Amazing Find. Tintype Of Billy The Kid & Lincoln County Regulators - Do Not Copy
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Amazing Find. Tintype Of Billy The Kid & Lincoln County Regulators - Do Not Copy:
This is truly an amazing find. This is a full plate tintype in amazing condition. Very clear photo showing lots of detail. Very bright and no oxidation.
Please be aware that there is an seller trying to sell a print of this original tintype. His is obviously nothing more than a print taken from my listing photos. I have now changed the photo in the description. Even the original photo I listed did not show the entire tintype. There is about a half inch around the edges not shown.
This Tintype has a feint oval shape that can be made out where it has obviously been sat in a frame with oval card border in front. Unfortunately there is no documentation to authenticate however when you see the faces it’s clear that this photo of at least 3 of the old Lincoln County regulators with their boss Pete Maxwell who they all worked for together after the Lincoln county war. Some worked for him at other times before this period too but not all together at the same time.
So I believe this to be a Tintype of Pete Maxwell (front center) with his most trusted employees. I have no ideas on the back row names however on the second row from left to right I truly believe we have;
Ab Saunders, George Coe, Charles Bowdre, Billy the Kid
As stated above, all four are known to have worked for Pete Maxwell after the Lincoln County war which officially lasted around a year. Which puts this photo anywhere between July 1878 and Dec 23rd 1880 when Charle Bowdre was shot and killed by Pat Garret’s men.
Ab Saunders was a cousin of both George and Frank Coe while George and Charle had previously owned a cheese factory together. It’s clear that these 3 were good friends and spent a great deal of time together and also with Billy. Pete employed all 4 of these men over the course of several years.
George, Ab and Charlie all have very distinct features. I would say it’s mathematically impossible that there would be another three men from around this date who all worked together and looked identical to be pictured together, especially given the man in the centre who I really believe to be Pete Maxwell.
There are only 2 official photos of Billy but this young man on the right has the same ears, shoulders and other features. It is also clear that this man also has teeth protruding which prevent him from closing his mouth fully. His features are the same.
The original authenticated photo one isn’t great and I believe he moved slightly during the photo being taken as the right side of his face appears longer and more distorted. This picture however is very clear and shows a symmetry to the face. The left hand side is a clear match in my opinion. Also Billy’s left shoulder is a dead match for the 1st official picture. His right shoulder is raised here as he is holding his arm up at ninety degrees but the left slopes down at a very steep angle. Almost a unique angle that very very few men have. 95% of men have much squarer shoulders. We know billy has shoulders and ears exactly like in this Tintype. It’s also worth noticing his hands and fingers. His fingers are very slender compared to the others. His thumb also doesn’t seem to protrude very much. This would explain the fact he was able to remove handcuffs more easily than the average person.
The second authenticated photo of a game croquet being played is also shown where the face fits perfectly. Same head & ear shape and position of facial features.
I have received quite a number of messages from people who without exceptions so far are all sure that my assumptions are correct and are amazed at this photo. If you also have information that could assist in identifying the men on the top row that would be very interesting to me.
This is clearly a massively important tintype. While it is clear who these men are It’s unfortunate as I say that there is no provenance as was taken in a photographers set, not outside with a location to find. The price clearly reflects that as if there were we would be looking at many millions given the clarity of the photo and the group assembled.
But from the grouping it is clearly the 5 men I listed. There is only one other photo of Charles Bowdre (the one he died with) George only has photos from much older, as does Pete Maxwell. Ab only has a couple of recognized photos. I have included all for you so see that it’s clearly them in my opinion.
This is truly an amazing find that came from the estate of a serious collector who had a large collection split up and sold in sale.
While I have no doubt on the characters in the photo I cannot give any guarantees simply due to the fact there is no other documentation with it. It would be difficult to gain a definitive statement from anyone as is purely based on personal opinion. That said I think the evidence is overwhelming in this case. Possibly using state of the art computer software it may be possible to gain a definitive statement.
Serious buyers only. I will ship internationally but shipping will have to be arranged by the purchaser with sufficient insurance.