Man Buys Photo Of Jesse James Worth Millions For Just £7
A collector who bought a picture of the outlaw Jesse James for £7 has hit the jackpot after experts confirmed it could sell on for millions of pounds.
Justin Whiting, from Spalding, Lincolnshire, purchased the picture online in July 2017 and ran it by several experts before it was confirmed as a genuine photo.
He was amazed to find out that his eBay lottery ticket had turned out to be a winner - the picture could be worth a fortune.
He said: "Anything is possible on eBay so I kept buying the odd photograph for a few quid, like other people would buy a lottery ticket.
"I noticed the picture for sale - it was $10 (£7). It was a bit blurry on the site but when I got it, it was a lot clearer."
He continued: "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.
"The picture was identical to the one in my book, except it was full length. All my friends said it was the same but I knew I needed to contact experts.
"I didn't dare to believe they would say it was genuine and worth at least two million."
Once he'd won the online auction he contacted 19th century photo expert Will Dunniway in California to ask him what he thought.
Will confirmed that the photo was in fact of the infamous bank robber when he was 14 years old.
He said: "The age of this image was about 1861-2 and is correct in every way to this period.
"When it is compared to the much-used comparison image, I believe it was taken on the same day by the same photographer.
"It is very evident by the face, hair cut, jacket, shirt and tie that this is the same image of Jesse James at 14 years old. One of the originals."
Still a little bit confused as to whether he had really hit the jackpot - I mean, you would be - he asked LA-based forensic expert Kent Gibson, who has worked previously with the FBI, so knows what he's on about.
Once his report came back Justin could start celebrating.
Gibson said: "All power to Justin. An authentic photograph of outlaw Billy the Kid sold for $5 million (£3.5m) in 2015 so the sky's the limit.
"Jesse James is a very famous outlaw so this is obviously a valuable image."
So, what's next for Justin?
He's flogging it of course. He's been out of work with back problems for a while, so this unexpected money is greatly appreciated.
"I'm definitely selling it. I'll be able to buy my own house and my own car. I can't wait. Good things do happen sometimes," he said.
"I'm being super careful. That photograph is the most valuable thing I've ever had in my possession. It's staying in my friend's safe for now."
Spare a thought for the poor bastard who sold a photograph worth millions of pounds for less than a tenner though. Hopefully they never read about this.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS