Photo: Kurt Vinion/Getty Images
One of my dreams is to hit the lottery and never have to work again. But I guess that’s a pretty generic dream. A much more original dream is to buy something for cheap at a thrift shop and have it actually be worth millions. And that’s something that recently happened to a man named Justin Whiting. But that “thrift shop” was eBay.
The 45-year-old bought a ten dollar photo on eBay of infamous outlaw Jesse James. And well wouldn’t you know it but it turned out to be a genuine photo worth a hell of a lot more than ten bucks. Try, $2,809,000.
Here’s how Whiting describes it:
“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. It was a bit blurry on the site but when I got it, it was a lot clearer.
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.”
Collector who bought Jesse James picture for just £7 on eBay told it could be worth £2 million https://t.co/Dlb3eDY3UI
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 19, 2018
Whiting tracked down Will Dunniway, a 19th century photography to check the authenticity. Mr Dunniway confirmed the photograph was a genuine portrait of bank robber Jesse taken when the baby-faced outlaw was just 14. His report said: “The age of this image was about 1861-2 and is correct in every way to this period.”
Whiting then sent the 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches Victorian tintype photograph to Los Angeles forensic expert Kent Gibson who has verified evidence for the FBI. Mr Gibson confirmed the image was authentic and said: “All power to Justin. An authentic photograph of outlaw Billy the Kid sold for $5million in 2015 so the sky’s the limit. Jesse James is a very famous outlaw so this is obviously a valuable image.”
And this cash came at the right moment for Whiting as he’s been out of work since 2003 due to back problems, so now he can take off even more time while you and I rot at your work desk. No word yet at how many days in a row the person who sold this on eBay has been crying.