when you think of her middle america and realize it wasn't that long ago that she didn't know a country existed west of the hudson, it is remarkable. that's what's strange. and youit it right now. >> found in grandpa's attic. >> dirty, dusty old box. like, wow. i don't know what it is. >> a discovery that will make the baseball world flip. >> you've got honus wagner. cy young. christie matthew son. >> i'm thinking to myself, oh, my god. i have a million dollars sitting in a chair. >> but is it almost too much of a good thing? >> it certainly changes the market in a negative way. (?) ♪ jamie: i'm jamie colby. i'm in northwest ohio.
called the great black swamp. this is a family who has lived here for more than 100 years. when they unearth their "strange inheritance," they give it a code name: the "black swamp find." >> i'm karl kissner, in 2011, my cousins and i inherited the home from our aunts. we would find things in this home that we never knew existed. >> karl, a 54-year-old restaurant owner has invited me to the family home in the small town of defiance, ohio. karl, hi. i'm jamie. how are you? >> pleasure to meet you. jamie: nice to meet you too. is this the family home? >> this is grandma's home. come on in. i'll show you around. jamie: the house came into karl's family in 1949. >> needle place, but
needs tlc. >> are you saying to be careful? >> yes. jamie: karl and his cousin start the daunting task of cleaning out the home lived in for more than a century. after several weeks of sorting through the house, only the attic remains. karl and his cousin, carla decide to tackle the project. >> ladies first. >> oh, my. look at this place. jamie: the attic is empty now. but not that day in 2011. karl and carla walk in to find a century worth of dusty boxes and family heirlooms. >> literally filled to the rafters. >> all the way up to here and just a path down the middle. jamie: after several hours, they uncover a box hugging the back wall. it contains something the two cousins have never seen before. >> it was dirty, busty oldustyold box. i open it up.
i don't know what it is. >> the cousins see what appear to be small cardboard photos tightly wrapped in twine. they recognize some pretty familiar faces. >> we're looking at it. baseball players. cy young. tiger. they're not baseball cards. not to us. they look like baseball cards. miniaturized. no who made it. no nothing. >> how many we talking about? >> hundreds. jamie: amazing. you see the box. you take them out. what do you and carla say? >> actually we set them on a dresser in the hallway and dove into the attic. >> soon karl starts to ponder where the strange cards may have come from. where they something the aunt collected off a cereal box? or maybe they go back to his grandfather karl hench. >> he works his way through chicago. german immigrant.
towards the ohio valley. >> he's chasing the american dream, to own a home and start a business. karl is a butcher by trade. by 1905, scraped enough to open his own shop here in defiance. a meat market. he sells candies and other grocery items. >> was he successful? >> very successful as a butcher in town. >> in 1909, he marries his love jenny. they start a family and buy that dream home. by now, baseball has long established itself as the national past time. for decades, very companies have used baseball cards to sell their products. >> the first nationally circulated cards came in packages of tobacco. it was the opportunity for the average citizen to own a photo. >> candy companies jump into the game. caramel cart helped sell
the top people of the day. >> cy young. christie matthewson. >> children'children love the candy, but cards even more. >> children traded them. >> all karl and carla know is that the cards may have come from their grandfather's store. >> our guess is that he would have given them away as promotional items. when you have leftovers, you save them for the next promotion. >> beyond that, karl isn't sure what they have in the box. he tells his cousin, he'll find out. the box sits on that dresser for a few days. and almost gets thrown out several times. before karl brings it to his restaurant to research the cards online. >> after a few days, he has some leads. >> i was looking at a 1909 caramel card. and i'm going, okay, it's not identical.
but this is too close. they have an estimated value on this card of around 15,000. jamie: karl discovers that a similar ty cobb card recently sold for $40,000. >> and i got a box full of them and they're pristine. jamie: that's amazing. you're sitting on a bundle of money. >> yeah. at that point, the heart is starting to race. i'm thinking to myself, oh, my god. i have a million dollars sitting in a chair. >> a lot more than that, if that is, karl can confirm his cards are real. >> you're a little skeptical, you're looking forward to that one phone call that turns out to be gold. jamie: that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. which gets credit for setting off the rookie card craze? the 1968 nolan ryan.
popular. jamie: while the grandchildren of karl and jenny hench are cleaning out the century old family home in ohio, they find a dust covered box with what appear to be vintage baseball cards. >> i'm seeing a tod ty cobb for $40,000. i'm looking at mine and saying, mine is better. jamie: the box karl found not only contains cobb known as the georgia peach, but all the greats of the era. it's dozens. in all, 800 cards, most in pristine condition. >> it takes it off a scope and realm that you're not quite sure how to handle it. jamie: step one, find out if the cards are real. karl reaches out to vintage cards expert peter in dallas.
>> i received a phone call, which was very cryptic. he didn't want to go into any details. on a daily basis, we receive phone calls from people who find cars. it's always reprints. jamie: peter says to text photos of the cards and he'll take a look when he gets the chance. >> when i got the first picture, i thought these were too good to be true. they looked amazing. i saw nothing about them that looked like they weren't real. the next plan, we talked about him sending me a sample of the cards. >> karl overnights eight cards to peter with a note attached. call me before you open. when the box arrives at heritage auction -- >> i gave him a call. there's that moment of silence that feels like ten minutes, but it's a matter of seconds. i open the box. pull out a large plastic holder. then there's the holy
[bleep] >> i was just floored because i had no idea what a 100-year baseball card looked real. >> at that moment, i pretty much know, yeah, these are real. >> karl has one more bombshell. >> so his next question is: do you have anymore? >> yes. hundreds. >> i would have been happy if it was just the eight cards. that's when you realize, this is the find of a lifetime. ♪ jamie: karl dubs the cards the black swam"black swamp find." they're quickly shipped to dallas on an armored truck and locked in a vault. the next step is to get each card officially graded on a scale of one to ten. karl goes with professional sports authenticator. i meet up with joe
orlando, president of psa at the national sports collector convention for a crash course in grading baseball cards. why is this one only a one? babe ruth can't be just a one. >> if you look at the card, you can see all the defects. multiple creases throughout the card. this is about as low as it can get. >> this one is higher? this is eight? is that considered mint? >> almost mint. but you can see tiny white pieces of wear on each corner. that's the difference between an eight, nine or ten. jamie: those tiny imperfections can make a difference of thousands of dollars. >> this one is worth roughly $100 or so. if a nine, probably north of 1,000. if it's a ten, north of 5,000. jamie: so what about the "black swamp find"? do karl's cards make the grade. >> what was your reaction when you saw
the first card? >> it was mind-blowing. jamie: before the find, the highest it ever gave to a card was a seven. karl's cards beat that in their first. >> it was a ty cobb. little did we know there were 15 more ty cobb 9's and, of course, hundreds of high-grade eight, nines, and even tens in the set. >> sounds pretty good. right? not so fast. it doubles the population of this type of card and the unprecedented size and quality of the find could crash the baseball collector's market. will karl's inheritance end up being too much of a good thing. >> if you were to flood the market with all of this at one time, it would certainly diminish the value of the entire find. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. what's the most ever paid for a babe ruth
cards even half that age. before the collecting craze in the 1980s, cards were simply fun things or to be used in flipping games. it will land either picture. you'll toss the card. if you match my card, you get to keep my card and your card. if you don't, i get to go home with your card. here goes. it's up. picture. i'm a winner. >> you're a winner. jamie: fortunately, for karl, his grandfather wasn't interested in such games, and the collection should easily be worth millions, if they play their cards right. you see, selling the so-called black swan find all at once could flood the market and drive prices down. >> because of the size of the collection and the quantity involved,
there was concern about the value. if there was one of each player, that would have been ideal. heritage auctions proposes a series of second sales to maximize the family's stake. >> to sell them by the set over a number of years. take our time. jamie: karl runs the estate on behalf of the 29 grandchildren. each family member can either join a consortium to sell the cards or keep their share as a family heirloom. >> did anybody keep the cards? yes, some of them did. >> most family members agreed to team and up sell the cards gradually. peter tal eastalliesy the numbers. nearly $3 million. for karl, it's a staggering sum. >> we're stunned. this is something we almost threw in a
dumpster. in baltimore camden park, they put the first 37 cards up for auction. >> they were the best of the best. the best graded cards out of everything we had graded. 1910e198010. the family sees one lot of nine cards go for $40,000. a second lot of 27 cards goes for 286,000. (?) but the real clean up hitter of the night, the only psa, ten mint, hall of famer, honus wagner in existence. 240,000 solid. anyone else? >> done. 240,00$240,000. >> we were flabbergasted. this is a wonderful gift from our grandfather and from our aunt. what more could you ask for? >> the family's total for the night: 566,000.
>> now, back to "strange inheritance." jamie: karl kissner and his family are slowly selling off their "strange inheritance." 800 rare vintage baseball cards. the schekthe collection is valud around $3 million. the family still has plenty of high-grade hall of famers to sell. in october 2012 and may 2013, two online auctions with some help from legendary manager connie racked up
$419,000. in august 2013 in chicago, a psa minor brown pitches in to help the team ring in another 220k. in the big apple, february 2014, a psa, 8.5 johnny eve ever seen. johnny. two more online auctions raise the total to $1.7 million. jamie: on july 31st, 2014, i join karl and his cousin carla at the 35th national sports collectors convention in cleveland for their latest auction. >> got a fired up crowd here tonight. what do you think, karl? >> it's exciting watching everybody, and listening to the on floor bids. you get into the feel of it. the mood of it. >> the last person standing, get the item. >> apparently people
have money. at the end of tonight, you may too. jamie: up first for carla and karl tonight, the georgia peach. >> 730 ty cobb. mint nine. are you serious? yes, we are serious. 27,000. anybody else? >> when the auctioneer kind of slows down? you know it's getting -- it's getting good. >> yeah. >> sold at $28,000. >> congratulations, guys. give me five on that, yeah. jamie: now, stepping up to the plate, a psa9, honus wagner. >> come on, honus. >> sold at 33,000. the bidding ends at 33,750. >> yeah, very good. all right. jamie: their weekend earnings, including online sells, total
133,000, listing the "black swamp find" total to 1.85 million. [applauding] >> are you satisfied tonight? >> i'm estatic, the person that's buying it wants it and appreciates it. hhe will add it to his collection and maybe pass it on to his family. jamie: a box stored and forgotten in the attic for over a century, changes an industry forever along with the lives of the 20 hench grandchildren. so far the black swamp "black sp find" is like a slugger with -- well, on track to surpass the goal by peter. >> still ten more sets to sell. still averaging 10,000 a set. >> in the card collecting market, the game is not over until the last man is out. >> what would grandpa say? >> i think grandpa would be stunned, amazed, and pleased. i'm sure that he is.
i'm sure that the whole family is up there looking down with big smiles on their faces. jamie: was the "black swamp find" nearly history's most epic case of some guys mom throwing out his baseball card collection? karl thinks so. when he made his big discovery in the attic, he spied several wrinkled and grimy cards strewn among the rafters and the floorboards. karl believes that they went flying during one of his grandma jenny's cleaning purges. when she pitched boxes of junk right out the attic window, into a big mound below. thank goodness, she never got a hold of that one box in the corner. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thank you so much for joining us. remember, you can't take it with you. do you have a "strange
inheritance" story you'd like to share with us? we'd love to hear it. send me an email or go to our website, "strange inheritance.com." (?) >> a letter arrives in the mail with news of a strange and lucrative inheritance. >> if i got a letter like this, i would think it was a scam. someone is scamming us. >> so is it a scam? >> i said, you know, ray, there is a fine line between a genius and idiot. he said, yeah, i crossed that two or three times a day. who is this mysterious benefactor? >> he's a hidden man. >> he didn't have the family life. he didn't have a friend to talk to. he really truly was a man -- >> but an inheritance? >> that's the "strange inheritance." and the strangest story still.
jamie: today i'm old route 66 in central illinois. i'm heading into the small farming town of lincoln where the strangest of inheritance stories unfolded. on a monday morning, farmer bob heads out to mohay for some land he's leasing called ray. >> it's very uncommon for ray not to come out and talk to me. my aunt looked over. the bin was open. that was not a good sign. i went over there, and i found him. and then i called 911. and -- jamie: the county coroner acting on info from a neighbor,
contacted him to tell him his 70-year-old client died of heart failure. >> i hadn't seen him in 50 years. i had no idea what they were talking about. >> you barely remember. >> it's very strange. >> don checks his files and realizes he indeed worked for one named ray falk back in 1997. >> he wanted me to change his will. i was named as the executor. all i had was a copy. fifteen years later, he could have changed his will. >> don drives out to ray's farmhouse to find the original will. there he discovers an unsettling scene. >> it was absolutely covered with cobwebs and it would remind you of a show where you had dracula involved. >> my house might sometimes be untidy. are we talking about more than that? >> we're talking about a hoarder show.
the whole place reeked. somehow the lawyer locates ray falk's l. it directs $5,000 to a chicago animal shelter. the next part is a puzzle. (?) i bequeath all my tangible personal properties to my friend kevin of san fernando, california. and peter of long island, new york. >> who are these guys? how does don find them? >> that will take more digging. digging through the debris. >> in ray's room, he had pictures of wools torn out of magazines. i had no idea how it fit together at that point in time. he'll fit it together soon. among ray's many diaries written in neat cursive, he finds a scra scrapbook with a -- lucan was a tv
series named kevin as a boy raised by wolves. it was canceled when ray was 37 years old. >> it's pretty clear to me that that show meant something to ray. >> don discovers the other man in the will, peter barton, also an actor. why falk named him is a bigger riddle. from 1988 to '92, he played a role in the young and the restless. before that, he was in a short-lived tv series called the powers of matthew starr. >> two basically unknown actors that ray had a fondness for. did you have any idea how much they would inherit? >> iit consisted of the land. the cash i found around the house.
jamie: how much is it worth? >> don is not sure, but figures hundreds of thousands of dollars easily. maybe even a million or more. so the dutiful attorney writes to the retired actors telling them about the "strange inheritance." >> he's named you as his friend. beneficiary of the estate. >> i was stunned. i was shocked. >> kevin. if it's too good to be true, it probably is. jamie: that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. which strange personality willed that a séance be held for him every year? was it master of the ma cob edgar allan poe
it's good. does it make the short list? you remembered that too. yea, i'm afraid so. knowing our clients personally is what we do. it's okay. this is what we've been planning for. thanks, bye. and with over 13,000 financial advisors, we do it a lot. it's why edward jones is the big company that doesn't act that way. >> so which strange personality willed an annual séance be held for him? it's b. harry houdini. he wanted to reveal himself to his his wife once a year. jamie: let's reset. in august 2012, 2 former actors, kevin and peter each receive a letter informing them they are the coinheritors of ray
falk. ray never met either of them. leaving a huge amount of money to someone you've never met sounds more than eccentric, which leads me to a question for ray's attorney, don bailey. it says as every will does, ray falk of lincoln, illinois, being of sound of mind and memory. was he? >> yes. he knew what he owned. he may have been odd, but he was of sound mind. >> my next stop is to meet kevin in california. >> i received a letter that was really about to change my life. jamie: it's here in the land of sun, surf, and palm trees, kevin started his career more than 30 years ago. >> this was an episode of lucan. boy raised by wolves. the pilot went to 12 episodes over a 2-year
period. jamie: as so many actors will say, it was a good ride while it lasted. it didn't last for you. >> my window was in my 20s. had my go. then the phone stops ringing. jamie: when the phone stops ringing, kevin finds a new line of work. takes a job as a doorman at the posh hotel bellaire and keeps it for the next 27 years. >> the hotel then closed. they went for remodeling. i was applying for a job. then the letter. i refer to it as the letter. comes. this is the original letter from the attorney saying, you don't know me, but i represent ray falk. he was a hermit and a hoarder and a farmer here in illinois. don says, if i got a letter like this, i would think it to be a scam. >> turns out kevin once worked with the second beneficiary in ray falk's will.
fellow actor, peter barton. i did hell night. became friends with most of the cast members including peter. peter lives in upstate, new york. >> you find out that somebody died and you're the only two, quote, unquote, friends he names in his will. >> from the moment i open that up, and i saw kevin's name, and i was like, someone is scamming us. >> the two meniscus what to dmen discusswhat to do next. >> kevin, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. >> peter agrees to make the trip to find out for both of them. peter's home video begins to unravel the mystery. >> ray had a gravesite with all of his dogs. look at this.
queeny. (?) 101587. '80. '94. buddy. fred. thathad. a lot of dogs. >> 160 acres of prime soil tillable for soy. >> all this a gift from a man they've never met. who was this guy and why would he do this? these people live a stones throw away from ray falk. how would you describe in a word ray? >> weird. >> i'd say weird. goofy. eccentric. jamie: eccentric, may be for good reason. the neighbors explain that ray eugene falk born in 1941 was an only child
and an outcast at school. bullied by classmates and often by his own mother. >> his mother was real mean. i think he got along with his father more. but ray would tell me these different things that his mother would do to him. >> for example? >> she would leave him out of the house. he couldn't come in the house for a while. he would have to stay outside. he would go sleep with a puppy. >> never really had a friend. >> the only persons he trusted was his dogs and me and bob farris. >> bob knew ray since they were teenagers. >> he probably had some type of a learning disability. and in today's education, they would have caught that. they just didn't have that type of thing back in the '50s. i think ray fell through the cracks. jamie: when ray graduates from high school in 1958, he joins
the army. he loves it, bob says. but his mother lobbies to get him an early release to help on the farm. >> it's too bad because i think ray would have been better off if he would have remained in the army and away from mom and probably his life would have turned out a whole lot differently. >> in the diaries he kept for decades, ray compares himself to a wolf, the most maligned, least understood animal that shares my same distrust for humanity. >> you know, he was very intelligent. and he and i would even joke about, i said, you know, ray there's a fine line between a genius and idiot. >> he said, yeah, i crossed that two or three times a day. >> in 1981, ray's mother dies. ray shares the farmhouse for the next 15 years with his dad. in the late 1990s, his father is in poor health and doesn't have much
time left. he suspects some of his cousins are after the farm and his dad's investments. ray fears they're trying to claim he's mentally incompetent to take control of his father's estate. >> i said, ray you need an attorney. >> ray has been using his father's attorney. but he suspects that attorney is in cahoots with his cousin's attorneys. >> that's when i mentioned don bailey. >> he told me about his dad and problems with his cousin taking control of his father. jamie: did he say why he wanted his family to not benefit from the estate? what did they do to him? >> i think the fact that any relative went to an attorney to take away his father was the act that he felt was treacherous. jamie: don assures ray he'll help. in 1997, ray's father dies. so ray makes one more
trip to lincoln to amend his will and name don bailey as his executor. he no longer wanted the executor he had previously named because those were the attorneys that had irritated by talking to other family members. jamie: were you surprised? >> it seemed to me, even though ray was odd, he knew his relatives didn't like him. jamie: but don knows full well that's not always the end of it especially in situations like this, where a hermit described as weird, eccentric bequeaths a family fortune to strangers. >> you have to give relatives a chance to come forward. >> yeah, relatives have the chance to contest the will. they had six months to do that. >> how did that go? that's next and more. do you feel guilty taking an inheritance from a stranger? >> here's another quiz question for you. which of these pampered pets was willed the
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>> so which pampered pet received the largest inheritance? it's c. she left her beloved maltese a 12 million-dollar trust in 2007. >> two former actors get the surprise of a lifetime in 2012 when ray falk, a man they've never met, leaves them a large inheritance. but it's no done deal yet. ray's relatives have six
months to challenge the will. ray long suspected that some of them pegged him as mentally incompetent. >> you don't think of it as taking it away from other relatives of his. >> absolutely not because ray's story is a heartbroken story. for ray to look at us with an incredible gift, this is doing exactly what ray wanted. >> exhibit a, ray's scrapbook, dedicated to his starring role in luke can. >> the young wolf man in the quest to find his roots. that's all hand put together. (?) >> and he wrote this scrapbook would not be complete without a corresponding section devoted to kevin. >> he really truly was a man -- >> maybe, but kevin admits this is the stuff restraining orders are made of.
>> it could have come back as a stalking horrible nightmare, but ray was very intro the verdict and loved television. >> but an inheritance? >> that's a "strange inheritance." and a stranger story still. >> with the scrapbooks, the wolf pictures, the dog cemetery, you get ray's affinity for lucan. what's up with the soap opera rant. they find the answer in his letters. >> i think, wow. he's talking about things that my character did. >> not barton's young and the restless character, but in the powers of matthew star. a 1982 series about an alien with supernatural abilities. (?) >> it's like he was searching. he saw matthew starr and said, oh, my god. >> a little crazy? >> i think he was a smart guy who kind of built a cage around himself and couldn't get out. that's what i wanted when i was doing matthew
starr. i wanted to affect people like ray. >> did you ask don the lawyer, if ray had any family that he might have given it to? >> for myself, it never crossed my mind. you can leave anything to anyone, but you have to give relatives a chance to come forward. right? >> yeah, relatives have the chance to contest the will. six months to do that. jamie: how did that go? >> nobody contested it. >> so kevin and peter are the proud owners of 167 acres of corn and soy field. is that the end of this story? not by a country mile. >> two hollywood characters come to town that ray never mentioned. they're here to leave with cash. >> we were just a little leery about who they were that was given the money. >> and exactly how much money. that's coming up. plus, this. did ray save your life? >> ray indeed
>> >> of face and leaves to former actors from los angeles and it is space surprising years since that includes 167 acres of farmland in central illinois. >> what do you say to yourself? what the heck of my going to do with this? could you sell its? >> i cannot do winters and farming. >> so the attorney was asked to sell it to see what they get. plenty of locals wanted the land but the highest bid was $800,000 at another half a million of cash and stock and the entire estate is worth 1.$3 million. after the sale period and kevin headline of
fund-raiser in his name for a local humane society. >> he had a very strange upbringing but he loved his dogs probably more than himself. >> to hollywood characters come to town and they are here to leave with cash. >> we were just a little theory but after reading them they were down to earth and good people that we just love them to pieces. >> how did the money change your life? >> that is a godsend because when the life is on an easy street life is at your door but then i was diagnosed as colorectal cancer one later level of bond dash later in wherever doctor visit could be $200 it has alleviate any concerns i have for my health or extended family is the bank did he save your life? >> indeed.
he did save my life. >> today still working as a doorman but he has a new address. >> diamine rodeo drive. i have met so many people i am thinking of running for mayor of beverly hills. >> the acting did not make you rich kid the inheritance? >> gave me confidence that i am safe. i want to say thank you. you made me say if. >> peter is currently working on a screenplay about the entire stranger inheritance story end it may get the two retired actors back into the picture to lives touched for ever by a man they had never met. thanks for watching remember you cannot take it with you.
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