You always read about the occasional story where someone buys an antique only to discover it is worth way more than originally thought or even the occasional purchase of a home with a hidden treasure in the attic.
Luck comes in all forms, and for one Ebay shopper looking for vintage photographs, Lady Fortune delivered a once in a lifetime gift.
The photo in question was a 19th century tintype of the famous western US outlaw Jesse James though no one knew it at the time. After purchasing it, the buyer discovered the photo was not only of Jesse James, but an extremely rare one at that – hence, the huge valuation.
Justin Whiting, a resident of Spalding in the United Kingdom, landed upon the photo in 2017 when he was browsing Ebay. He noticed the picture looked very similar to one he found in a book. Feeding his passion for everything about American western outlaws, Justin went on ahead and clicked the buy-it-now button, securing the photograph for $USD 10.
“I noticed the picture for sale — it was $10. It was a bit blurry on the site but when I got it, it was a lot clearer,” Whiting said, “I thought to myself: ‘Gee wizz, this could be a real photo!’ I’ve been obsessed with American outlaws for years and read lots of books and study their faces.”
California-based 19th-century photo expert Will Dunniway confirmed the photo’s authenticity, noting it was a picture of Jesse James at the age of 14.
Dunniway said to Fox News, “It was an easy match since it was compared to a longtime known image of the young Jesse James at 14…Justin’s image, however, was the same pose taken the same day by the same photographer […] [It’s a] one-of-a-kind original that most likely was handled by the teenaged Jesse James himself.”
Jesse James is an extremely famous outlaw known for robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches throughout the American West.