Travis letter
A document signed by William B Travis recording preparations for the Battle of the Alamo took $137,500 including buyers’ premium at Heritage Auctions’ Texana auction in March and was the top lot of the sale.

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On February 21, 1836, Texan leader William B Travis wrote: “There is now in use at the Alamo Six hundred & Eighty two feet of Walnut Scantling as platforms for the cannon.” The black walnut wood he secured was used to help build a garrison just days before 1500 Mexicans led by Santa Anna launched the attack on the Alamo, which was defended by just 260 Texans. The battle is considered the pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution.

Now that document, which records preparations for the historic battle, has taken $137,500 including buyer’s premium leading Heritage Auctions’ Texana auction.

Three days after the document in questions was completed Travis would send a desperate letter for help, calling on Texas and America to send reinforcements. The letter is signed famously “victory or death”. After the crushing defeat by the Mexican Army, recruits poured in and Texas won its decisive victory at the Battle of San Jacinto the next month.

Other sales

The Texana sale, which took place on March 24, included a number of books, documents and photographs illustrating the history of the state.

Other top lots included two maps. AR Roessler’s Latest Map of the State of Texas, which was published in 1874, was hammered down for $35,000 after competition from five bidders. It is considered the best record of agricultural and mineral wealth in the state at that time. An 1851 Map of Texas by KW Pressler and V Völker had been removed from its original boards for restoration but nevertheless took $6250 including buyer’s premium.

Mary Austin Holley’s record of her journey to the colony in 1831 also fared well. An 1836 first edition of the volume, which is titled Texas, took $8437 including buyer’s premium.