The Alamo Unveils Rare Display of Samuel Bell's Texas Silversmith Artifacts

April 11, 2023


Jonathan Huhn, Alamo Trust, Inc.
Office (210) 225-1391x6064
Mobile (210) 867-7717

Bowie Presentation Knife with the Alamo Church image on the handle and a holding case

The Alamo is thrilled to announce the “Samuel Bell: Texas Silversmith” historic artifacts are now on display at the Ralston Family Collections Center.
The Ralston Family Collections Center has recently opened its doors on the historic Alamo grounds, and we couldn't be more delighted to share the news about its latest addition. The center has proudly unveiled a magnificent display of over a dozen items skillfully crafted by the esteemed Bell & Bros. company. Artisan Samuel Bell created these artifacts in the 1800s, providing a fascinating look into the rich history of American craftsmanship and the legacy of the Bell family. A featured artifact is a Bowie Presentation Knife bearing the Alamo Church’s iconic image. This memorial Bowie knife, crafted in 1886, was made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. Other rare artifacts include 18K gold opera glasses, a Ladies Companion Dirk Knife, a Belt Knife, 2 Hideout Daggers, a Colt Model 2 Deringer, a 10K gold Eastern star ring, and a silver Spoon collection.
Samuel Bell learned the art of silversmithing and metalworking in his native Pennsylvania. One of his most notable commissions was a pair of silver spurs General Sam Houston wore at the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution. In 1852, Bell moved to San Antonio, where he produced silver, tableware, spurs, Bowie knives and jewelry at a small storefront on Commerce Street near the Alamo. Clientele listed in the company’s register included Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and other prominent military figures. Following the death of Samuel Bell in 1882, his sons took over the family business of crafting silver items under the name Bell and Bros. In 1895, the brothers sold their family business, which operated under the name of its founder, "The Bell Jewelry Company," until 1961. Despite the change in ownership, the company continued to produce highly valued, exceptional silver art and had a deep connection to San Antonio for over a century.
"We are thrilled to have these historic artifacts on display at the Alamo’s Ralston Family Collection Center," said Dr. Kate Rogers, Executive Director of the Alamo Trust, Inc. "Sam Bell's legacy as a skilled silversmith and metalworker is an important part of Texas history, and these pieces showcase his craftsmanship and enduring influence. The generosity of Mr. J.P. Bryan in loaning these items to us has allowed visitors to the Alamo to experience firsthand the legacy of one of Texas' most renowned artisans. We are honored to share these treasures with our community and visitors from around the world."

Handle of knife with image of Alamo Church
Knife and holding case
Opera glasses made from gold with leaf pattern design

The items now on display are all products from Bell and Bros. of San Antonio, Texas, and were crafted less than two blocks from the Alamo on Commerce St. The artifacts are generously provided on loan to the Alamo courtesy of Mr. J.P. Bryan.

The Ralston Family Collections Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can purchase tickets online, with entry available every 15 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friends of the Alamo members enjoy free admission, while non-members are encouraged to join.

About Alamo Trust, Inc. | Located in the heart of San Antonio, the Alamo stands as a Shrine to Texas Liberty. Alamo Trust, Inc., or the Alamo, tells the story of Texas Independence as part of its rich and diverse 300-year history to over 1.6 million visitors every year and is the #1 most visited destination in the State of Texas. In 1960, the Alamo was designated a United States National Historic Landmark, and in 2015, it became part of the Lone Star State's only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witness living history, experience authentic artifacts, and explore an iconic landmark that shaped the country. Visit