tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business January 5, 2019 4:00am-5:00am EST
thank you for joining us. ♪ is ♪ >> talk about getting the keys to the city. they walk around like they own the place. >> sounds like you're the unofficial mayor of this town. >> well, that's one of my hats. >> guess what? they do. >> your dad bought the whole neighborhood? >> yes. the whole town. >> it is a real community. very close-knit. >> i was told i was born here, but i was too young to remember. >> they never thought they'd live to see this day. >> makes me sad. i don't want to have to move. >> when is the last time you got a listing for a whole town? >> never. >> will the heirs take the cash and let the bulldozers in? >> if you did sell, where would those people go? [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]
[ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby in western pennsylvania, turning into the village of reduction. i'm here because a viewer wrote me to say this whole place is his strange inheritance. >> my name is david stawovy. when my parents passed away, my siblings and i inherited a town. >> hi, david. i'm jamie colby. >> hello, jamie. welcome to the town of reduction. >> you wrote me you inherited a town? this is it? >> this is part of it. >> david and his three siblings' inheritance encompasses 75 acres of hills, farmland, and forest nestled along the youghiogheny river. the town, population 60, stretches out along reduction road, which leads into reduction circle, and an area called "the village," a collection of 19 houses. >> and the house right in front
of me is the house that my father decided to purchase, and that's where i lived when i was one year old. he wanted only one, but the people that was selling it asked him if he wanted to buy them all. so he ended up buying them all. >> your dad bought the whole neighborhood? >> yes, the whole town in 1948. >> but david's ahead of our story. it starts some 40 years before his dad became king of this hill. at the turn of the century, the town is owned by the american reduction company, which runs a bustling plant that recycles and reduces garbage shipped in from nearby pittsburgh. >> and the factory was directly behind you, down over the hill. they only had to walk down a set of steps, and they were at work. >> reduction was what was known as a company town, one of more than 2,000 communities wholly owned by one corporation or another that pop up across america in the late 1800s. >> ♪ you load sixteen tons
♪ what do you get? ♪ another day older and deeper in debt ♪ >> a number-one hit, "sixteen tons" by tennessee ernie ford makes company towns sound like woeful places to live. >> ♪ i owe my soul to the company store ♪ ♪ >> but that song topped the charts in 1955, long after almost all the company towns closed, and their story is more nuance than old tennessee ernie is letting on. history professor ed meena. who did it benefit more -- the company or the employees? >> the company had a steady force of workers at their disposal, but it gave the workers an opportunity to find their own life and their own future. >> company towns make it possible for workers to take the jobs in the new post-civil war industries located near natural resources
like coal, lumber, iron, and oil. >> it was you came on the railroad, dropped off, went to work. >> were the people that lived in these company towns proud to work for the company, or is it a little indentured servitude? >> a little bit of both. the company was run for profit, and the workers, in many instances, were very expendable, but some of the company towns were a little bit better, and workers were given the opportunity to have some leisure time. there were activities, religious instruction, athletics. >> reduction, p.a., comes to life in 1910 with the opening of the american reduction plant. it's known as "the town that garbage built." >> all the garbage from pittsburgh, and they brought it out, and they ran it through a processing plant, and they separated the copper, aluminum, or whatever metals. they made soap. they made fertilizer.
>> and how many workers did reduction need that it made sense for them to build a company town? >> well, i think at their heyday, they had 400 people living in reduction. they had three shifts. it worked 24/7. >> in 1920, david's grandparents, polish immigrants valentine and johanna stawovy, settle near reduction and start a dairy farm to supply milk, eggs, cheese, and produce to reduction. they become its company store. is that the farm? >> yes, this is a shot of my grandfather and my grandmother and all the siblings. >> how big was this farm? >> he bought like 100 acres, and then he bought another 100 acres. he bought up a lot of different farms. >> that's a substantial dairy farm. >> well, he had four sons, and his daughter worked there, and so he had his own workforce. >> one member of that workforce, david's father, john stawovy. born in 1922, he grows up milking cows, working the fields, and attending school
with the rest of the reduction kids at this one-room schoolhouse. by then, american workers are starting to enjoy the economic advances that will bring the era of company towns to a close -- rising worker incomes, mass-produced cars, widely available home financing. they get a taste of a better life. >> oh, absolutely. workers have a higher standard of living because of their union contracts. they actually get paid time off. they get a little bit of a pension. >> in 1936, a larger garbage plant opens in pittsburgh. american reduction closes the plant here, and reduction becomes a ghost town. when reduction closed, what happened to the people living in those houses? >> people were devastated. that was their livelihood. >> the stawovy family dairy, nevertheless, thrives. in 1948, david's father is newly married and looking
for a starter home. he approaches the american reduction company to purchase one of the houses in the old neighborhood. >> he said, "what's the price?," and he gave him the price, and then he said to my father, "instead of buying one, why don't you buy them all?" >> how much? >> $10,000. >> did he have the money? >> no. he borrowed it. >> he saw it as an investment? >> oh, yes. >> david's parents rent out the 18 vacant homes and move into this 600-square-foot house just like the others. here they start a family. david is born in 1949, followed by sisters jacque, cheryl, and brother jan. >> it was very close-knit, and, as i recall, it was very happy. >> jacque recalls a childhood spent playing with the other kids in the village. >> we loved to ice-skate on the pond that was right next to the dairy. before we went ice-skating, we would go into the dairy and get hot chocolate.
>> time stands still in good ways and, well, not so good ways. >> all the houses had outhouses. they didn't have indoor plumbing. once a year, they had to be cleaned, and my father would have me going out with him and hold the flashlight when he would do his duty. >> we would do whatever he asked us to do. whether it be painting, scrubbing, we all had a hand in it. >> the kids grow up, move away, and begin their own careers. for the next six decades, with support from their mother, dad runs the old company town from top to bottom. >> my dad did it for years all by himself, and he was incredible. >> but when the landlord, town engineer, and public works chief needs to retire from office, his son david is about to find out that being lord of the manor isn't all it's cracked up to be. >> you get a call 2, 3, 4 o'clock in the morning. it's my responsibility. >> here's a "strange inheritance" quiz question...
♪don't tell me it's not worth trying for♪ ♪you know it's true ♪everything i do ♪i do it for you ♪yeah, i would fight for you♪ ♪i'd lie for you ♪walk the wire for you ♪yeah, i'd die for you ♪you know it's true ♪everything i do ♪i do it for you ♪ >> so, a strike begun at what company town led to the creation of labor day? it's "b." in 1894, after their wages
were cut in half, workers at the pullman railcar company in illinois walked out, leading to a nationwide strike. in response, president grover cleveland approved the federal holiday of labor day. ♪ >> hard to believe this beautiful western pennsylvania hamlet is known as "the town that garbage built," but it's true. the village of reduction dates back to 1910, a company town of the american reduction plant, trash processor for nearby pittsburgh. the plant closes in the '30s, but local dairy farmer john stawovy buys the whole spread in 1948 and runs the town, home to about 60 people. >> i was told i was born here, but i was too young to remember. >> walter willie klorczyk grew up in reduction in the 1950s. what was it like living here? >> well, it was country. you're exposed to all kinds
of animals and bugs and stuff, and you get used to living in the country. >> were the neighbors close? >> very close. i mean, close enough where you couldn't do anything wrong without coming home and finding out that everybody knew about it. >> for willie, reduction will always hold a little piece of childhood magic. >> there was never a streetlight here, and i remember one time we laid down and looked up at the sky, and realized there's more than just a few stars up there. >> for the next 60 years into the early 2000's, john stawovy and his wife, amelia, not only run the town, but maintain its characteristic charm. >> when the people would come to pay the rent, it was like a friend arrived. sometimes my mother would invite them in to have tea or coffee or feed them. they were all very kind to my parents. >> but when their father enters his 80s and begins to suffer from dementia, david, now a retired schoolteacher,
finds himself more involved with all the day-to-day duties. was there some point when your dad got ill and you realized you'd have to take over all of the responsibility? >> i was there with my father, helped him throughout all the years, and now, for the last five years, i had to really take care of him. >> in 2014, david's father dies of heart failure. two years later, his mom passes away. david's named executor of the estate. >> my father chose me. it's an honor that my dad thought that much of me for me to be responsible enough to take care of his family. what's in his will i will do. whether i agree with it or not, i will do what my father asked, and that's -- i feel it's an honor. >> for david, it's also an honor to keep the town running just as his parents did for more than 60 years. sounds like you're the unofficial mayor of this town.
>> well, that's one of my hats -- one of them. >> what other things do you have to do? >> sewage officer, plumber, electrician -- you know, i do it all, whatever needs done. >> do you have the expertise to do all that? >> i do probably 98% of the work myself, and my family helps, also. one of the worst things we had recently, one of the main waterlines broke in the middle of the road. >> david's not the only family member on the clock. >> since i retired, it's kind of my job now. my husband and i do the bookwork, and we make all the deposits. i do all of the leases. >> for their work, the siblings earn hourly wages. then at the end of the year, each typically receives an additional $15,000, profit from the rental income. don't you think you should be making more money for all this? >> $15,000 is not a lot of money, but it's something. i'm happy with that. >> david and his siblings are happy about something else, too -- the community that they've
helped to perpetuate. tight-knit? >> oh, yeah. >> what kind of things do they do for each other? >> well, like sometimes when they have to leave, they'll watch their children or they'll say, "pick up my child when they get off the bus till i get off work." >> kate and larry blasko have lived in reduction for two years. you came and looked at it... >> came and looked at it, and we said, "we want to rent it." >> and why not? these homes are perfect for a couple of empty-nesters. ♪ look at this kitchen, okay? i could totally make magic here. you got the sink, you got a beautiful stove, you have this huge refrigerator -- it all fits -- and if you want to have breakfast in the house? right here. you got a whole seating arrangement, storage. isn't it darling? it's such a cute house. you guys like living here? >> we love it. >> love it. >> what's the best part? >> just being alone and the wildlife and quiet. >> quiet. >> what are you missing? >> nothing.
>> traffic. >> yeah. >> missing traffic. >> it's a pretty friendly and quiet little town, but maybe not for much longer. when is the last time you got a listing for a whole town? >> never. >> what's david asking? >> here's another quiz question for you... the answer when we return. i switched to liberty mutual because they let me customize my insurance, and as a fitness junkie, i customize everything. like my bike and my calves. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
a hotel, water spa, and championship golf course. ♪ >> after inheriting the old company town of reduction, pennsylvania, from their parents in 2016, retired schoolteacher david stawovy and his siblings have been busy keeping the town up and running. but heavy are the heads that share the town. so as they reach retirement age, they decide to put the entire village up for sale. what was it that finally made you say, "out"? >> my wife and i want to travel. my sisters want to travel. you're tied down. you're never at peace. >> when is the last time you got a listing for a whole town? >> never. [ both laugh ] >> debbie dattalo is the listing agent. what's david asking? >> 1.5. >> 1.5...? >> million. >> is that a good price? >> i believe it's a fair price,
and everything's negotiable. >> how would you describe this property? >> it's unbelievable land, and the history of it, i think, is even more amazing. >> what do properties around here sell for? >> the market is growing, so my expectations are only going up because of the growth that will be happening in the next couple of years here. >> if the heirs get their asking price, split four ways, they'd each receive 375k. where's the value -- where we're standing right now, in these houses, in the river, the neighborhood? >> i believe it's the land. this is very difficult to find this amount of land in a parcel like this. >> other than what it is right now, what could this property become? >> i think it could be a housing development. i still have in my mind that it could be a recreational space. >> news travels fast in a small town, so it's no secret to the residents that their time
in reduction, p.a., could be dwindling away. >> makes me sad. >> i don't want to have to move. >> it's a decision the residents may be forced to make sooner than they'd like. >> i did have an offer already. >> what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. when you think of miami you
think of,you know,rich,glamour but 5 miles away from the beach there's people who have never seen a beach. i was confused why somebody was in this situation especially in america. ♪music:oooh,oooh,oooh so when i started joshua's heart foundation it was a key thing to be able to engage youth in the foundation. to help them participate. ♪music:oooh,oooh,oooh i think passing on the torch and lighting a new flame in another person to do good is probably the point of the bigger missions i have. ♪music:aha,aha,aha
so we are each making a bigger difference. ♪music:oooh,oooh,oooh that's it! just giving back and producing love for everybody. ♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." ♪ >> david stawovy and his three siblings have just put up for sale the tiny former company town, reduction, p.a., that their family has owned and run for 70 years. while they're excited about the prospect of selling, they're uncomfortable with the thought of uprooting the town's 60 residents. >> why do you care so much? >> i just like people, that's all. i try to give them a good -- you know, it's a reasonable place to live.
i try to give that to them. >> if you did sell, where would those people go? >> well, i promised them if i sold that i would give them one year to find a place to live. >> not everybody's going to agree. they may want to take possession and tear them down immediately. >> i know, but i told them. i made a promise. i'm a man of my word. >> i don't want to have to move. >> you know that he is looking for a buyer, but only a buyer that would be willing to let people stay here for a period of time? >> yes. >> that seems pretty unusual in america. >> well, it is. >> everybody's after that buck. you're right. i give him a lot of respect for that. >> we're hoping that someone will come along and run it just the way we did and maybe even make it better. >> just a month after putting the town on the market in october 2016, david gets a call from a prospective buyer. what would they do with the property? >> there's a big mound that's a high point where you could see for miles. he wanted to build a mansion up on top of it. >> ooh. the offer comes in at $800,000,
well below the $1.5 million asking price. but the real deal-breaker for the family is that reduction would be reduced to nothing. what's it like to have a client who's a little bit hesitant to sell? >> i think my business is about emotions, and sometimes people are emotionally tied to their real estate, and i understand that. this property is still important to them, and i think that will be important when we find the right buyer to know the love that went into the houses and also the people that lived here. >> walking around reduction, i realize that while houses, roads, street signs, and water mains can put a town on the map, it's people that make it a community, like larry, kate, and willie, and all the others who've lived in these brick houses and populated the old company town with plain old good company. it's no wonder that even with big money on the table,
david and his siblings say they're determined not to let the people of reduction down. where are you going to find somebody that will buy this property and treat these people with the respect that you have? >> i hope there's somebody out there. >> what's the upside for them? >> to want to take care of people and for the love of man. ♪ >> remember how the stawovy family dairy provided the residents and workers of reduction with food and supplies? well, it turns out there was one popular farm product old grandpa valentine sold on the side -- moonshine. david tells me his gramps ran a secret still right on the farm -- even did a little time behind bars when he was caught. of course, after a long day in the garbage factory, i can understand the workers in the old company town wanting a little cocktail.
i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> on a cool spring evening in north carolina... [ tires screech, crash ] ...a car crash kills a renowned coin collector. he's carrying the crown jewel of his collection. but is it really one of the rarest and most valuable coins in the world or a clever fake? >> i just imagine she's sitting there saying to me, "they say i'm not real. what do you think?" >> half a century passes before the man's heirs -- and the public -- learn the truth about his precious cargo. >> we sat there on pins and needles, and then the numbers started climbing. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
>> i'm jamie colby. today i'm in picturesque roanoke, virginia. the name "roanoke" is believed to come from an algonquin word that means "shell money," which is very appropriate to the story of this strange inheritance. >> my name is ryan givens. in 1992, my mother, melva givens, died at the age of 79. as executor of her estate, i found a lock box in her closet which contained a strange envelope. >> ryan, this is the box? >> this is the box that she kept it in in her bedroom closet, and she kept it along with other things in this envelope right here. >> so, it says, "this is a changed date," and what else does it -- "not real"? >> not the real one. >> "changed date," "not real," "1913."
melva's terse note reflects what she'd been told about the coin inside -- that it's a clever fake of one of the rarest and most valuable coins ever minted -- the 1913 liberty head 5-cent piece. coin expert and auctioneer paul montgomery wrote a book about the nickels. >> from 1883 to 1912, the liberty head nickel was the design that the u.s. was using for commerce. it was in 1912 that they made the decision to move on to the next design, which was the buffalo nickel. at the end of 1912, they really should have stopped making liberty nickels. instead, somebody made five before the dies were destroyed. >> the five nickels are legal tender, but the u.s. treasury has no record of them. >> samuel brown was a mint employee at the time when the coins were transitioned from the liberty head nickel to the buffalo nickel. there's a lot of speculation that sam brown was the one that actually had them made and put them away.
>> five specimens make their first appearance in chicago at a 1920 convention. the seller -- surprise, surprise -- samuel brown. >> it was seven years later. the statute of limitations had passed for any crime that might have been committed, and so, all of a sudden, there is a huge story that five coins that had never existed were now gonna be at the chicago coin club show. >> four years later, all five coins are purchased by a single wealthy collector for $2,000. it's not until the early 1940s, in st. louis, that the set of five nickels is sold in public again. egypt's king farouk scoops one up for his collection, and, the following year, so does a prominent coin collector from roanoke, virginia -- ryan givens' uncle george walton. enter the enigmatic benefactor of our strange inheritance. ryan, tell me more about uncle george. >> i like to refer to him as a
professional collector. he had a pretty decent stamp collection. he had books, almanacs, but coins were his main thing. >> truth be told, ryan doesn't know his uncle george well, and neither, it seems, does anyone else. he's a lifelong bachelor and successful estate appraiser, a job that keeps him constantly on the move. he lives in a series of hotels from north carolina to florida. exactly how walton came to acquire his 1913 nickel is equally murky. the most oft-told story is that in 1946, he trades $3,750 worth of gold for the rare nickel. the seller, the story goes, may or may not be an heir to the camel cigarette fortune. >> it was said a member of the tobacco reynolds family, so we can assume that it may have been r.j. reynolds. >> however he acquires it, the
1913 nickel gives walton a special status on the coin-show circuit. >> it was a calling card of sorts because if you were one of the owners of a 1913 nickel, you were an important collector. >> walton plays the role of swaggering, inscrutable collector to the hilt. once he's seen nonchalantly flipping his famous nickel! wasn't he worried about scratching it? his reply -- "no, because it's a fake." >> the reason being since it's a valuable coin, he used it for display rather than the real one. >> he promises to display the real one at a show in wilson, north carolina, where he's a headliner. with about $250,000 worth of rare coins, he sets out on the drive from roanoke to wilson. nowadays you'd be in some sort of, like, armored truck! >> that's how things were back then. you would never see that today, but wilson was having their first show, so it was going to
be a big deal. >> it's march 9, 1962. >> he was almost within the town limits... [ tires screech, crash ] ...when he was hit by a lady that was driving a car. apparently, she had been drinking. he was killed instantly. >> george walton was 55 years old. he dies without a will, so his siblings name a bank in roanoke to act as his executor. what was the process? >> the bank sent letters to every bank that they knew in north carolina and virginia and said, "do you have anything there that belongs to george walton?" >> once all his collections are reassembled and catalogued, the family gets some shocking news that also stuns coin aficionados around the world -- george walton's 1913 liberty nickel... is declared a fake.
it's "a," martha washington, who appeared on the $1 silver certificate in 1886. >> on his way to a north carolina coin show in march 1962, eccentric coin collector george walton dies in a car crash. it's front-page news in the coin world. >> george walton was a respected numismatist. he put together one of the greatest collections of all time. the executor calls in stack's, a new york city auction house, to appraise george's coin collection. >> so stack's sent a man to evaluate and catalogue all the coins. it took approximately two to three weeks. >> how much did the family get for what was sold? >> the total came to over $850,000. it set a record for an individual collection. >> it would have been even
more -- maybe $60,000 more -- if not for the stunning pronouncement that walton's prized 1913 nickel is... a phony! because the "3" in "1913" is unlike any font used by the u.s. mint, stack's concludes the date has been altered. >> there were so many altered dates out there that it wasn't difficult to take another liberty head coin, such as a 1910, and alter the zero to make it look like a 3. >> in fact, walton has a number of suspect currencies in his collection -- so many that the bank feels it needs to notify the secret service. >> the secret service came and took some of the items that he had because they were either counterfeit, altered, or illegal to own. >> stack's declared the nickel a fake, but the secret service said, "keep it, it's okay"? >> it was not totally illegal to have an altered date, but if you tried to sell it to someone,
that was illegal. >> the secret service returns the nickel but warns the family never to try to pass it off as the real mccoy. in the meantime, george walton's reputation as an esteemed coin collector takes a posthumous beating. >> it was just a piece of junk, so it was put in with the odds and ends, so my mom picked out the 1913. she was born in 1913, so that could have been a reason. my other thought was she wanted it put away permanently, and that's what she did. >> to protect his reputation? >> right -- in other words, try to keep it from getting any worse. >> melva givens never wavers in her belief that her brother george had the real nickel somewhere in his vast coin collection, but she accepts that the one in her closet really is a fake. >> she had some coin magazines, newspaper articles, that kind of kept up with other 1913s, so she knew he had it. she just couldn't find it.
>> she's not the only one who's looking. everyone in coin-collecting circles is wondering where the vanished nickel has gone. some assume it must still be by the side of the road where walton crashed and show up at that spot with metal detectors. over the decades, the nickel enters into american cultural lore. it's even the subject of tv episodes on "hawaii five-o" and "the hardy boys." then, in 1992, melva passes away at the age of 79. >> i was executor of her estate, so it was up to me, of course, to go through what she had and split things up between my brother and my sisters. she had a box of items in her closet, and i got the box out. the nickel was there. >> ryan takes the envelope with the nickel in it and places it
on his nightstand. >> i used to look at it late at night, and one time i just imagined she's sitting there saying to me, "they say i'm not real. what do you think?" >> with each passing year, the 1913 liberty legend grows, and so does the value of the four confirmed specimens. in 1996, one becomes the first coin to sell for over $1 million. then in april 2003, a cub reporter on a local feature assignment sparks the most stunning turn of events ever in the coin world. everything the experts thought they knew about the most famous coin in the world was wrong. >> i wasn't looking to find the million-dollar nickel. i was looking to tell a good story. >> that's next on "strange inheritance." >> for this "strange inheritance" quiz question, you might want to get up close to your television set. one of the coins you're looking
>> take one more look. can you tell which is the real 1913 liberty head nickel? it's "b." stay tuned to find out why. >> one of the five super-rare 1913 liberty head nickels has been missing for decades, ever since george walton's was declared a fake after his death in a car crash in 1962. 41 years later, in 2003,
paul montgomery's company is trying to come up with a way to raise excitement for a coin show that summer in baltimore. >> our publicist remembered that it was the 90th anniversary of the making of the 1913 nickel. we thought it would be a nice thing to have a reunion for all the coins. >> that prompts another brainstorm. what about a $1 million reward for that fifth nickel, regardless of the condition it was in? i said, "well, sure. i guess i'd pay a million bucks even if it had a hole in it'. >> the press picks up on the story, and within days, a reader of the roanoke times calls the newsroom suggesting a local angle. >> somebody said he knew george walton when he lived in roanoke. we had our research librarian at the roanoke times start digging up information on mr. walton's relatives. >> adams' research leads him to ryan givens. >> ryan knew about the nickel. he didn't know about the million-dollar reward. >> adams' pursuit of a good story sets in motion a series of
extraordinary events. >> mason adams also contacted the editor of coin world. she asked him if he knew where the altered-date coin was. so, she finally got in contact with me and said, "we'd like to have that altered-date coin on display in baltimore." >> ryan's uninterested in dredging up the bogus walton nickel tale. but that 90-year-old lady is calling out to him again. >> so i asked my brother and my sisters if it was okay to take it up there, and they said fine with them. >> wow. did you think to yourself, "what if it's real?" >> you always wonder, but i wanted more to find it was real for uncle george because it was basically his reputation. >> on july 30, 2003, he drives from roanoke, virginia, to baltimore and meets with his siblings to show paul montgomery the nickel. >> i was ready to tell them that their coin wasn't genuine, but,
at the same time, you always want to meet someone that has history in the business. >> but once he has the coin in his hand, paul montgomery does a double-take. he was expecting to see a fake, but this doesn't look like a fake. paul invites jeff garrett, a numismatist with a pedigree as solid as his own, and four other experts to assess the nickel's authenticity. >> he says, "i think we found the coin" and i was like, "wow! that's almost like goosebumps stuff," you know? >> they were the coin experts, and you try to get some indication from their expression as to whether it's real or not, but they didn't really show any, so i was a little nervous. >> this convention holds an unprecedented opportunity that stack's auction house didn't have in 1963 -- to compare george walton's nickel with the four others that had already been authenticated. >> we spent 45 minutes talking about the different nuances of
the coin. >> the experts hone in on that strange "3." what shocks them is that it's identical on all five coins! >> it took a long time, but, finally, paul called us over. they had all decided... that it was real. >> the very defect that caused stack's to declare walton's nickel phony proves, four decades later, that it has to be real. what's more, its mint condition and incredible story make it worth much more than the million-dollar bounty montgomery was offering. >> i am the only dealer in the history of our industry that has gotten to tell a family who thought they had nothing that they indeed had millions of dollars, and that is the best thing that happened to me in my career. >> the givens are newly minted
millionaires. >> it was almost like having a lottery ticket. >> all they need to do is cash in -- but not so fast! that's next on "strange inheritance." i switched to liberty mutual because they let me customize my insurance, and as a fitness junkie, i customize everything. like my bike and my calves. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> in july 2003, ryan givens and his siblings find out that the strange inheritance they thought was fake is real and they can cash in for millions. >> it was very clear to me that this was a family that was not interested in selling the coin. ryan will tell you he would much rather have the coin because he loved having it in the family. >> they don't have the money to insure the coin, so they loan it to the american numismatic association, which displays it at its museum in colorado springs. then, in 2013, the liberty head nickel's 100th birthday is approaching.
>> we started to realize, "hey, we're not getting any younger." we knew we'd have to sell it, and it was part of my mom's estate, so any one of us couldn't hold on to it. >> paul montgomery introduces the givens to greg rohan, c.e.o. of heritage auctions, the world's largest coin auction house. >> the 1913 nickel is arguably one of the most famous coins there is, so for the opportunity to handle one is like a paintings collector getting the mona lisa. >> $1,000. >> heritage sets a date of april 25, 2013, in chicago -- fitting, since that's where the five liberty head nickels were first revealed back in 1920. >> the auction shut down and said, "now we're gonna prepare for this very, very special offering," so we sat there on pins and needles, and then the numbers start climbing. >> $180,000. now $190,000. bid $190,000. >> then jeff garrett, one of the experts who helped authenticate the nickel in 2003, decides to
place his own bid with another collector, larry lee. >> i was sitting in the audience, and i send a text to larry. i said, "larry, this coin's gonna to sell in about 15 minutes." i said, "last chance to bid," kind of almost half jokingly, and he calls me. he says, "what do you think it'll bring?" and i bid $2.1 million. >> jeff and larry bid against another collector as the price rises by $100,000 each bid. jeff and larry win the auction. how much did they pay for the nickel? >> the total price on it came to $3.2 million. >> it was almost a surreal experience, really, 'cause from a personal perspective, it was kind of like my everest. it was like the chance to handle one of the few great coins in numismatics. >> larry lee, now the nickel's sole owner, puts it on display at this coin shop in
panama city, florida. the givens siblings split the net proceeds four ways and donate $100,000 to the american numismatic association in honor of uncle george. any regret in not waiting to sell it for more money? >> if you hold on to it, it'll keep growing and growing, but how long do you think you're gonna live to enjoy it? >> although the mystery of the walton nickel is solved, george himself made noises about knowing of a sixth 1913 liberty head nickel out there somewhere. in fact, we can't know for sure how many 1913 liberties were minted. think about that if you inherit some of grandpa's old stuff. there could be gold in those drawers or sofa cushions. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance," and 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 e-mail or go to our website -- strangeinheritance.com. bartiromo's week begins right now. ♪ >> welcome to maria bartiromo's wall street that helps position you for the hybrid i'm in for maria. average founder and former white house community director anthony security is my special guest and later initial my foxbusiness all-star is here to talk about everything that matters to your money. turning to first job report of the new year. blockbuster one. us economy added 312,000 jobs in the month of december and on up limit rate did pick up slightly higher before present