i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching. and remember... >> it's just money. can't take it with you. >> a tv hitmaker loves animals. >> he turned that creativity on animal rights, and it was unbelievable. >> one dog he rescues is off-the-charts dangerous. >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> when the hollywood owner dies, columbo becomes their strange -- and expensive -- inheritance. >> acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? [ dog growls ] >> is it all worth it? >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> welcome to the weird world of pet inheritance. >> so, are you leaving your home to the birds? [ bird squawks ]
i'm jamie colby, and, today, i'm in encino, california. will rogers once said, "if there are no dogs in heaven, then when i die, i want to go where they go." but when the owners go first, especially the rich or eccentric ones, it can make for one strange inheritance. >> my name is tyson kilmer. i'm an animal trainer. when one of my clients, sam simon, passed away in march of 2015, i inherited his dog, who is not exactly lassie, marmaduke, or any other lovably harmless pet you've seen on tv. >> hi, kilmers. i'm jamie. >> i'm tyson kilmer. this is my wife, alison. aliyah and tyler. >> how are you? >> i'm great! >> i heard your family has a living, breathing inheritance? >> indeed, we do. we have a cane corso that used to belong to the late, great sam simon. >> sam simon -- even if you
don't recognize the name, you surely know his work as co-developer, with matt groening, of that iconic and long-running tv show, "the simpsons." sam was born in 1955 and grew up in beverly hills, just down the street from groucho marx. after graduating from stanford university, sam catapults his way up in the tv business, becoming a showrunner in 1978 for the hit series "taxi," at the age of 23. >> sam was the youngest showrunner in the history of television, when he was a showrunner on "taxi." >> mark thompson is an l.a. radio host and a long-time friend of simon's. >> to describe him as highly intelligent would be to understate it in the extreme. >> sam works on "barney miller" and "cheers," before teaming up with matt groening on "the simpsons," which premieres on the fox network in 1989. >> matt groening created these characters and this family, but
the universe that the simpsons exist in -- the town, the nuclear power plant, mr. burns, all of these different characters... sam simon was the driving force behind that. >> but in 1993, after four trailblazing seasons, sam decides he wants a life outside of television. before quitting, he negotiates a deal giving him continuous credit as an executive producer and a share of the show's annual profit, to the tune of $30 million a year. sam, now twice divorced with no children, turns his energy to what becomes his calling in life -- saving animals, especially dogs. in 2002, at the cost of several million dollars, he creates this lavish, sprawling dog shelter in malibu. one of the neglected pooches that end up at sam's shelter is a 6-month old cane corso, also known as an italian mastiff, a
breed some people refer to as "a pit bull on steroids." the big canine is quickly deemed too aggressive to stay at the shelter. so sam takes him home and names him columbo, after the rumpled, trench-coat-wearing detective played by peter falk. >> he adored columbo, clearly. i think he was like an offspring almost. he was like a son. >> a son with a nasty disposition. within months, columbo attacks staff members on the simon estate. there are as many as eight biting incidents. he even goes after sam's buddy, howard stern. >> ok, guys, go play! [ dogs barking ] >> so, in 2011, sam contacts tyson kilmer, who has a reputation for working with dangerous breeds. his hollywood clientele includes rob lowe and mike tyson, but none impresses him like sam simon. >> the first meeting he had with sam, tyson came back and went, "i met my hero.
i met a guy that's doing way more than i am with animals." it was a bromance. >> alison kilmer is tyson's wife. >> was it more than just about the dog? >> oh, yeah. tyson knew right away that sam was someone that was gonna mentor him. >> still, tyson hesitates taking the columbo case. why? >> i had stopped working with that breed a few years prior, just because of the volatility and the liability issues around them. >> i'm sure that training aggressive dogs is dangerous. where is columbo on the scale? >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> tyson says he makes an exception for columbo, when simon convinces him that health issues, like painful hip dysplasia, explain why he's such a bad dog. so, it's not just behavioral. it's also medicine? >> that's correct. >> simon's already paying for the best veterinary medicine
money can buy. among other things, columbo gets electromagnetic therapy and acupuncture. acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? >> this dog has endured so much pain in his legs that this is not some frivolous treatment. >> and the price tag for columbo's first-class care? >> columbo costs approximately $138,000 a year. >> that's a four-year college education. >> the reality is -- i didn't hire these folks. i was just asked to be present while these folks were working. and this work changed my perspective on this dog entirely. ready to go. >> tyson takes over the actual training, hooking up columbo with a partner to keep him in line. >> hey, jamie. i brought my friends. >> i see that, tyson. i hope they'll be my friends. >> they will be your friends. so, kasha's been the one to teach him how he should be responding and reacting in these encounters. >> she's a pit bull. >> she's a pit bull, yes, but she's very fabulously trained. you want to give it a try? >> i'm willing to try.
>> perfect. okay, so, let's start off by showing her a stay. point to the ground. tell her, "okay, down." >> okay, down, kasha. good girl, kasha. >> and now, this is how she smiles. so, it looks like kind of scary. >> oh! you get a rub on the belly! stay. tyson says his hard work and sam's money transform columbo into a loving and much-less-aggressive pet. so, the bottom line is -- you have rehabilitated this dog. >> i would say that this dog is living, at this point, within very acceptable margins for behavior and safety, as long as we continue to put the work in with him daily. >> it's late 2012, when, at 57, sam simon is diagnosed with colorectal cancer. the prognosis -- it's terminal. >> how did sam tell you he was sick? >> [ voice breaking ] he was just sick. >> what happened?
>> you know, he said, you know, "tyson, i'm dying." >> will sam's death sentence also be the end for columbo? >> i was asked to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> immediately? >> yes. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. was it roy rogers' trigger... mr. ed... or seabiscuit? the answer when we return.
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>> so, what stuffed horse fetched $266,000 at auction? it's "a," trigger, who belonged to roy rogers. >> with the help of his new friend and dog trainer tyson kilmer -- and a year and a half of intense training -- sam simon's rescued 140-pound cane corso is under control. so, you've given columbo a stay of execution. >> nobody else has been bitten, so the first part is amazing. secondly, he's a happier soul. >> but, in 2012, sam's diagnosis of stage-four cancer changes everything. after being told he has only months to live, "the simpsons"
co-developer launches a campaign to save as many animals as he can before he's gone. he brings tyson along for the ride. >> as his body began to fail him, he would be jumping on a learjet and flying off, so somebody had to watch out for him. >> here was sam simon ready to do all of these things that seem unthinkable. he rescued all of these bears from roadside circuses. he shut down a mink farm. >> so, the money is kind of gone. >> you gave it all to peta. >> no, no, no, no, no, no, no. i put in a trust that will be distributed, in perpetuity, to save the children and peta and other organizations. >> fantastic. >> for two years, sam beats the clock, but his disease never relents. >> i got a call that he was in the hospital, and he had summoned for me to come to his bedside. he just said, "i'm sorry to burden you with this, but will you please take my dog?" of course, i said "yes." >> tyson looked at me and said,
"i got to do this for him. if we don't, they're gonna put columbo down." >> tyson also makes sure columbo can stay by sam till the end. >> i was asked to train columbo to climb a set of steps beside sam's bed so that columbo could get up there and sleep with him. columbo was with sam right up until he passed. i was asked to be on the property when he passed to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> why immediately? >> well, columbo couldn't be on the property with an influx of people coming in, just because it just wasn't safe. >> arguably even less safe -- bringing this strange inheritance home to your wife and kids. i have to ask you about that. i met him. he's fierce. you let them hang out with columbo? >> supervised. columbo cannot be unsupervised around my children or around anybody. when he's uncomfortable, he's grumpy. you don't want to be anywhere around him.
and i don't want my kids to be anywhere around him. and stay. >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we make all the precautions. we make sure they're never alone with columbo. we make sure that they train him every day. and us, as a family -- we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> a noble commitment, but who's going to pay for columbo's ongoing $138,000-a-year medical care? was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam just basically said, "listen, don't worry about this. everything's taken care of." >> ruh-roh! is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer in a moment.
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>> so, santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer is "b," a greyhound homer rescues from the dog track in "the simpsons'" first episode. [ dog growls ] >> the cane corso, or italian mastiff, is an aggressive breed, sometimes called a "pit bull on steroids." columbo, a 140-pounder who belonged to "simpsons" co-developer sam simon, was actually deemed too vicious for simon's dog-rescue shelter. hollywood dog trainer tyson kilmer says one of simon's last requests was that he take columbo when simon died.
>> one thing that sam said is that, "every animal's life has value." >> tyson assumes simon's multi-billion-dollar trust will pay for columbo's costly medical treatments, including acupuncture and electromagnetic therapy. >> was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam took care of everything while he was alive. when sam said, "will you take columbo?", i didn't say, "hey, how much, buddy?" i just said, "of course. i'll take care of it." >> then, in june 2015, three months after sam's death, tyson learns that those vets and therapists will no longer be paid and all those hollywood-style treatments will be discontinued. tyson reaches out to the executor of the simon trust. now, i'm a dog lover -- don't get me wrong -- but tell me how much you were asking, money-wise, to take care of columbo in the style sam had -- >> i didn't ask for money. i was asking for them to send the vets over. i wasn't asking for money.
>> come on, columbo. >> either way, tyson says he's told there's no money earmarked for columbo. >> i first thought, "it has to be a misunderstanding," but, at some point, you'd think, even if that were the case, they would have an allegiance to what sam would have wanted." >> radio host mark thompson was a longtime friend of simon's. is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? >> i think the answer is -- of course not, of course not. sam would have wanted money to go for the continued care of columbo. >> the executor of simon's trust doesn't return our phone calls but has ripped tyson in the media. the trustee issued a statement that we got our hands on, and it starts with, "it's truly sad that someone would try to take advantage of sam's generosity to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of other causes." >> and i'm just an outsider, but the same money that sam was paying for columbo, when sam was
alive, is all tyson is asking for. and it's about his therapy, not a dollar more. i think that's a reasonable request. >> how much is it costing you a month, besides your daily time, to take care of columbo? >> it costs me approximately $9,000, $9,500 a month to take care of him. tyson has custody of a dog that is considered very dangerous. and we have a trustee unwilling to disperse money for the dog's care. end of case? >> if they're willing to go to court, tyson might be able to assert rights on columbo's behalf and get the court to construe the trust. >> underscore "might," says ken kossoff, an l.a. lawyer specializing in pet inheritances. he says it's telling simon apparently did not set up a trust fund to pay for columbo's care, which is allowed under california law. >> you want your trust or any other document to be very clear that who was ever in charge of
the money needs to support the pet. >> case in point -- ken's client in palmdale, california, a widow who wanted to provide for her faithful companions when she was gone. hi, yvonne. i'm jamie. >> jamie, hi. how are you? >> nice to meet you. i heard you're the bird lady. >> i am that. would you like to meet my kids? >> i would like to meet your kids. >> come on. >> oh, thank you. look at all these guys. oh, hello there. who's that? >> he says, "i'm bogie bird." and he says, "i'm the senior bird here." >> bogie is a 34 year-old double yellow-head amazon parrot. while he's older than yvonne's two cockatiels, he's still a youngin' among the parrot breed, who can easily live for 60 years. when yvonne first adopts bogie from a bird sanctuary, in 2013, she worries about making a commitment to a pet that could very well outlive her. >> at my age, i thought, "how am
i gonna make this work out? these guys can live to be 60 years old. i'm not rich." >> so, will bogie become a strange inheritance? yvonne is worried that her cherished parrot will get discarded, like columbo. and what about columbo? >> it must be costing you a fortune. >> columbo's not cheap, and we never, ever, ever, in a million years, thought we'd be here. >> and? >> how can the kilmers get the funds they say they need for his care? >> good boy! you know, i agreed to take sam simon's dog. i didn't agree to take on a billion-dollar estate. >> that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com.
outlive her. will bogie get the special care he needs when she's gone? she turns to ken kossoff, who's been creating trusts in los angeles for over 30 years. >> a lot of pet owners do not know that they could plan their estate to include their pets. >> yvonne doesn't just want to make sure her pets always have a caring home. she wants to make sure they have her home. >> the trust provides, immediately, for a caregiver to come in, and this is someone who is familiar with my birds. they will live here in the house, basically rent-free, and they'd take care of the birds. i will take care of the utilities and all on the house. >> that could theoretically last for decades. you understand people will watch this and they'll say, "okay, you're 'the bird lady.'" >> yeah. >> "and you've left this beautiful home to birds." >> yes. i don't care how whacky they think i am. i just want to protect these guys. >> apparently, sam simon wasn't so clear or emphatic about
columbo, and so the executors of "simpsons" co-developer sam simon's billion-dollar trust reportedly have no intention of providing a penny for his care. where does that leave animal trainer tyson kilmer, to whom sam bequeathed the 140-pound mastiff? >> i've never had much interest in anything outside of just seeing columbo cared for. i really don't want to be in court over the next five, six years. i'd far rather raise funds for him and just move on with my life. >> sam was his mentor and hero. and, sometimes, you don't write the script on how it's gonna come out, but we're doing the best we can and we're gonna handle it. >> i wanted to put a call into you to see if i could rely on some support from you guys. >> today, tyson hopes to raise enough funds through a network of friends and supporters to finance columbo's care.
you made a promise. >> absolutely. yeah. >> that's a big promise. >> i'm gonna keep that promise. you know, sam was one of -- he was a mentor to me. he was one of my best friends. i'm gonna honor my word to my friend. >> bogie or columbo can only dream of the fortune of the so-called world's richest pet, a german shepherd who's really rolling in the dough. turns out that when a german countess named carlotta liebenstein died, in 1992, she left a $124 million trust for her trusty pooch, gunther iii. well, when gunther iii met an untimely death, carlotta's riches passed to gunther's son, gunther iv, and by then, the trust was worth $372 million and included a villa in the bahamas and a mansion once owned by madonna. and, at that rate, gunther v could be the first canine billionaire. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance."
thanks so much for watching. and remember, you can't take it with you. >> a ball club older than mighty casey... >> they were recognized as the best team of the 1860s. >> their 155-year-old baseball card... >> we are looking at a very significant piece of baseball history here. >> and she's looking at a very strange inheritance. >> he's my great-great-uncle on my dad's side. >> which one is he? >> now here's the payoff pitch. >> one of the big ones. this was a family heirloom. >> will there be joy in mudville... >> he was looking for a piece of the action, but i didn't know that. >> ...with jamie at the bat? [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and i'm in
the berkshire mountains on my way to great barrington, massachusetts. i'm meeting a woman whose ancestor played on one of the great teams in the early days of baseball. his picture is on her strange inheritance, which may just be the world's oldest baseball card. >> my name is florence sasso. my great-great-uncle archibald mcmahon was a member of the 1860s atlantic nine baseball team. i inherited this card from my mother when she passed away. >> hi. i'm jamie. >> hi. i'm florence. >> heard you have a great story and a very strange inheritance. also heard you're a new york girl. >> yes. >> i'm from queens. >> i'm a brooklyn girl. >> uh-oh. 75-year-old flo lives alone and runs an electrolysis business from her house. what a lovely home. she explains that fate has handed her a very unusual inheritance in the form
of a 2 1/2-by-4-inch antique baseball card. oh, my goodness. is this what i think it is, florence? may i touch it? >> sure. >> look at the players. 1860. >> before the civil war. >> and a relative of yours is in here? >> my great-great-uncle archibald mcmahon is in here. >> which one is he? >> we don't know. it hasn't been identified. >> well, can you make a guess on which one he might be? is there any resemblance to you or your parents? >> no. i couldn't figure it out. i was just looking at the ears, because that side of the family had big ears. >> who were the brooklyn atlantics? >> i think it's the oldest baseball team in history in brooklyn. ♪ >> at least one of the oldest, says ed elmore, captain of today's incarnation of the brooklyn atlantics. so brooklyn atlantics started when? >> they played a long time. they were recognized
as the best team of the 1860s. >> baseball before the civil war? you can look it up. the first officially recorded game is actually played in 1846. and within 15 years, the sport is on the verge of a boom. these guys practicing today in long island, new york, use the same rules and equipment as old archibald did back then. was pitching different? >> the first 40 years, actually, of baseball was underhand pitching. for the first 20 years, if a ball was caught on a bounce it was an out. it was thought of as a gentlemen's game at the very beginning just by who was playing, not necessarily by how they played. >> so who is archie mcmahon? a butcher in brooklyn is about all flo knows. that's a sign of how organized baseball is evolving and becoming more democratic. it's no longer just a game played by wealthier men -- doctors, lawyers, and bankers.
and although flo can't identify which one of these gentlemen is that great-great-uncle on her father's side, we can i.d. couple of his teammates. at far left is chris smith. two men to the right is shortstop dickey pearce, who's credited with inventing the bunt. looks like a straitjacket. baseball uniforms have really changed over the years. i can see why. got to love this cap, though. take me out to the ballgame. so this is the bat. i see they're not playing with gloves. what about the balls? >> well, i have just the man to talk to for that. wild horse. >> wait. wild horse? >> that's his nickname. he runs the bases with wild abandon. >> you make those? >> i start with a rubber center, two cords of yarn. everything was handmade. >> ready?
>> all right. >> really? oh, no. no gloves. aah! oh. it didn't hurt that bad. have you heard of the name archibald mcmahon? >> he's listed in the roster of the 1860 atlantics. actually, he played center field, and he batted third. so that's an indication that he was one of the better hitters. >> after the 1860 season, however, he becomes a bit of an enigma. he may have played for a pro team in manhattan, but census records after the civil war show him working as a butcher in san francisco. after that, his only appearance in the public record is a mention in the 1928 obituary of his younger brother, john, a civil war veteran. >> in the obituary, it talks about his brother, how he loved baseball. >> the obituary reads, "he had a picture in his home of the original atlantics team,
of which his brother, archibald mcmahon, was a member." when they mention it in an obit, you know the card is a true family heirloom. flo's father, joseph, is 17 years old when his uncle john dies. it becomes his strange inheritance. but it's his wife, mildred, who keeps it safe in their brooklyn home. >> my mother had had it in a fanny farmer box in a secret drawer in a piece of our furniture. >> when florence grows up, she moves to massachusetts, gets married, and then divorced. over time, the family is drawn back together by old age and illness. eventually, flo convinces her parents to move up to massachusetts and live with her. >> the fellow i was dating at the time was an architect, and he designed an addition for us. >> how much did that cost? >> $125,000. >> did you have that money? >> no. i had to remortgage the house. >> flo's dad dies in 1995.
her mom, mildred, inherits the card. mildred is well aware flo has gone into debt and wishes she could help. but it never strikes her that she has the means until great-great-uncle archibald comes up in a genealogy class at the senior center. so he suggested that that card could be worth what? that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. who in 1888 declared baseball "the american game"? queen victoria of england, indian chief sitting bull, or poet walt whitman? the answer in a moment. type 2 diabetes doesn't care who you are. man woman or where you're from. city country we're just everyday people fighting high blood sugar. ♪i am everyday people. farxiga may help in that fight every day.
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it's a balancing act, but i got to give the people what they want -- more box. any words for the critics? what can i say? critties gonna neg. [ applause ] the what?! [ laughs ] ♪ >> so, who first declared baseball "the american game"? if you picked walt whitman, you're right. in 1888, he wrote... [ crowd cheering ] >> long before the brooklyn dodgers and ebbets field, these guys, known as the atlantics nine, are kings of that borough's diamonds. this 155-year-old picture of the team has been passed down in florence sasso's family ever since. one of the team's stars, archibald mcmahon, was her great-great-uncle. flo's mom, mildred, is caretaker
of the card for years. she keeps it squirreled away in a candy box and takes it with her when she moves into flo's house in great barrington, massachusetts. but neither she nor her daughter knows which guy in the picture is uncle archie. what'd she tell you about it? >> she said, "put this in with your genealogy." >> in the spring of 2015, flo's been digging into their family background at the free genealogy program at the local senior center. so do you bring the card to show the class? >> i brought the card to the senior center. he said, "oh, my god. it's perfect." >> "he" is volunteer steve strommer, who runs the class. >> my interest in genealogy started a long time ago. but it's taken on a life of its own, and it's pretty much an obsession. we couldn't find too much on archibald. but that was a very old card. and she said, "how much is this?" and i said, "well, i'll see
if i can find out." >> are you thinking to yourself, "i really have something valuable here"? >> yes, i did. >> especially after steve spots on the internet an 1865 brooklyn atlantics card. it had gone for $92,000 at auction in 2013. florence's card is five years older and may be even more valuable. >> i used to wonder, "why do people jump up and down when something exciting happens?" and here i was doing that. >> pushing 101, flo's mother, mildred, isn't quite jumping up and down. but if she can help pay off the addition flo built for her, she's definitely up for some moneyball. florence, who has no children to pass the card on to, is game as well. that's when steve strommer suggests contacting an auction house. on your behalf? >> yes. he made the connection. >> i was just, you know, doing my job, just trying to facilitate getting this card in the right hands.
>> strommer takes the photo home, scans it, and sends it to chris ivy, who specializes in sports memorabilia at heritage auctions in dallas. >> when the first e-mail came in with images, i showed it to one of my other experts. and we thought, "it looks right from the images, and we are looking at a very significant piece of baseball history here." the photo was in good shape. and the overall condition of the card is very strong. >> of course, it's not exactly the kind of card later generations will collect with bubble gum and wax packs. >> there was no bubble gum involved with this card, no. i don't think bubble gum was around, actually, until the early 1900s. it's considered a carte de visite, a cdv. >> a carte de visite, or cdv, was more like a business card or a souvenir handout at a time when photography was still a novelty. >> i think it was because they were the champions of the league and were proud of that and wanted something to commemorate it. >> while chris and his team
evaluate the card, florence feels steve's way off base. he's taken control not only of the process but the card itself. i think this next part of the story goes under the heading "don't mess with a girl from brooklyn." >> was he looking for a piece of the action? >> he was looking for piece of the action, but i didn't know that. i went down to his house, and i said, "my mother would like to have the photograph back." and he said, "oh, it's safe with me." and i said, "no, and i'd like to give you some money for the work that you did at home." and he said no. >> if there was any disconnect, it was with flo, who, i guess, wanted to know if i was going to charge her anything. and she kept asking me quite often, you know, "keep track of your hours." >> i said, "just give me back the picture." >> and then, she would say, "i have to talk to my lawyer," and all of that. and i said, "fine with me." >> you had to get that card back. >> yes. >> that's next.
♪ >> so, who was the first president to invite a professional baseball team to the white house? it's ulysses s. grant. the cincinnati red stockings, the first professional team, were grant's guests in june 1869. >> spring 2015, great barrington, massachusetts, and life's thrown florence sasso a curveball. she's in a feud with steve strommer, the genealogy instructor at her local senior center.
>> and i went to the doctor. they doubled my blood-pressure medication 'cause i was so upset about him. >> she's taken a family heirloom, this 1860 baseball card of the brooklyn atlantics, which includes her great-great-uncle archibald mcmahon, and given it to steve. it may be the oldest baseball card in existence. and he's researching its value. but it appears to florence that he doesn't want to give it back. >> you went yourself to the gentleman's house to get it? >> yes. he really wanted to hold on to it. but i didn't trust him with it. >> so essentially, he was trying to help you. he just wanted to be paid. >> yes. >> i may have half tongue-in-cheek, half joking, said, "well, i'm your agent. 10%." but i wasn't really gonna charge her with that. >> you didn't want to pay him. >> i was going to give him a generous gift. but you're not allowed to give them even five cents if they're a volunteer of the town.
>> at this point, both steve and florence learned that town employees may not receive additional income from their official duties. >> the interaction that was going on about being reimbursed was prior to my knowledge about the ethics of town employees taking money. >> so steve gives the photo back to florence. having benched steve, she reaches out herself to heritage auctions. a representative flies to massachusetts to bring the card in for authentication. heritage shows up at your house. >> within 24 hours. >> but while the auction house gets to work, flo's mother is admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. >> may 13th. she was 100 and sound of mind right till the end. and every night, she would just say, "thank you for taking care of me," and then a big smile, and she'd say, "did we get the money yet?" >> later that day, mildred sasso passes on. and what may be the world's oldest baseball card is now
florence's strange inheritance. it doesn't take long to confirm the card is real. >> given the fact that it was in florence's family for nearly 160 years, that's great provenance. and provenance is always key. >> the 1928 obituary of archibald's brother, john, provides a crucial piece of evidence of the card's authenticity. >> that newspaper obituary noted that john was an ardent fan of baseball and he had an original photo of the brooklyn atlantics. so that obituary was referring to this very card. >> remember the 1865 brooklyn atlantics card that sold for $92,000? that kind of money would go a long way to paying off the debt flo incurred when she took in her parents. is her card in that ballpark? chris ivy thinks it is and knows exactly where to find out. >> one of the big ones. this was a family heirloom.
>> that's next. so is this. all right. let's send one down the pike. let's see what you got. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website -- strangeinheritance.com. pet moments are beautiful, unless you have allergies. then your eyes may see it differently. only flonase is approved to relieve both your itchy, watery eyes and congestion. no other nasal allergy spray can say that. complete allergy relief or incomplete. let your eyes decide. flonase changes everything. may not always be clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. so wherever your retirement journey takes you, we can help you reach your goals. call us or your advisor
♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> in 1860, florence sasso's great-great-uncle and his teammates on the brooklyn atlantics posed for this photo. 155 years later, it may be the oldest baseball card in existence. florence is about to learn just how valuable that makes it. the auction house estimates its value at 50 grand-plus. that would help cover the $125,000 she spent remodeling her home to make room for her elderly parents. then again,
another brooklyn atlantics card recently went for $92,000. an extra 40 grand would really help. in july 2015, enthusiasts from around the country gather in chicago for the national sports collectors convention. >> $9,500. now to $10,000. where are my cubs fans now? >> the highlight of the auction -- flo's 2 1/2-by-4-inch strange inheritance featuring the pre-civil war brooklyn atlantics. >> one of the big ones. this was a family heirloom. >> how proud are you when you see your family card in a catalog? >> everybody was so excited because they didn't know about baseball before the civil war. >> and it was a bit of brooklyn that you could bring to this town. >> that's right. >> you can follow the auction online, but florence is having computer problems. even so, she feels the same nervous anticipation palpable in that room. >> earliest known team card that we're aware of. what do we have for lot 009?
>> $70,000. >> $70,000. this is gonna go big. $70,000. now to go to $75,000. >> from the start, the bidding is fierce. >> we've got captains of industry and people that are millionaires, billionaires. it's just people that have a passion to collect things. >> $85,000. now to bid $90,000. $95,000 to you, sir. i go you. $100,000. now to $110,000. >> like a sandy koufax fastball, the bidding quickly blows away the $50,000 estimate. >> $110,000. now to $120,000. this is really a smithsonian-type piece here. $120,000. now to $130,000. >> most collectors go into a live auction with a game plan. but you can get enthralled with the moment. so, you know, throw caution to the wind and start bidding. >> $130,000. now to $140,000. $150,000. now to $160,000. you want $155,000? you gonna walk away for five grand? $150,000. i've got it right here. who's gonna beat him? $150,000. anyone else? $150,000. bid $160,000? who's gonna beat him? anyone else now? anyone else?
to white. $150,000. [ applause ] thanks very much. >> after the auction house commission is added, it brings the total to $179,000. and the winning bidder? >> a well-known 19th-century collector, but he didn't want to be revealed. >> the good news comes to florence from a surprising source. >> how'd you learn about it selling? >> steve, the genealogist, was following it on the internet. >> i saw the very end of the bidding for the card. and i called up flo right away and said, "this is great." >> and he called to say it was sold for $179,000. >> that beats flo's wildest expectations. >> i was just hoping to clear my mortgage, actually. >> so basically, the money that you'll get from your family card will help you defer the cost of taking care of mom and dad. >> almost to the penny. >> are you resolved now that whatever happened
in the past is the past? >> absolutely. >> it worked out okay? >> i'm very happy. >> so is steve strommer, that he and flo are friends again. >> we're like brother and sister, basically. you know, she comes in. we'll go through a little bit of genealogy, find what happened to archibald mcmahon. >> and maybe someday they'll even figure out which one of these guys really is old uncle archie. so what ever became of the old brooklyn atlantic dynasty? up until 1869, all the players were amateurs. two years later, the national association of professional base ball players was formed. but the atlantics couldn't afford the cost of the new league, so they didn't join. some of their best players took a walk and signed up with pro teams. i don't get to walk. i got to hit the ball. all right. let's send one down the pike. let's see what you got.
oh. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> it stands in the way. >> it's just her house in the middle of the block. >> she won't sell out. >> the 84-year-old seen here turned down $1 million payout. >> he's caught in the middle. >> i promised her that i wouldn't let them take her away. >> that's a really big promise. >> what's "up" with that? >> people from all over the country and even around the world have stopped by this house. >> they put balloons on the house, and that's how it became the "up" house. >> it is amazing. i can't believe that she held out. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and da