eBay shopper buys photo of bandit Jesse James, who would be able to sell it for millions
An eBay shopper to buy an authentic picture thought to be the earliest known photo of the legendary outlaw Jesse James at the young age of 14 years. After authentication of the image, the image can now be worth thousands or even millions of dollars.
A mysterious 19th-century photo purchased on eBay for only € 10 with a value of $2 million after experts identified as a very rare portrait of the infamous outlaw Jesse James.
Justin Whiting, who lives in Spalding, ENGLAND, bought the tintype for a mere 7 UK pounds ($10) in July 2017. He saw a clear resemblance between the young people in the photo, and a picture of James in a book.
Described as a kind of “19th-century Polaroid,” tintype photos were made by application of chemicals to a thin metal plate.
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“I saw the picture for sale, it was $10. It was a little blurry on the site, but when I got it, it was a lot better,” he said, according to SWNS. “I thought to myself: ‘Gee wizz, this can be a real photo!’ I am obsessed with American outlaws years and read a lot of books and study of their faces.”
The eBay listing for the rare Jesse James photo
( © Justin Whiting / SWNS.com)
Prompted by friends, Whiting contact with forensic experts in the U.S., which is analyzed on the photo. The collector, who is already off work since 2003 as a result of back problems, has told that the photo can be worth at least $2 million, reports SWNS.
Born on Sept. 5, 1847 in Clay County, Mo., James earned fame as a bank and train robber. He was also a Confederate guerrilla during the civil war. The outlaw was shot and killed by Robert Ford, a member of his gang, on April 3, 1882.
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California on the basis of 19th-century photography expert Dunniway graduated Whiting photos and said that it was a real portrait of James taken when the baby-faced outlaw was only 14.
Collector Justin Whiting, who bought the Jesse James photo on eBay
( © Justin Whiting / SWNS.com)
“It was an easy match since it was likened to an old well-known image of the young Jesse James on 14,” he told Fox News, via e-mail. “Justin picture, however, it was the same pose and on the same day by the same photographer.”
The Jesse James photo is a “great find,” says Dunniway, who has also been working to verify other famous photos of Billy the Kid. “There are no others,” he said. “A one-of-a-kind original that most likely was treated by the teenage Jesse James.”
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The photo was also sent to Los Angeles-based forensic expert Kent Gibson, who confirmed that the photo was authentic. “Jesse James is a famous outlaw, so this is clearly a valuable picture,” he said.
The tintype photo of Jesse James
( © Justin Whiting / SWNS.com )
There are very few original photos of the outlaws in the existence, which means that they can command high prices when they come on the market. A portrait of Billy the Kid taken in Fort Sumner in 1880, for example, sold for $2.3 million in 2011.
An unusual 1878 photo of Billy the Kid and his gang playing croquet is also assessed and insured for $5 million.
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Other collectors have hit the jackpot in recent years. A grainy, 19th-century photo bought at a North Carolina flea market for $10 is found to be both Billy the Kid and his killer, Pat Garrett, potentially making it worth millions of dollars.
In 2015, it is a rare photo of James and his killer, Ford surfaced, creating lots of buzz.
SWNS reports that the Whiting have already been in touch with Christie’s about the Jesse James picture.
A Christie’s spokesperson declined to comment on this story, tells Fox News that the auction “not comment on anything that is not packaged for the sale.”
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers