On Thursday, Phil Collins – the multi-million selling British singer, former Genesis drummer, and Texas history buff – returned to the Alamo with an offer: his entire collection of Alamo artifacts, valued in the millions of dollars.
In exchange? Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who oversees the management of the historic site, pledged to build a new structure to display the Collins collection, telling a more well-rounded story of the seminal 1836 battle at San Antonio de Bexar.
In an exclusive conversation with the Texas Standard’s David Brown – recorded in the Alamo’s sacristy – Collins talks about how his fascination with Texas’ Independence story blossomed into an adult obsession.
Collins has amassed more than 200 pieces for a personal collection of Alamo artifacts – a collection he’s kept in his basement in Switzerland until now. Some of the items include a shot pouch belonging to Davy Crockett, an original, engraved Bowie knife, and Mexican army swords used in the battle.
It goes a way back: Collins recalls sitting cross-legged on the floor watching Fess Parker play Davy Crockett in the Disney TV serial of the ’50s. While the image of the Alamo made such an indelible impression, Collins felt his obsession was “my little secret” – until discovering much later that the Alamo series and John Wayne’s version of the Alamo story similarly inspired a generation of kids. (Cue the coonskin caps and fringe jackets.)
Collins says his decision to donate the artifacts stems from a wish for more people to see the collection, and to make sure the pieces remain together in perpetuity.