The largest-known private collection of artifacts from the Battle of the Alamo and Texas independence will soon be coming home to San Antonio as a gift to the state thanks to a British rock and roll drummer.

Former Genesis musician, and singer-songwriter Phil Collins has been in love with Texas history and Davey Crockett since he was five years old growing up in a London suburb. He used to recreate the battle with his toy soldiers. For many of the items, the donation means their return to the historical site for the first time since the legendary defeat of Texan forces by Mexican troops under Santa Anna in 1836.

Collins’ Alamo collection includes invaluable artifacts like Jim Bowie’s legendary knife, and one of only four rifles left that were owned by Davy Crockett. Collins has Crockett’s leather shot pouch and two powder horns he allegedly gave a Mexican officer before his death. There are letters from William B. Travis and many other invaluable historic documents that shed insight on early Texas history.

While touring with Genesis in the 1970’s, Collins encountered his first David Crockett autograph–for sale at a store called the Gallery of History. “I didn’t know this stuff was out there, that you could own it,” the rock-n-roll legend said. It had never occurred to him. Later, he received a birthday-present that would change his life: a receipt for a saddle signed by an Alamo defender. From that point forward, the drummer began building his impressive Alamo and Texas Revolution collection.

Alamo-and-beyond-phil-collins-book-coverHis famed collection of rarities is featured in a 384-page book authored by Collins, called The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey.

The state of Texas and the Alamo endowment will be expanding the footprint of the site to include a new wing so the entire collection will be displayed together. Collins will pay to ship the 2000, or so, individual items (if you count every musket ball) from his home in Switzerland in October. A fundraiser will be held on September 30 for $5,000 per person to help raise money for a new building.

“For me it is a perfect situation,” Collins told the media. “I never actually thought it would be possible to have it here.”

WATCH the full press conference in the video below. (Story tip from Bill Fithern)

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