Life is full of surprises! For Justin Whiting, it was a life-changing surprise! Being an avid collector of historical objects usually found on eBay, his eye was drawn to a picture from the nineteenth century. He bid on it and bought the picture for $10 without knowing he had just hit the jackpot. Once he received his purchase, he took one look and recognized a face that seemed familiar to him. Whiting is passionate about the great bandits of History and knew exactly who it was. Just to his surprise, it was Jesse James, known today as being one of the most emblematic outlaws of the wild west and essential symbols of that period. Jesse Woodson James was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James Younger Gang. Living his life as a celebrity, he became a legend of the Wild West with his passing. He has become the subject of books, movies, comics, songs and so much more.
However, Whiting was pushed by friends to have the photo appraised and without hesitation he did. A few weeks later, the image is recognized as genuine and it is indeed Jesse James. Will Dunniway, who took charge of the expertise, said: "It was a pretty easy identification, because the picture was compared to a well-known image of young Jesse James at 14. The image of Justin showed Jesse James with an identical pose, taken the same day by the same photographer…...This is a unique original photo that was probably held by Jesse James himself, when he was a teenager."
The picture is shown below:
Image Credit: Justin Whiting
A story of incredible lucky
This unexpected event could turn Justin Whiting into a rich man. In the past, a photo of Billy the Kid was snatched at an auction for more than $5 million. Whiting’s treasure was estimated at around $2 million!
"I saw that the picture was for sale for $10. It was blurry on the site, but when, I received it, it seemed clearer to me, I thought, 'My God, this could be an original photo!' I have been passionate about American gangsters for years, I read a lot of books about them and I recognize their faces," says Whiting, who has already contacted the London auction house.
Meanwhile, the photo is secure in a friend's safe!
Image Credit: Facebook/Justin Whiting