We get a "new" Billy the Kid photo sent to us almost every week. Here is a good example:
Great photo, love the hat and the cocky look on his face. So is it the Kid? Probably not, but hard to prove, either way.
And here's a typical inquiry that came in this week:
Okay, here's the deal: we get these Billy wannabes almost every week and they are invariably intriguing and always exasperating because the people who own them want us to sign off on their claims. And when we don't, they get upset and some of them call us names. But some of my friends in the biz have it even worse. One photo expert I know has to wear a bullet proof vest because one of these photo-finders showed up at an Old West auction and pulled a Glock and security had to take him down. He made death threats and now my friend has to wear a bullet proof vest. This is a bit drastic for such a light-hearted hobby, yes?
So, back to the above photograph. Is it a great photograph? Absolutely. I love it. The cap on the right is killer. Is there any way to prove it's Billy? No, short of a letter from someone who actually knew the Kid and who specifically mentions this photo, there is no way to prove anything. The pinkie ring is circumstantial, wounds are totally subjective and hard to prove and any facial recognition measuring is about as accurate as a wing ding is for direction. It's kind of close, but so what? That is the brutal truth and I know it will break their hearts but someone has to tell them the truth.
If you'd like to read the article about the Victorville photo in question here is a link:
Is New Photo Billy the Kid And His Brother?
After it posted today, the reporter, Mathew Cabe, wanted to know what a "wing ding" is (he said he looked it up and couldn't find it anywhere). Here is my answer:
—Billy the Kid Collector