Magazine article American Libraries

Some Texana Auction Items Pulled at Last Minute

Magazine article American Libraries

Some Texana Auction Items Pulled at Last Minute

Article excerpt

Three documents were removed just minutes before a June 18 auction of Texas historical documents because they may have been stolen from the Texas State Library in Austin some 40 years ago.

Among the items, according to a June 18 report by NBC affiliate WOIA-TV, was a copy of Col. William Barret Travis's 1836 letter pledging "victory or death" at the Alamo that was expected to bring more than $250,000. A two-page, handwritten letter from James Bowie dated 1835, expected to net some $30,000, was withdrawn June 17. The letter was on the library's list of missing items and was the only one the library actively tried to claim from the auction.

"The Texas Independence Collection" of maps, letters, and government documents dating back to 1822 netted $2.1 million in the sale conducted by New York auction house Sotheby's.

"It's a superb group of primary documents," Selby Kiffer, senior vice president in Sotheby's books and manuscripts department, told the San Antonio Express-News June 17. …

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