This tintype photo of Billy the Kid, created around 1880, was just sold for $2.3 million in June 2011. Was it because the picture was taken by a famous photographer? Maybe the famous Civil War photographer Mathew Brady? No, this tintype photo sold for $2.3 million because of the cult of personality of one of the most famous Wild West outlaws of all time. Plus, this tintype is the only surviving photograph of Billy the Kid. The combination of the rarity and the cult of personality compound each other to create a photo of exceptional worth.
Two questions occur to me. What is a tintype photo? And why is Billy the Kid so famous?