Randy Guijarro always had a difficult time supporting his family over the years, but he finally found luck and stumbled upon something at an antique shop that could turn his life around. The antique photograph that he bought could retell the history we know today. It showed an incredible moment frozen in time, but is it really what this man thinks it could be?
Making A Choice
Was the photograph the face of the notorious icon-turned-outlaw? He might be wrong, but it meant an incredible discovery if he was right. He could make millions from this! The stakes were high, and he didn’t know what was about to unfold from this moment on. There was no way he could know this might take over five years of his life.
Randy Guijarro didn’t believe in luck. He knew you need to work hard if you want something worthwhile in life. This was something he learned from his parents. As the youngest child in a family of 6, he took pride in things he could to call his own. Since he was little, Randy picked up pennies on the street, scraps from the yard, and even shiny buttons. Let’s just say he’s something of a human magpie. Apparently, his mother even nicknamed him “the hoarder” at age of 7.
His mother was under the impression that his obsession with junk would disappear as Randy got older. Unfortunately, his fascination only grew with time! She got worried and was right to feel that way. His house started to become a labyrinth of books, clocks, coins, comics, jewelry, paintings, stamps, statues, toys, and trading cards. They thought these things were nothing more than junk.
Randy found a way to make a living by selling the things he scavenged. All of the things he owned came with a story. However, things changed when he met Linda. The two moved in together, and he promised her he would cut back on his hobby. Old habits die hard, however. He didn’t think one decision would have such a huge impact on his life.
One fateful day in 2010, he found himself in the Fresno Tower District after grabbing coffee with a friend. As he made his way down the street, he passed the Fulton’s Folly Antique Collective. He told Linda he would no longer bring new things home before he could sell the things inside their “spare bedroom”. However, he promised himself he would only have a look for ten minutes. He went in.
Randy went through the aisles of treasures. It was just like the magic bag in Mary Poppin’s – china, cabinets, armchairs, pianos, jewels, sculptures, china, pottery, paintings, crystal, radios, dolls, figures, baskets, prams, board games. He was impressed because he had never seen anything quite like this. It turns out that he was in the right place at the right time.
He took a closer look at some items, but he put them back on the shelf after he remembered his promise to Linda. He walked around the treasure trove and tried to keep his composure. However, that was the moment he saw something out the back door that made his eyes go wide.
There were two men shaking hands outside. Did they just close a deal? Randy made his way towards them when he noticed that the cardboard boxes around the men. From the way they looked, this was not a blind buy. Randy was aware there must be a hidden gem there. He could not help but feel thrilled!
The store must have been overstocked. The owner likely needed to find a way to get rid of the items quickly. The buyers did not have a lot of time to look around before bidding. Randy could not just let them walk away. He was a friendly guy. While they placed the highest bid, he felt brave at the time.
“Would you mind if I had a quick look?” he asked. Much to his surprise, the men heard of him from the online antique community. They allowed him to go through the boxes before they put it into the truck. Nothing there stood out to him, but he searched harder. He was hoping that he would find something that no one else had noticed yet. Who would have thought that his hunch was right?
He did not know what he was looking for, but he knew that he would be able to tell when he finally saw it. He then found a small cardboard box. His hands were shaking as he took off the lid. He did not know that such an ordinary box was actually hiding such an important discovery in American history.
Even though Linda asked him to cut back on his hobby, she was a big fan of good photographs as well. The box came with three old photographs, all in black and white. One man there looked somewhat familiar, but he could not put a finger on it right away. He did not dwell on it but knew he needed it.
He took out his wallet as the men put the last few boxes into the truck. He was horrified to find only $2 in there! It was a good thing the men did not think much of the photographs and accepted this small amount before wishing him a nice day. Randy and Linda were now set to go on the journey of a lifetime.
Linda could not believe it when her husband showed him the three photos. “How much did this cost you?” she asked him. When he explained what went down in the store, she could only stare at him. “You do realize who this is?” she said. If she was correct, the photograph might be worth millions of dollars. That was the moment Randy realized it. The unmistakable face only stared back at him.
Randy and Linda set a meeting with the local historian to confirm their hunch. The historian told them that the photos came from the 19th century. Randy did not feel surprised because he guessed as much. Linda was the one to voice out what they had been thinking. She pointed to one of the men in the group, the guy in the middle with the croquet in his hand. She whispered, “Billy the Kid”.
Billy the Kids happens to be one of the most famous figures of the Wild West. He had been one of the most wanted men in Arizona after his involvement in a couple of homicides. This outlaw managed to outrun the sheriffs and escape multiple prisons over the course of four years until he was shot dead at 21 years old. He was big among cowboy fans. There was only one photo of him found… until now.
Randy did not forget to do his homework. He found out that the original photograph of Billy, the Upham tintype, was bought by a collector called Bill Koch during a 2011 auction. He paid $2.3 million for it! Whoa. However, Linda and Randy did not know who the photographer was and the circumstances surrounding the photo. They could not prove it was genuine, but they felt determined.
Some collectors did not believe that the photograph was the real deal. Linda felt disheartened to hear this. She was already planning to redo the house, but it now seemed impossible. She knew it was him as soon as she looked at the photos. Aside from that, the rest of the faces seemed familiar to her as well. The two of them were convinced that this was a photograph of Billy and The Regulators in the middle of a croquet game. Did they have it wrong?
Linda and Randy needed to do some more historical research before they could release the findings to the general public. It took them a year to hear various opinions from experts, but some of them were skeptical about it. Their worst fears became their reality when they brought the photo to Witherell’s Old West Show in Grass Valley, Northern California. What did they learn over there?
As they searched for Brian Libel, the same man who brokered the deal on the original and only verified photo of Billy the Kid, a different expert went in and told the couple that the photo must be fake. After all, they did not have proof to back up the authenticity of the photographs. Linda and Randy were heartbroken, but they still felt convinced that this was a great piece of history.
The photograph they had caught the attention of a local film and television producer called Jeff Aiello. He was fascinated. What if the photo happened to be a genuine documentation and passed under the radar of the experts? He knew that there had been two experts in the field who took a look at it, but they did not give it a lot of attention before writing it off as a fraud. Could they have been wrong?
“I told Randy to let me have the picture. My wife, Jill, is a fantastic researcher,” Jeff Aiello recalled. “We did photo overlays and all kinds of fancy computer stuff and dove into the history. After a month, we were both confident that was a photo of Billy and four of the ‘Regulators.’” It was time to prove it now.
National Geographic then took on this million-dollar project and put Aiello in charge. The funds let him do further research in order to prove that the photo was the real thing. The budget also let him hire Kevin Costner as the narrator of this 2-hour special! Of course, Aiello made sure to put the spotlight on the process Randy went through in order to verify the authenticity of the historic material.
In the National Geographic documentary called “Billy The Kid: New Evidence”, they used facial recognition on the photograph to compare it with existing images of Billy the Kid and the rest of The Regulators. The results showed a 70% match! The maker of the croquet set in use had also been traced. The experts were able to determine the heights of those in the photograph in this manner.
Randy and Linda took it upon themselves to pay a visit to landmarks associated with the bandit. They identified Sallie Chisum from the photographs after the figure received an 80% match on the facial recognition software. They finally saw the breakthrough they needed. It was written in her diary!
Randy and Linda traveled 10,000 miles spread across four states in their quest to prove that the photos were genuine. They were running out of money, so they hoped they would find what they were looking for in New Mexico. The clues pointed to the Tunstall ranch. There was proof in Sally Chisum’s diary that she, Billy the Kid, and The Regulators got together there. Was this going to be the end of their quest?
Randy could only stare at the familiar landscape in front of him. All his dreams and hopes laid on this plot of land now. His instinct told him that Billy the Kid had been there at some point. He was now vindicated. Randy could see ghostly figures standing by the rolling hills. Using Geographic mapping features, they managed to determine the exact spot where they shot the photo. Linda and Randy felt like they won the battle at last and went back to California. However, they were actually wrong.
Linda and Randy dropped by Don Kagan, the seller and authenticator at Kagan’s Inc. However, the man remained doubtful even after he saw the evidence they had. The biggest reason he felt suspicious was that the gang had been playing croquet. Randy tried to explain that the croquet set was owned by the Englishman Henry Tunstall. The puzzle pieces seemed to fit, but why did no one else see this?
“This is a journey I never expected to take. But the truth doesn’t always matter. And I can’t figure out why,” said Randy in a defeated tone. They nearly emptied their life savings and five years in pursuit of Billy the Kid, but he had yet to make himself known. They were about to give up hope when Randy received a call he did not expect. Apparently, Kagan’s Inc made a discovery that floored them both.
Don Kagan’s partner went all the way to Tunstall’s Ranch and went to the exact location the photo was shot. He noticed there existed signs of a structure lying underneath the new building. This was the same spot where the house in the photo had been standing. He then recreated the house using advanced software. They did not need any more convincing. They offered them a base price of $5 million for this photo. Linda could not believe that this was finally happening! At long last, all their efforts have paid off.
Various shows like The Antique Roadshow and American Pickers have managed to convert junk into plenty of ash. The viewers of the show range from the young to the old because it is just that fascinating. Everyone likes to see a good bargain, right? There is also something appealing about finding a fortune in the vase lying in your house. The internet could not get enough of this story!
The discovery became viral even before they caught the interest of National Geographic. The whole world now keeps an eye out for hidden gems that might be worth thousands of dollars. However, let us not forget that it took Randy a lot of years to get to that level. Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to buy photos for $2 and receive $5 million in return. However, there was still one more question here.
“I hope this prompts others out there to look into trucks and attics,” he said, “because there are so many lost treasures out there!” If Randy learned anything from the whole fiasco, it is to listen to what his gut his telling him. More importantly, he found out the importance of listening to his wife! The story does not end here. One more photograph of Billy The Kid has surfaced ever since the documentary by the National Geographic aired. This is not the first time people found something valuable unexpectedly…
As he looked at he had just won, his eyes were drawn to a brown leather wallet. He did not think much of it in the beginning, but things changed when he went through its contents. He could not believe his eyes. The face looking back at him was very familiar… Were his eyes deceiving him?
With sweaty palms, Anton Lulgjuraj waited as the bids kept going higher. He had only become comfortable bidding on storage lockers. The thrill of such a gamble made his adrenaline go wild. There was something exciting about the act of taking a risk on an abandoned container when he did not have a single clue about its content. Anton had not always been a treasure hunter, however.
Anton had been living in New York when his dreams became a reality after he inherited the factory from his father. It was a candy factory! After running it for a number of years, the Elk Candy Company had to shut down in 2006. This is the reason Anton found himself pursuing his hobby of bidding on containers.
How exactly does a storage unit sale go? Apparently, if the owner of the unit fails to make the payment on the storage container for a specific amount of time, the debt gets written off and the entire container is then given to the highest bidder. The potential buyers get a couple of minutes to peek inside the unit before the bidding commences. This is the reason many of them have no idea what they will find inside. Anton felt lucky on that fateful day.
He knew the risk. He might lose some money on the particular unit, but he did not feel like giving it up. Apparently, he saw something that he wanted a lot inside. It had been resting against the back of the container. It seemed rusted and old, but he had gotten lucky in the past. As the bids continued to climb, he could not help but wonder if this was the day he would run out of luck.
The storage container was formerly owned by someone called David Parent. He used to fly for the U.S. Air Force. Anton could feel that something interesting was waiting for him inside, and he turned out to be right. He saw the old motorcycle earlier and knew he needed to bring it home. He kept increasing his bid until everyone else simply gave up. He could not contain his emotions after he was declared the winner.
Anton was eager to take a closer look at his winnings, so he went inside and started to go through the things there. He felt like a child in a candy store once again. He opened the boxes he found inside. When he spotted the yellow documents, he could not help but feel disheartened. Could he have been wrong to spend so much of his savings on the container? Did he lose his touch?
He found an old brown wallet inside one of the dusty boxes inside the unit. There was nothing unusual or spectacular about it, but things changed when he opened up the billfold. He found some faded and old photographs there. He could tell they were dated, but when were the photos taken? There was also the matter of the owner. He soon found out who used to own this with the next item he saw…
He found an old license in the wallet. Issued in 1969, he found the name of the person who owned it: Diane Hall. Even though he did not know anyone by that name, Anton could not help but feel like he knew who the woman in the photo was. He went through the other photos that he found. That was the moment it started to dawn on him that he stumbled into something incredible, after all.
He still could not put a finger to the face, but he knew he had seen it somewhere before. At long last, he figured it out. He had seen this one movie numerous times because it was a favorite of his. This face was also in The Godfather, but was he correct? Anton dug around some more, but the next thing he found confirmed the suspicions he had all along.
He found an Actor’s Equity Association membership card inside. At long last, he found the name lying on the tip of his tongue there. He could not believe what he has just stumbled into. This wallet was more than 50 years old, but it also happened to belong to one of the greatest stars of the 20th century.
On the membership card, he found the name ‘Diane Keaton’! It dated 1968. Anton could not believe that he found something like this in an abandoned storage unit. Was it lying there for more than 50 years? What great luck. He stumbled on a very rare time capsule that came with a treasure inside of it. Just who is Diane Keaton, anyway?
Diane Keaton is an Academy Award-winning performer. She was born under the name Diane Hall in 1946. However, she learned that this name was already registered when she joined the Actors’ Equity Association. This is the reason she changed her last name to Keaton. The rest is history. However, let us find out what Anton wanted to do with such an incredible find.
“I was so curious. It was like a time capsule,” Anton later explained in an interview. He then went on to talk about the other photos he found of the actress. There was one that caught his attention right away. It was a photo of a couple holding hands on the beach. This let Anton take a glimpse into the life of this famous actress: “It’s such a nice shot, really classic. You look at it and get a good feeling”. Apparently, this was not the first time he found the belongings of a celebrity in an old storage locker either.
In 2016, he also bought an old storage unit that previously belonged to Keith Diamond. Inside, he saw that there was an original recording by Donna Summer. Aside from that, he also found photos of Keith Diamond himself with Don Johnson and Barbra Streisand. However, he did not expect what was about to happen when he took to Twitter to report his discovery of the old wallet.
“I opened it up and thought, ‘Is this Diane Keaton, the actress? It couldn’t be. Or maybe it could,’” he later said in reference to the wallet. However, he had something bigger in mind than simply turning a profit from the wallet. Without a doubt, a collector would be willing to pay him a high price for it. Mind you, Anton is a noble person. What did he want to do with it?
“Hi, I bought a storage unit at auction, and in there I found a wallet and your driver’s license and photos from the 1960s [and] 1970s. If you have any interest in this, you can have it back,” he told Keaton in a tweet. It was not surprising to find that the actress did not respond. The New York Daily News tried to get in touch with her, but they did not get lucky either.
“Maybe she remembers that lost wallet and has always wondered. I’m hoping she didn’t lose faith,” he said. He hoped to get the opportunity to return the wallet with the rightful owner even though it has been half a century since then. There were slim chances she would reply to him, but his hard work paid off at long last after some time.
“If she wants it, I’m happy to send it. I figured [she] would want it. These are her memories,” Anton said. Only two days after he was interviewed by The New York Daily News, the actress responded to him on Twitter! “I don’t remember losing this, but I’m not surprised, because I’ve lost my wallet many times,” said Diane Keaton. You can just imagine how excited Anton was to hear from her about it! He mailed her the wallet right away. He even quipped, “Hopefully the mail won’t lose it for another 50 years.”
“I’m just really happy that she’s going to get [her wallet] back,” he explained. “I’m actually happy to send it away. It sounds like she really does appreciate it,” Anton went on. “To see something you haven’t seen in that long – the nostalgia gives you such a good feeling. These were happy times in the photographs.” Shortly after this, she posted an old photograph she retrieved from the wallet with this Instagram caption: “This photo was in [the wallet], I’m on the far right. Can you believe those bangs?”
The demolition of the building was in full swing. The walls and floorboards were getting torn down until they got to the far wall lined with wooden cabinets. They broke through these pieces one by one but found something out of place there. It was a small object made with black fabric hiding in there. They lifted one more board and another until they could finally reach in and pull it out of there. They discovered an old purse, but its contents floored everyone.
Workers were demolishing Jeffersonville High School in Indiana when they found this amazing discovery. The building had stood there for decades, but it was now time for it to give way for a new elementary school. The workers went about their usual schedule, although they did not think they would find this.
They actually found a time capsule lying in the rotting wood and rubble of the old building. In contract, the clutch purse was in great condition. There was nothing extraordinary about it from the outside, but what made it so special was the things they found inside it.
The workers found it while they were in the middle of demolishing what used to be a science classroom. Hundreds of people learned about love, life, and chemistry here. The owner of this purse happened to be one of them. Just who owned this clutch purse? What they found inside did not disappoint.
Mike Hobbs and Kevin Moran later recalled how it happened. “We didn’t know if somebody had stolen it and gotten rid of it; there’s no telling what the back story is,” he said. “We couldn’t figure out how it even got back there, unless it slipped in behind the lockers or something. You could tell it had been there a long time, that’s for sure.”
What They Found
They found an old pin that was kept in the cotton-lined box. They also found a well-loved lipstick in a coral shade inside. The previous owner was a young lady, they could tell that much. However, we have yet to talk about the most incredible thing they saw.
There was an old bus schedule for Charlestown as well as a first-place ribbon for mile relay. However, the thing that caught their attention was the date on the ribbon. At that moment, they figured out that this was actually an opportunity to take a look at the life of a high school girl from a different decade.
The year 1954 was written on the ribbon! The workers were stunned to realize they had a 60-year-old purse in their hands. It was also surprising to find that the contents were all intact and preserved. As they pulled out item after item, their astonishment only kept getting bigger and bigger.
They found some old photographs in there. Aside from that, it also came with a basketball schedule for the 1953-1954 school year, newspaper clippings, candy wrappers, and a wallet. Inside, they found an ID and Social Security card. They finally saw the name of the mystery owner: Martha Ina Ingham.
There was a heartfelt letter in there. It read, ‘Dear Marty, I’ve heard that Paul has asked you to go to the prom with him — if he hasn’t I would like very much to take you. P.S. If you have already consented to go with Paul, please forget that I have asked. If he has asked, but you haven’t consented yet, please consider my invitation. Love, “Torchy”‘. However, there happened to be another letter inside!
This second letter came from a boy called “Carter”. It read, “Bobbie and I aren’t going back together. I’m just continuing to walk her to classes…I am just going to date everybody and be friends with everybody.” He ended the note with, “I think Paul is an alright guy. But you’ll never catch him, he runs too fast. Ha! Ha!”
Erin Bojorquez is the spokesperson for the Greater Clark County Schools. She was alerted about this incredible find and the contents of the bag. She then took to social media in a quest to find the owner of the purse. Facebook was thrilled by the news, although the netizens were concerned about something in particular.
Everyone was eager to find out who Martha ended up going to the prom with! Of course, the more pertinent question was whether she got married to any of the suitors. Facebook users shared the post in hopes of finding out. It has been 65 years since the letters were written. Who did Martha go to the prom with? Were they going to learn the answers to these questions?
Everything was set up for such a great mystery. Inside, they found a photo of Martha and an unidentified man during the prom. Who could it be? Was it Carter, Paul, or “Torchy”? Everyone was eager to find out the answers to these questions. Considering the date they found on the documents, Martha must be in her ‘80s now. Something amazing happened one fateful day.
“Jeffersonville is a small city in Indiana, so I posted the photograph on our social media sites thinking she would still reside locally or have family still in the area. I’m thankful for the power of social media and for everyone that shared our post as it led me to connect with Marty’s son,” explained Erin Bojorquez when she was interviewed.
What was even more surprising was the fact that Martha was alive and well! She was living a thousand miles away in Florida. “I’m thrilled that I was able to locate Marty. I hope this little piece of history brings back fond memories of her years at Jeffersonville High School. The purse was mailed to her yesterday,” explained Erin.
“We hope to answer the community’s question, and now the nation’s question, soon about who took Marty to prom,” she said wryly. At last, Martha could tell everyone the answers to the questions they had. She went through the old purse all teary-eyed. However, she was smiling widely the whole time.
Marty Ingham now goes by the name Marty Everett. “It brings back a lot of memories and a lot of people I haven’t heard of in a long time,” she told Inside Edition. “What a good time we had in high school…really interesting to me…things about my life that I’d forgotten about.”
When she read the letters they wrote her, she was stunned to see they remain intact. “If you think about it, these boys wrote letters and you would never see that today. They would text you, you know, so that’s such a big difference,” Marty said. At last, she told everyone who she went to prom with!
Martha explained that she ended up going to her senior prom with Carter! Yes, it was the same boy who said that he wanted to ‘date everyone’. Everyone was happy to finally solve the mystery of the purse. How incredible is this? Isn’t it amazing to find a well-preserved time capsule hiding behind a cabinet all this time?