Billy the Kid Is Coming to Denver at The Lebel Old West Show and Auction | TheFencePost.com

Billy the Kid Is Coming to Denver at The Lebel Old West Show and Auction

One hundred and thirty years ago a nameless, traveling photographer made what has become the most important and recognizable photograph of the American West. The single tintype image that survives is the only authenticated photo of Billy the Kid in existence today.

Over a century after his death, Billy the Kid is one of the most well known historical figures of the Old West. He has become a legend and has had books, films, and histories done about him. The tintype is almost as legendary as the Kid himself. The famous Upham family tintype surfaced in 1986 when the California family donated it for viewing to the Lincoln County (New Mexico) Trust. It was returned to the Upham family in 1998.

The tintype has descended through one family and has never been offered for sale before. That will change on June 25, when the original tintype and only authentic photo of Billy the Kid comes to Denver for auction by Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction. This famous, historical photo has been thoroughly documented and authenticated and is estimated to bring between $300,000 and $400,000 but many feel that the sale price may exceed $1,000,000.

Most of the reproductions of the Billy the Kid photo give a distorted impression of the size of the tintype. The tintype process is very interesting. Photography was in its infancy in 1860 and the process was very tedious. The large, heavy camera was primitive. It had no shutter and used a black cloth to uncover the lens. To prevent movement during the long exposures, a stand held the subject’s head in place, and part of the stand can be seen by Billy’s foot. The ‘film’ was a thick, light sensitive, silver solution that was poured over a 5-by-7-inch metal plate and allowed to set, but not dry completely. Reflected light entered the lens and darkened the silver in the solution to varying degrees, depending on the intensity of the light.

Once exposed, the metal plate was placed in a developing solution and then into a solution that ‘fixed’ the image on the metal. The silver that was not part of the image was then washed away and the plate was coated with varnish and allowed to dry. The image on a tintype is a ‘negative’ image, in that the image on the tintype is reversed, which is the source of the early myth that the Kid was left handed.

The camera that was used to take Billy the Kid’s picture outside of Beaver Smith’s Saloon had four lens tubes and recorded four images onto the 5-by-7-inch metal plate. They were cut apart making the finished image a piece of metal measuring 1.75-inches wide by 3.0-inches high.

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What happened to the other three tintypes? There are lots of theories, but no one knows for certain. What is certain is that the one offered at auction in Denver at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction was given by Billy the Kid to his friend Dan Dedrick, who in turn gave it to his nephew Frank Upham in the early 1930s.

Is this really a photo of Billy the Kid? Absolutely – this image has been thoroughly investigated and documented. “We’ve all seen this image of Billy countless times, but when you hold the actual three-dimensional tintype in your hands, it’s a whole different experience,” said Brian Lebel, “This is it. The only one.”

For 19 years Brian Lebel’s annual show and auction was held in Cody, Wyo., and was well known and respected by collectors of Cowboy and Western Americana. Last year, for the 20th anniversary, Lebel decided to move the Old West Show and Auction to Denver, Colo., which was a larger and more centrally located population center. It is now held annually at the Denver Merchandise Mart. The featured item for the anniversary show and auction was the gun collection of Roy Rogers, the “King of the Cowboys.”

Besides the auction The Old West Show features an expo-style sale with over 150 national dealers in Western antiques, art and merchandise. The Old West Show runs June 24-26 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. General admission is only $5 and admission to the auction and the preview of the items, including the Billy the Kid tintype, is free and open to the public.

Fine Western art at this year’s auction includes an important Edward Borein watercolor, California Vaquero, and a rare, unpublished Will James watercolor as well as a number of first edition Will James books with original drawings and signatures. Fine saddles, spurs, bits, bridles and other cowboy items from noted names such as Bohlin, Visalia, Ortega, and Buermann will be offered.

There are many exceptional items from the American Old West being offered at the auction, but the Billy the Kid tintype is definitely the star of the show. Brian Lebel has seen and sold some of the best collectables there are and even he is impressed. “Being involved with the sale of the tintype of Billy the Kid has been a true honor. I am not exaggerating when I say that, the first time I held it, my knees shook. No matter how many years I am in this business, it is nice to know that I am still capable of being awestruck by an artifact.”

Not only is the auction an important event for Denver, but this may be the last time that the public has an opportunity to view the famous photo in its original state. The only time the tintype has been available for public viewing was for a limited time at the Lincoln County Museum in New Mexico. If it is purchased by an individual collector rather than a museum, it may never be available for public viewing again. Do not miss your opportunity to see this historical and one-of- a-kind artifact from the Old West.

Complete show information is available at http://www.DenverOldWest.com.

One hundred and thirty years ago a nameless, traveling photographer made what has become the most important and recognizable photograph of the American West. The single tintype image that survives is the only authenticated photo of Billy the Kid in existence today.

Over a century after his death, Billy the Kid is one of the most well known historical figures of the Old West. He has become a legend and has had books, films, and histories done about him. The tintype is almost as legendary as the Kid himself. The famous Upham family tintype surfaced in 1986 when the California family donated it for viewing to the Lincoln County (New Mexico) Trust. It was returned to the Upham family in 1998.

The tintype has descended through one family and has never been offered for sale before. That will change on June 25, when the original tintype and only authentic photo of Billy the Kid comes to Denver for auction by Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction. This famous, historical photo has been thoroughly documented and authenticated and is estimated to bring between $300,000 and $400,000 but many feel that the sale price may exceed $1,000,000.

Most of the reproductions of the Billy the Kid photo give a distorted impression of the size of the tintype. The tintype process is very interesting. Photography was in its infancy in 1860 and the process was very tedious. The large, heavy camera was primitive. It had no shutter and used a black cloth to uncover the lens. To prevent movement during the long exposures, a stand held the subject’s head in place, and part of the stand can be seen by Billy’s foot. The ‘film’ was a thick, light sensitive, silver solution that was poured over a 5-by-7-inch metal plate and allowed to set, but not dry completely. Reflected light entered the lens and darkened the silver in the solution to varying degrees, depending on the intensity of the light.

Once exposed, the metal plate was placed in a developing solution and then into a solution that ‘fixed’ the image on the metal. The silver that was not part of the image was then washed away and the plate was coated with varnish and allowed to dry. The image on a tintype is a ‘negative’ image, in that the image on the tintype is reversed, which is the source of the early myth that the Kid was left handed.

The camera that was used to take Billy the Kid’s picture outside of Beaver Smith’s Saloon had four lens tubes and recorded four images onto the 5-by-7-inch metal plate. They were cut apart making the finished image a piece of metal measuring 1.75-inches wide by 3.0-inches high.

What happened to the other three tintypes? There are lots of theories, but no one knows for certain. What is certain is that the one offered at auction in Denver at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction was given by Billy the Kid to his friend Dan Dedrick, who in turn gave it to his nephew Frank Upham in the early 1930s.

Is this really a photo of Billy the Kid? Absolutely – this image has been thoroughly investigated and documented. “We’ve all seen this image of Billy countless times, but when you hold the actual three-dimensional tintype in your hands, it’s a whole different experience,” said Brian Lebel, “This is it. The only one.”

For 19 years Brian Lebel’s annual show and auction was held in Cody, Wyo., and was well known and respected by collectors of Cowboy and Western Americana. Last year, for the 20th anniversary, Lebel decided to move the Old West Show and Auction to Denver, Colo., which was a larger and more centrally located population center. It is now held annually at the Denver Merchandise Mart. The featured item for the anniversary show and auction was the gun collection of Roy Rogers, the “King of the Cowboys.”

Besides the auction The Old West Show features an expo-style sale with over 150 national dealers in Western antiques, art and merchandise. The Old West Show runs June 24-26 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. General admission is only $5 and admission to the auction and the preview of the items, including the Billy the Kid tintype, is free and open to the public.

Fine Western art at this year’s auction includes an important Edward Borein watercolor, California Vaquero, and a rare, unpublished Will James watercolor as well as a number of first edition Will James books with original drawings and signatures. Fine saddles, spurs, bits, bridles and other cowboy items from noted names such as Bohlin, Visalia, Ortega, and Buermann will be offered.

There are many exceptional items from the American Old West being offered at the auction, but the Billy the Kid tintype is definitely the star of the show. Brian Lebel has seen and sold some of the best collectables there are and even he is impressed. “Being involved with the sale of the tintype of Billy the Kid has been a true honor. I am not exaggerating when I say that, the first time I held it, my knees shook. No matter how many years I am in this business, it is nice to know that I am still capable of being awestruck by an artifact.”

Not only is the auction an important event for Denver, but this may be the last time that the public has an opportunity to view the famous photo in its original state. The only time the tintype has been available for public viewing was for a limited time at the Lincoln County Museum in New Mexico. If it is purchased by an individual collector rather than a museum, it may never be available for public viewing again. Do not miss your opportunity to see this historical and one-of- a-kind artifact from the Old West.

Complete show information is available at http://www.DenverOldWest.com.

One hundred and thirty years ago a nameless, traveling photographer made what has become the most important and recognizable photograph of the American West. The single tintype image that survives is the only authenticated photo of Billy the Kid in existence today.

Over a century after his death, Billy the Kid is one of the most well known historical figures of the Old West. He has become a legend and has had books, films, and histories done about him. The tintype is almost as legendary as the Kid himself. The famous Upham family tintype surfaced in 1986 when the California family donated it for viewing to the Lincoln County (New Mexico) Trust. It was returned to the Upham family in 1998.

The tintype has descended through one family and has never been offered for sale before. That will change on June 25, when the original tintype and only authentic photo of Billy the Kid comes to Denver for auction by Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction. This famous, historical photo has been thoroughly documented and authenticated and is estimated to bring between $300,000 and $400,000 but many feel that the sale price may exceed $1,000,000.

Most of the reproductions of the Billy the Kid photo give a distorted impression of the size of the tintype. The tintype process is very interesting. Photography was in its infancy in 1860 and the process was very tedious. The large, heavy camera was primitive. It had no shutter and used a black cloth to uncover the lens. To prevent movement during the long exposures, a stand held the subject’s head in place, and part of the stand can be seen by Billy’s foot. The ‘film’ was a thick, light sensitive, silver solution that was poured over a 5-by-7-inch metal plate and allowed to set, but not dry completely. Reflected light entered the lens and darkened the silver in the solution to varying degrees, depending on the intensity of the light.

Once exposed, the metal plate was placed in a developing solution and then into a solution that ‘fixed’ the image on the metal. The silver that was not part of the image was then washed away and the plate was coated with varnish and allowed to dry. The image on a tintype is a ‘negative’ image, in that the image on the tintype is reversed, which is the source of the early myth that the Kid was left handed.

The camera that was used to take Billy the Kid’s picture outside of Beaver Smith’s Saloon had four lens tubes and recorded four images onto the 5-by-7-inch metal plate. They were cut apart making the finished image a piece of metal measuring 1.75-inches wide by 3.0-inches high.

What happened to the other three tintypes? There are lots of theories, but no one knows for certain. What is certain is that the one offered at auction in Denver at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show and Auction was given by Billy the Kid to his friend Dan Dedrick, who in turn gave it to his nephew Frank Upham in the early 1930s.

Is this really a photo of Billy the Kid? Absolutely – this image has been thoroughly investigated and documented. “We’ve all seen this image of Billy countless times, but when you hold the actual three-dimensional tintype in your hands, it’s a whole different experience,” said Brian Lebel, “This is it. The only one.”

For 19 years Brian Lebel’s annual show and auction was held in Cody, Wyo., and was well known and respected by collectors of Cowboy and Western Americana. Last year, for the 20th anniversary, Lebel decided to move the Old West Show and Auction to Denver, Colo., which was a larger and more centrally located population center. It is now held annually at the Denver Merchandise Mart. The featured item for the anniversary show and auction was the gun collection of Roy Rogers, the “King of the Cowboys.”

Besides the auction The Old West Show features an expo-style sale with over 150 national dealers in Western antiques, art and merchandise. The Old West Show runs June 24-26 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. General admission is only $5 and admission to the auction and the preview of the items, including the Billy the Kid tintype, is free and open to the public.

Fine Western art at this year’s auction includes an important Edward Borein watercolor, California Vaquero, and a rare, unpublished Will James watercolor as well as a number of first edition Will James books with original drawings and signatures. Fine saddles, spurs, bits, bridles and other cowboy items from noted names such as Bohlin, Visalia, Ortega, and Buermann will be offered.

There are many exceptional items from the American Old West being offered at the auction, but the Billy the Kid tintype is definitely the star of the show. Brian Lebel has seen and sold some of the best collectables there are and even he is impressed. “Being involved with the sale of the tintype of Billy the Kid has been a true honor. I am not exaggerating when I say that, the first time I held it, my knees shook. No matter how many years I am in this business, it is nice to know that I am still capable of being awestruck by an artifact.”

Not only is the auction an important event for Denver, but this may be the last time that the public has an opportunity to view the famous photo in its original state. The only time the tintype has been available for public viewing was for a limited time at the Lincoln County Museum in New Mexico. If it is purchased by an individual collector rather than a museum, it may never be available for public viewing again. Do not miss your opportunity to see this historical and one-of- a-kind artifact from the Old West.

Complete show information is available at http://www.DenverOldWest.com.