Thursday, September 20, 2007

Latest Crockett News

Everett Wilkie passes along the latest updates from the Davy Crockett story, in the form of a post on the Houston Chronicle's Texas Politics blog.

Seller Ray Simpson submitted this affidavit last week to the Texas Historical Commission: "I am writing this letter of provenance regarding a letter dated January 9th, 1836. This letter was sold to my grandfather in the mid to late 1980's by a person purporting to be the great-great grandson of David Crockett. The letter is composed of one page handwritten on the front and the back. In it, the author discusses the beauty of Texas and his desire to make Texas his home. The letter is signed at the end 'David Crockett.' I have no reason to believe anything other than what was told to me by my grandfather. I have no financial proof of purchase because of the length of time between then and now."

"Meanwhile," the post continues, "the Texas Historical Commission said it will issue a request for qualifications of experts to determine the letter's authenticity by the week of September 24, at the latest. And Simpson has released the state from the financial expense of holding the $550,000 purchase price in escrow. The final sale requires proof of authenticity within 120 days."

[Update: Scott Brown weighs in, saying "This is about the lamest thing I've ever heard. ... Now mind you, Simpson Galleries bills itself as 'Houston's oldest fine arts auctioneers' and they sell Texas material. This is not just some guy with an old letter in his desk. Yet the best evidence Simpson can offer is that someone who is now dead once told him it was real. The first thing an auctioneer has to do is authenticate the items they are planning to sell. Is this sale representative of the standard they apply at all their sales? It's amazing to me that they didn't do even the most basic evaluation of the letter for authenticity. Texas should have gotten a second opinion before announcing the purchase, but the real fault lies with the seller who is supposed to be a professional."]