Private collector William Koch ponied up $2.6 million (with 15% fees) for the only known surviving portrait of Billy the Kid at a Denver auction. The tintype of the legendary outlaw blew away its pre-sale estimate of $300,000 and $400,000 at Brian Lebel's 22nd Annual Old West Show & Auction on Saturday.
The photograph is believed to have been taken outside a saloon at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in either 1879 or 1880. Billy the Kid is shown in rumpled clothes with one hand on his Winchester carbine and a Colt revolver holstered on his left side.
It had descended in the family of Dan Dedrick, a friend of the outlaw.
"I love the Old West," said Koch of the purchase in the New York Daily News. "I plan on enjoying it and discreetly sharing it. I think I'll display it in a few small museums."
Koch, who lives primarily in Palm Beach, has amassed a vast and eclectic collection of art that includes works by Picasso, Monet, and Modigliani as well as Old West collectibles such as a rifle that belonged to General Custer.