In 1836, William Barrett Travis suggested, in writing, that the lumber being used to support the cannons at the Alamo would be paid for eventually, or returned in good shape to the man who supplied it. Travis and the lumber did not survive the siege of the Alamo, but the letter did. At an auction in late March, that promissory note could fetch $120,000 or more.
"This is one of the most significant documents to survive the Alamo,” said Director of Communications for Heritage Auctions Elon Werner.
The document and dozens of others, including books, photos and even a map taken from Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna when Sam Houston defeated him at the Battle of San Jacinto a month later, are all part of Heritage Auctions’ Texana Auction.
“When you see these documents and you see the history of the state, it really brings it alive,” said Werner. "I think you see interest in articles of Texas history from not just Texas but all over the world."
Phil Collins proved that to be true. Yes, that Phil Collins.
In 2014 the singer donated most of his collection to Texas General Land Office to become part of an Alamo artifact museum. His collection, including Bowie knives and one of Davy Crockett’s rifles, was estimated at $10 to $15 million.
These newest items, including Alamo-related artifacts and other pieces of Texas history, are up for bid for private collectors or institutions wanting a tangible piece of Texas history too.
"Because as the digital age takes over, there won't be significant letters like this,” added Werner. “It'll be a digital recording, it'll be an email, it'll be a tweet. So to see a letter like this is really what brings the whole history to life."
The Texana Auction, in which participants can attend in person or bid by internet or phone, takes place in Dallas on March 24.
Heritage Auctions is considered the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer.
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