Henry McCarty or Billy The Kid was one of the most notorious criminals of the American Wild West. This outlaw gunfighter had taken at least eight lives in his lifetime before his death at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Billy, the kid, did not have a great childhood. He became an orphan when he was 15 and got arrested for stealing food when he was 16. To survive, Billy robbed a Chinese laundromat ten days after his first arrest, but he got arrested again following this robbery. Determined not to rot in jail, he escaped once again. This time though, he changed territories and went from New Mexico to Arizona.
This escapade made him a federal fugitive and an outlaw. A slave to his habits, he once again gave in to his criminal tendencies during a fight with a blacksmith. The altercation ended up with the blacksmith dead and Billy becoming a wanted man in Arizona. He once again had to flee. This time he came back to New Mexico, where he joined the Regulators, a well-known gang.
After this, the gang took part in the Lincoln County War, which ended with three men dying at the hands of Billy and two other gang members. In January of 1881, Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Billy, and in April of the same year, Billy received a death sentence for his crimes.
He escaped again in April, before his impending doom in the May of 1881. He killed two Sheriff’s deputies during this escape and successfully evaded law enforcement for two months. On July 14th, 1881, Pat Garrett finally caught up to Billy and shot him dead.
The vile villain had finally received the punishment for his crimes.
So, with such a story behind it, it is no wonder that many collectors are itching to get their hands on the gun which killed Billy. Bonhams auctioneers, the ones behind this auction, described the gun as one of the most iconic treasures of early Western history.
That description makes sense because Billy the Kid has been a mainstay in pop culture for more than a century. Numerous movies and shows have featured Billy or a character modeled after him. Therefore, when combined with Billy’s impactful backstory, this fame made this gun sell for more than its estimated price of $2-$3 million.
The Final Bid.
In the end, an anonymous buyer purchased the gun over the phone for a cool $6 million. Even Bonhams admitted that this amount was a record for any firearm in the world.
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