Sat. Jun 25th, 2022

Alamo lawsuit: Experts say they were defamed by book suggesting fake artifacts sold to Phil Collins

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An antiquities dealer and a historian are suing for defamation over an article and a book that claims the Alamo experts fraudulently authenticated and sold artifacts from the historic Texas battle at exorbitant prices to rock star Phil Collins and others. 

Alexander McDuffie and Joseph Musso claim the book “Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth” has ruined their reputations, according to the Art Newspaper. 

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (L) listens as Phil Collins speaks in front of The Alamo, announcing the donation of his collection of historical Alamo artifacts on June 26, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (L) listens as Phil Collins speaks in front of The Alamo, announcing the donation of his collection of historical Alamo artifacts on June 26, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

The book, written by journalists Chris Tomlinson, Bryan Burrough and Jason Stanford, and an excerpt that was published in the Texas Monthly magazine last year, both implied that some artifacts the two men had gathered to be displayed at the Alamo site as part of a proposed renovation weren’t authentic.

It also implied that fake artifacts may have been sold to Collins for his Alamo collection, which he had planned to donate to the museum. 

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McDuffie contacted the magazine and said their cover story, which featured the excerpt, was filled with “misrepresentations and misquotes” and despite the editor’s inclusion of a list of what were called corrections and clarifications, the antiquities dealer said it “did not even come close to erasing the impressions the article had created, nor did they correct all of the factual errors,” according to the complaint. 

The lawsuit was filed in June 2021 after the book was published. 

British music legend Phil Collins donates what is considered the biggest collection of Alamo artifacts to the people of Texas. 

British music legend Phil Collins donates what is considered the biggest collection of Alamo artifacts to the people of Texas. 
(Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images)

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McDuffie said in the wake of the article and book his antiquities sales have dropped from around $150,000 annually to just $9,800 last year and he can no longer make a profit. 

The facade of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio.

The facade of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio.
(Edwin Remsberg/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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He added that he also lost out on the founding historian and curatorial position at the planned Battle of Texas museum that would have been part of the Alamo redevelopment – now put on hold.  

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The authors, along with Texas Monthly and the book’s publisher Penguin Random House, have been named as defendants in the lawsuit. 



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