New Mexico Territory. While working for John Tunstall as a ranch hand, he met Bill Bonney and several other men who worked for Tunstall. After Tunstall was killed in the Lincoln County War, Bonney, Waite and the others called themselves the Regulators while they pursued Tunstall’s killers. After that, they became known as the “Billy the Kid gang.” In 1880, Waite left the gang, returning to live in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite married, became a rancher and started a family. He lived a law-abiding life thereafter and became involved in Choctaw and Chickasaw politics. Elected to the legislature as a representative both as a representative and as a senator, he was even elected Speaker of the House for three sessions. Then he was appointed Attorney General of the Chickasaw Nation. He died of rheumatism at the age of 42.
Henry Newton Brown (1857 – April 30, 1884) was an American Old West gunman who played the roles of both lawman and outlaw during his life. In 1877, Brown landed in the New Mexico Territory, and became embroiled in the Lincoln County War. Brown joined Billy the Kid and cowboys as “The Regulators”, working John Tunstall’s Rio Feliz Ranch. On April 1, 1878, Brown, Billy the Kid, Jim French, Frank McNab, John Middleton and Fred Waite ambushed and murdered Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady, who was indirectly responsible for the death of Tunstall. Three days later, at the Gunfight at Blazer’s Mill, Brown and the Regulators engaged in a gunfight with Buckshot Roberts, another man they believed involved in Tunstall’s murder. Roberts received a serious gunshot wound from Charlie Bowdre which later proved to be fatal, but not before he managed to kill the Regulators’ nominal leader, Richard M. Brewer. Retreating into proprietor Blazer’s office, Roberts continued a prolonged firefight with Brown and the Regulators. He died the next day.
It will be interesting to see if the market accepts its authetication and it sells.