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'The beauty of Siberia took me by surprise'
Ian Frazier, 2013

‘Rare photo of wild west outlaw Billy the Kid worth $5 million’ turns up in Siberia

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 July 2018

Collector Alexei Ivanov claims to unearth tintype image in ‘large archival material from the USA’.

The picture has on it a second person, but for now Ivanov declines to reveal this other face. Picture: Alexei Ivanov

The collector from Yakutsk - who recently unearthed ‘the first picture of Rasputin - is claiming another coup. 

If proven, the find could be worth a considerable sum.

The only confirmed picture of Billy the Kid - an iconic ferrotype photograph dating to 1879 to 1880 - was bought at auction for $2.3 million in 2011. 

Many other images have been disputed, according to reports.  

Billy the Kid - born Henry McCarty in 1859 and later known as William H Bonney - was an orphan who became an outlaw and gunfighter.

Billy the Kid - new picture

He is convinced it is the really Billy and wants to sell them image to enable him to conduct other exciting searches. Picture: Alexei Ivanov

He was reputed to have killed eight men before he was shot dead at the age of 21.

Ivanov, an accomplished collector based in Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city, claims to have found a scoop after an 18 month hunt, yet he so far says little on how he found the treasure.

He says the image shows Billy  the Kid at a ‘young age’ but the date is not clear.

The picture has on it a second person, but for now Ivanov declines to reveal this other face. 

‘Billy stands, with one hand clasped to the shoulder of the second person, who is sitting on a chair, leaning his elbow on the table,’ he said. 

‘There is also one interesting detail, Billy hides his little finger from the photographer.’

Billy the Kid as a child

He has compared it to an image held by the University of Arizona Libraries. 

Ivanov said: 'Unfortunately, I can show only one part of the photo - an image of Billy Kid's face. 

‘But, there is also another person on the photo. 

‘I think that I have no right to demonstrate and show full photo at the moment.’

He is convinced it is the really Billy and wants to sell them image to enable him to conduct other exciting searches. 

‘I give this opportunity to the new owner of the photo,’ he said. 

‘I am going to sell this photo, what would allow me to realise my ideas and projects in the near future.’

He explained: ‘On the issue of sales I am ready to consider all options. My Facebook profile @lexvanov.’

He says his picture is the only one ‘where you can see all the features of his real and living face’.

He has compared it to an image held by the University of Arizona Libraries.

Wanted poster

Original wanted poster for Billy the Kid. 

'Billy has the characteristic features and lineament, it is impossible to confuse him with someone. He was not like anyone', he said.

Ivanov said: ’The cost of this tintype in case of sale can cost more than 5 million dollars.’

On his hunt for the image, he said: ‘I was always fascinated by the topic of history and rare materials, regardless of their type and binding to any country. 

‘One day I decided to challenge myself and start studying all the material about the period of the Wild West and the history of Billy the Kid. 

‘I do not know why this topic attracted me so much, but I set myself a goal - to find a picture of Billy the Kid.

‘And as you can see, I achieved the goal.’

Billy the Kid as a child

Upper tintype shows what historians believe is a photo of Billy the Kid, second from left, and Pat Garrett, far right, taken in 1880 via Frank Abrams.

He claimed the picture was found among ‘large archival material from the USA, bought through the Internet’. 

‘The search process was fascinating, because I retracted into the atmosphere of those times, people and the way of their life. 

‘The process of searching and analysing photos was made with emotional filtration, and of course, it was reflected on my condition. 

‘For example, there were few moments of complete apathy and fatigue during the search period. 

‘But there are also personal secrets that I am not yet ready to talk about. 

‘Now, I am ready and would like to take on a bigger jackpot, as well as for large-scale projects. 

‘Find large treasures or take part in excavations.’

Alexei Ivanov, an accomplished collector based in Yakutsk

Alexei Ivanov

Comments (22)

That's not Billy the Kid. Upper lip matches not one photo of Billy. Also Billy's hair is very fine. The guy in this pic his hair is very thick. In all other aspects there is a strong resemblance. However just because you look like a person doesn't make you them.
Tim, West Virginia, USA
01/02/2020 10:20
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recently literally stumbled across family album of Billy the Kid. Research of my own tells me Pat Garrett aided in his supposed death and that he actually settled on a farm just a few minutes from where I am now. Have included one picture for you to see. Have many other pictures taken through out his life. He was in his 70's when he died and is buried close by also. Also feel I can supply enough 'provenance' to authenticate these photos.
eric weimaster, United States
19/01/2020 10:26
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Sr Ivanov, I’m interested to let you know that I have some interesting pictures from, billy the kid’s family, pat garret, Wyatt,morga Earp, big nose, doc holiday, I’m hoping that with your experience help me indetify them, Eduardogil111@yahoo.co!
Ed gil, California USA
17/01/2020 07:15
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Pudriera contactarme con Alexi Ivanov y con su experiencia pudriera ayudarme a identificar unas fotos de billy the kid, doc holiday, big nose, pat garrett,Wyatt Earp,morgan earp and Billy’s family. Eduardogil111@yahoo. Com
Ed gil , Los Angeles ca
16/01/2020 22:12
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Si creo en munchas photos de billy the kid y tengo una x si están interesados?
Ed gil, Los Ángeles ca
16/01/2020 20:46
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I have a real billy the kid picture, on his 8 year old if you interested I can send you a picture
Ed, Los ángeles ca
16/01/2020 10:33
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lots of experts on this forum, and each one disputing the other. i get the sense that no one knows what they are talking about.
mark a clark, louisville ky usa
03/12/2019 11:12
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I knew Billy back when he was Billy the Baby. Killed a couple wet nurses before he turned 1. You probably never hear about that part of his story, but now you know. All I can say is, he was a bad mamma-jamma. If the back of your hairs don’t stand on end when you look at any photo of him, it’s not him.
Scott M, Wylie,/USA
10/09/2019 22:23
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https://www.denverpost.com/2011/06/25/only-surviving-photo-of-billy-the-kid-auctioned-saturday/
This photo of the Kid is undisputed. The only photo with an undisputed provenance. The photo of the Kid playing crochet is a possible,but no certified provenance thus far. There are fakes. When you have a mass of photos or tintypes from the Old West there are bound to be some that look similar to an infamous outlaw like Jesse James or famous Wild Bill Hicock,etc.
Dr.Howard, USA. CA
18/08/2019 12:37
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Matey decided to set out and find a photo of Billy the kid... and found it almost immediately yea??? sounds ligit..
james, brend
28/05/2019 22:48
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Billy was not dead when the photo was taken! ha If you want to see all the real Billy photographs and understand what happened you can read the book Billy the Kid Identity Revealed. Or, you guys can keep looking at thousands of photos that are not him! The one known photo was a really bad picture of him. The people we KNOW FOR SURE knew Billy said that he took a bad photo and its kind of hard to tell it's him. The original photo is in very bad condition and will be blacked out before long. Your not going to find a photo you can test and identify as the same person. It's not going to happen.
thorner, austin
27/04/2019 07:47
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Holy Cow!!..I've been doing lots of historical research on the whole Outlaw life and you can tell its Billy Bonney by the jaw line. If the photo above is a Victorian Death photo then its priceless. Good luck to the person who bought it.
Sonja Pappas, United States
06/03/2019 06:44
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Does not sound like Alexei has done much research. The $2.3M 2011 photo (Dedrick tintype) is the ONLY authenticated Billy the Kid photo and it was not taken after death. There is no "after death" photo of him. This photo and its history is common knowledge in the Billy the Kid history community. It is something that would have taken Alexei a simple internet search to learn about. The fact that he gets this wrong and claims it to be a 'death' photo makes me doubt he has done any research at all. His face on that photo is distorted because that type of photography required one to stand still for a specific amount of time. It was not instant like today's photography. Any movement would result in distortion.
Mark, there is no University of Arizona Library photo that is authenticated. It is not even believed to be him. The reason your result did not match iwas because you were comparing 3 completed different people.
William F, United States
15/02/2019 23:33
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How do you know it’s Billy the kid when you never knew him?
Socorro County Rancher, Socorro
28/01/2019 17:49
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I actually just found an unauthenticated photo of Billy the Kid on my iPhone 6. Going back aways for sure
Todd Hartman, Palm Beach County, FL
05/09/2018 09:50
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2
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