tv Trish Regan Primetime FOX Business June 22, 2019 2:00am-3:00am EDT
exhaust their appeals rights and they still defy the law. this is an operation that has to happen. david: you can catch >> three brothers, one strange picture. >> i always thought, why did we have a painting like that in our dining room? >> it stirs up the sale of the century. >> $750. do have $750 right her. >> oh, my god. i'm thinking, what is this? >> are you thinking that thele g a mistake, or they know something that you don't? >> they know something that i don't.'ll take you $300,000. >> it was a complete shock. >> $830,000. >> he said, "amy, it was a rembrandt." >> not so fast. >> so, it is possible that this thing turns out not to be? >> totally. [ applause ] [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]
[ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, heading toward the garden state parkway. i'm meeting a couple of jersey boys who had an old painting in the basement. could it really be a rembrandt? think you're heard a stranger "inheritance" story? forget about it! >> i'm ned landau. neither i, nor my brothers, roger, and steven, had any idea that our mother had left us something so valuable. >> neither did the auction guy up the highway. >> but people around the world were watching. >> hi. how are you guys? i'm jamie. >> hi, jamie.e to new jersey. >> thanks for coming out on such a rainy day. ned, steven, and roger landau grew up here in north jersey, just outside of new york city. >> two parents, three boys, on a street where there's lots of other kids. >> our father had a small
chemical company. they made coatings and industrial finishes. >> three boys can't be easy for your mom. what was she like? >> she was an expert yoga professional, and this was well before yoga was a thing. my mother was almost like a flower child. >> lyla landau was raised in paterson, new jersey, known in the earliest 20th century as silk city, due to its flourishing fabric industry. >> a lot of jewish textile workers who were escaping persecution in eastern europe all came to paterson. as the american dream goes, many of them ended up owning silk companies, and our grandfather was one of them. >> grandpa phil makes his fortune in the silk trade, but then loses it after the great depression. the last remnants of mom's family wealth, a silver collection, some fine china,
and half-a-dozen paintings hanging throughout the house. >> we had art on the walls of our house, and i can't say i particularly appreciated it. >> there's a venetian cityscape hanging over the couch, and a large parisian street scene. the eldest brother ned always wondered about another one of the paintings. >> what was the painting of? >> somebody in a chair, passed out, and there was two people trying to revive the passed out person. >> that could freak a kid out,r. >> i remember thanksgiving or family holidays, i would always look at that painting and think -- >> really? i never even noticed it. [ laughs ] >> yes, it was there. i always looked at it as a kid, because i thought, why did we have a painting like that in our dining room? >> that painting and the others remained on the walls of the family house for decades. mom dies in 2010
at the age of 80. a year later, their dad walter passes away. when the landau brothers inherit their parents' home in 2011, they follow the standard drill for liquidating a family estate. >> we had a garage sale. but there were a few things, like the china and some silver things that looked very nice, and we thought, well, we don't really want to just give 'em away like that. >> so mom's good stuff goes into the "save" pile. four years later, the landau brothers finally decide to have a long overdue estate sale, and what happens next is incredible, even for "strange inheritance." >> i got a phone call from roger, and he said, "are you sitting down?" >> here's a "strange inheritance" quiz question. before it was silk city, paterson was called "the cradle of the industrial revolution in america. who put the city on the map?
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hydropower of the passaic river's great falls to secure economic independence from british manufacturers. >> by 2015 in new jersey, the landau brothers have been storing stuff left from their parents' estate in roger's basement for four years. >> it was in the way of the ping pong table, and he wanted to, apparently, clear out some space. >> roger decides to take action before his table tennis game gets too rusty. >> i got around to calling an auctioneer, someone whose name i saw advertised on the side of the garden state parkway. >> john nye is the auction guy. >> so i said, listen, i'll stop and see you on my way to work. >> nye liquidates estates, some big fortunes like luther vandross and perry como's, and a lot of more modest ones like the landaus. you went to his house, what'd you see? >> he takes me down to the
basement. my initial reaction was, i was loving the silver. the paintings were beautiful, but not remarkable. >> nye schleps the stuff over to his auction house to examine each piece and price it for sale. he values some of those silver pieces, which roger was optimistic about, for a few hundred dollars each, and a sterling centerpiece bowl at about $2,000. >> you have a couple of interesting things. >> it's a nice group. >> tchotchkes. >> bingo. >> nye estimates the signed painting of a parisian boulevard could fetch about 500 bucks. not bad. he titles the unsigned smelling salts painting, "triple portrait with lady fainting," and describes it as "continental school, 19th century." >> it's got varnish that has crazed and crackled, and paint loss on the board.
it's not a beautiful painting, and the people sitting in the picture are not beautiful people. it was remarkably unremarkable. >> nye estimates the 9x7-inch picture is worth, say, $500. the heirs aren't even counting on that. >> we thought, if anything, the silver would have some value. >> when the auction day arrives in september 2015, a few bidders phone in. that's when the folks at the new jersey auction house realize there's probably something up with that remarkably unremarkable painting. >> it was just solid bidding, back and forth, back and forth. >> here's another quiz question for you. was rembrandt, the 17th century dutch master's...? the answer when we return. ♪you know i got it
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>> he was known simply as "rembrandt." so where did that name come from? it's the first name of dutch master rembrandt van rijn. >> in september 2015, in northern new jersey, the three landau brothers are auctioning off some family valuables. >> i guess, to a certain extent, it was just taking care of our parents' estate. >> if i get my, you know, few hundred dollars, i'll be extremely happy. >> their expectations are so modest, they don't even attend the sale. it happens that the auction falls right at the end of the jewish high holidays. >> it was yom kippur. and i'm not terribly observant, but i don't answer my phone. and i even forgot when the auction was happening.
>> expectations are also modest for auctioneer john nye, who's combined the brothers' items with inventory from a few other estate sales. >> we do press releases, we do advertising. it goes online for a two-week period, so people see what's being offered in the sale. >> did anyone express an unusual amount of attention to any of the items? >> no. >> a few days before the auction, three international bidders do express interest in lot 216, the "triple portrait." >> one called from london, one called from paris, and one called from germany. not particularly unusual. all they requested was the opportunity to be on the phone for that specific lot. >> john's wife kathy speaks to the mystery bidder from france. >> we're never allowed to use the phone bidder's name, because they don't want anyone else knowing who it is that we're calling. >> nye employee amy ludlow
gets a curious inkling about her german bidder. >> he said, "i just want you to know that it's really important, and i'm going to win this." >> auction day, september 22nd. john nye breezes through the first bunch of lots in about 45 minutes. the landau family's sterling silver centerpiece bowl sells for $2,100. that parisian street scene, $300. >> okay, our next lot is lot 216. >> then comes lot 216, "triple portrait with lady fainting." it's the one that used to hang in the family dining room, that the young landau boys thought was rather unappetizing. how much was the reserve? >> the estimate was $500-to-$800, and so the opening bid was $250. >> $250, right here. $500 is... >> ready to pounce, any's bidder from germany. >> my bidder definitely wanted to jump in right away. >> us right here, $500. >> so do a half-dozen other bidders.
>> $750. >> it reaches the high $800 estimate, and passes it. then kathy's french phone bidder enters the competition. >> he was a cool cucumber. he was so calm. every time i presented a bid, he would say, "yes." >> and all of a sudden, said, "$5,000," and, man, that happened in no time. >> everyone started creeping back into the sales room, and the bidding just kept going. >> the bidding rises to $80,000, then 100 grand. >> the guy from england gets blown out, and it's going back and forth between kathy, my wife, and amy. >> are you thinking that the people on the phone are making a mistake, or they know something that you don't? >> they know something that i don't. >> when it got up into the $100,000s, i just went, "oh, my gosh!", like this, and just kind of... >> $200,000. then amy's german bidder ups the ante.
>> $300,000. >> i'll take you $300,000. >> amy's bidder from germany jumps it to $300,000, and now i'm really smiling. >> kathy's frenchman is unfazed. he jumps the bidding to 400 grand. >> "we're at $450,000. would you like to bid?" "yes, bid." >> $500,000. >> i was in disbelief. [ laughs ] >> and the bids keep coming in steady increments to $600,000, then $700,000. >> $800,000 is the next bid. $800,000 right here. >> i was just writing down my bids. [ laughs ] >> $830,000. >> trying to keep it together. and my fellow from france, all he said was, "yes." >> i do have $860,000. >> finally, at $860,000, germany surrenders. >> he bowed out. >> sold! >> the painting goes to kathy's anonymous phone bidder in france, with commission, for $1,100,000.
vive la france! ♪ best day in your auctioneer history? >> personal best, absolutely. it was so fun. >> but hang on, how could this odd painting that spent decades in a new jersey dining room, unnoticed and unremarked upon, be worth a million bucks? amy gets clued in by her losing german bidder. >> he said, "amy, it was a rembrandt." he said, "i've been looking for this painting my whole adult professional career." >> rembrandt? the rembrandt? the 17th century dutch master who liked to paint himself? how could that be? it's not every day a real rembrandt just pops up out of nowhere in jersey. >> in jersey? >> in jersey. in bloomfield, new jersey. >> where, this whole time, the landau brothers have been observing yom kippur, the jewish "day of atonement," with their phones turned off. >> maybe one, two days after
yom kippur, i returned his call. and i said, "oh, so how'd the auction go?", he said, "well, it actually went quite well." >> and your reaction is? >> i think i actually might've used some profanity. >> when roger called me and told me the amount, and i was -- my jaw just dropped. >> that's the one from the dining room, the one thatd you . >> that was it, yeah. >> it's now your favorite painting. >> right, that's one of rembrandt's best. >> well, in retrospect, john, was it within your scope to know that it's a rembrandt? >> that's a good question. i don't think so. because there was no indication that it was by a master. >> and at this point, no proof yet, either. that's right, despite that million dollar-plus bid, no one has actually verified whether the painting really is a rembrandt. so it is possible that the dealer may have gone all the way with this thing, and it turns out not to be? >> totally.
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it can open up amazing possibilities. i learned how to swim. well done, well done. the usa swimming foundation, saving lives and building champions. >> now, back to, "strange inheritance." >> in bloomfield, new jersey... >> sold! >> ...the hammer has just fallen on this curious painting, described as "triple portrait with lady fainting," for $1,100,000. auctioneer john nye is still reeling from the news that the art world believes it's a rembrandt. congratulations. >> thank you. i'm still smiling. >> how remarkable does this unremarkable painting now become? >> it's remarkable in the sense that it's not the type of dramatically lit individuals with the big hats and the ribbon collars that you see, and you just know, boom, that's a rembrandt. >> it's soon revealed that the winning phone bidder for the landau brothers' strange
inheritance is a french art dealer named bertrand gautier. but before the small painting can even be verified as a rembrandt, gautier resells it to a new york billionaire and rembrandt collector, named thomas kaplan for an undisclosed price rumored to be at least $3 million. what's going on here? >> these probably were his earliest-known works. >> art historian dennis heller explains that in the early 1600s, the young rembrandt van rijn, born in the dutch city of leiden, is studying art with some of the local masters. he will soon eclipse them all, but it's during this time that the teenage sensation creates a set of little-known paintings depicting the five senses -- touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. >> rembrandt's early works don't bring out this rembrandt-esque quality that we equate with the artist.
early rembrandt has really only been rediscovered in the last 50-to-60 years. >> rembrandt's paintings of touch, hearing, and sight are accounted for. in fact, thomas kaplan owns touch, and hearing, but the remaining two, taste, and smell have been lost for hundreds of years. >> we're all looking for the five senses. [ laughs ] >> so, it seems those european phone bidders had sniffed around and concluded that the landau brothers' strange inheritance must be the master's long-lost painting of smell. >> the fact that it's a triple portrait, it has people dressed in these outlandish clothes, and it's an allegory for one of the human senses, is what told the people in europe to look more closely at this painting. >> seems like someone might want to prove it's a rembrandt about now. curators working with billionaire thomas kaplan get down to work. lo and behold...
>> when they cleaned the painting, you could see that it was signed. rembrandt had a way of signing things, just with an "r," and when it was cleaned, there was an "r" there. >> case closed. >> what's so crazy about this story is that not one person in the united states recognized the significance of this remarkably unremarkable painting. an old master dealer came from the city, and sat in the front row.old master specialist comes and walks right past the rembrandt. >> yes. >> even after the painting's authenticated, we can only guess how it ended up in the landaus' new jersey home. >> would've come from europe at some point. i think the size had a lot to do with it being able to cross the atlantic. >> the landau brothers figure it's time to do a little sleuthing into the grandpa they barely knew. >> we learned that our grandfather phil liked on the weekends to drive from paterson into manhattan, and he would
hang out at this auction house. >> really? >> they sold estate sales from people who had apartments in manhattan. and so, i think that grandpa liked the idea of going and getting some real bargains on some artwork. >> none of them turned out to be valuable, except, says steven, for this one redeeming purchase. >> he was not known as an art collector, certainly, but he did choose that painting to buy. >> grandpa, you think, is winking down at you like... >> i think so, yeah. >> "nice work boys"? the landau brothers say they're a little sad that they're parents couldn't share in the excitement. >> if they had known about that painting, it would've meant so much to them. >> in march 2016, the restored painting, now officially titled, the, "unconscious patient: an allegory of smell," is unveiled to great fanfare in the
netherlands. today, it travels to museums all over the world as part of thomas kaplan's leiden collection, which now includes three-of-the-five senses. a dutch museum owns sight. what happened to taste is a mystery. >> it is an amazing story. and, you know, the money is great.not complaining about that at all. but the story's even better. >> your family in jersey. >> yeah. [ laughs ] in jersey, that's right. ♪ >> another mystery remains with the landau family. did grandpa phil know he had picked up a painting of such value? if he did, he sure kept it tight-lipped, says roger. but grandpa may have left a hint behind for his grandsons. when roger was cleaning out some of grandpa's old boxes, he found a big, dusty, old book -- the title, "the art of rembrandt." hmm. i'm jamie colby.
thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance," and remember, you can't take it with you. ♪ >> a great president from humble roots... >> "abe lincoln, the rail-splitter" made him sound like a man of the people. >> is this the kind of thing that lincoln used as a young man? >> he would use mauls and mallets splitting fence rails, working around the farm. >> but did young abe swing this? >> it was just a relic that was around our house. we didn't really give a lot of thought to it. >> it's their strange inheritance, but it's never been put to the test. >> even though, in our minds, it was 100% real, just because we think so doesn't make it true. >> anybody could have carved their initials "a-l." how do you know it's really lincoln's? [ applause ] [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ]
[ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm in indiana. the hoosier state boasts that it's the childhood home of abraham lincoln, and i'm meeting a woman who believes she's inherited the very tool that lincoln used as a young man to split rails. if so, that would be amazing. lincoln's image as the rail-splitter was a key to his unlikely election as president in 1860. >> my name is andrea solis. when my father died in 2015, my brother and i inherited an heirloom that had been in our family for more than 150 years. we were always told it belonged to abraham lincoln, and i believe it. >> hi, andrea. i'm jamie. so nice to meet you. >> hi, jamie. nice to meet you. my family has something here that i think you might like to see. you want to go check it out? >> yes, please. >> okay. >> andrea's strange inheritance is on loan here at the state museum in indianapolis
in its abraham lincoln collection. it has the initials "a-l." >> he was known as "the rail-splitter," and i'm sure that he used it to split wood to make fences. >> growing up, was there a whole story behind it? >> yes. abraham lincoln lived near my great-great-grandfather, and abraham gave the mallet to him, and then it has been passed down for generations in my family. >> how do you check out a story like andrea's? start 200 years ago across the border in kentucky, says lincoln scholar dale ogden. what was lincoln's early life like in kentucky? >> he was born to a subsistence farmer family. his father actually was more of a carpenter than a farmer. >> in 1816, when abe is seven, thomas lincoln moves his family 100-miles west to the indiana territory, the same year it becomes a state. >> what brought them to indiana? >> it was a lot easier to
prove ownership of your land than it was in kentucky. the other reason was that indiana was a state where slavery had been made illegal. i think thomas was just intrinsically opposed to the idea of slavery. >> the lincoln family settles on 160 acres in what's now spencer county, 150 miles south of indianapolis. here thomas lincoln becomes a sought-after cabinetmaker. >> he built beautiful furniture, and that was a very valuable skill on the frontier where there wasn't a whole lot that had been previously built. >> he often presses abe into service. >> the idea was, of course in that time, the father would pass on his skills, his occupation to his son. >> did he learn it? >> a little bit. abraham, whenever he had the opportunity, would kind of sneak off and read. >> when he's not behind a book, teenage abe works splitting rails -- a job done with heavy wood mauls. what's a rail-splitter? >> building fence would have been one of the first things you would have had to do on
the frontier to separate your land from other people's land, first cutting down a tree and then splitting it into rails to make fence. >> growing to 6'4", trim and strong, abraham gains a reputation as a fierce rail-splitter. he wasn't just tall, he was imposing. >> he intimidated pretty much everybody that he came in contact with, both physically and intellectually. >> in 1830, when abe's 21, his father moves the family northwest to illinois in search of better farmland. young lincoln pursues a career in law, and by 1846 is elected to congress. his reputation as "the rail-splitter" follows him wherever he goes. his presidential campaign in 1860 uses this portrait of a lean, powerful lincoln wielding his maul. it looks different from andrea's, but we'll get to that later. suffice it to say, lincoln's image-makers are on to something. >> lincoln had some very
accomplished political handlers. they thought that the idea of the rail-splitter, it made him sound like a common man. >> a political cartoon even shows lincoln being carried on a fence rail with the caption -- "the rail candidate." the strategy works. lincoln is elected the 16th president of the united states. he goes on to fight and win the civil war, end slavery, and save the union. his assassination cements him in the pantheon of american heroes. overnight, anything lincoln touched becomes a relic. so if andrea's ancestors do have a gift from their old neighbor, no surprise they treasure it -- and their descendants do, too. it's a century after lincoln's death, in the 1970s, when andrea's older brother, keith carter, first beholds his family's cherished heirloom. >> my earliest memory of the mallet was that my grandfather had stored it in the basement
of his house in a crevice by a steel beam. >> whenever he takes it out, grandpa carter recounts that equally cherished family lore about how abraham gave his friends the mallet before departing indiana in 1830. grandpa carter bequeaths the mallet -- and the yarn that goes with it -- to keith and andrea's father. but instead of hiding the hammer, their dad sets it out, right there, on the fireplace. >> we didn't really talk about it a lot, but when people came over to our house, they would see it, and it would be a talking point. >> we didn't really give a lot of thought to it. i think my sister took it to school one time. >> how old were you? >> it was kindergarten show-and-tell. >> did anyone believe you? >> my teacher questioned it, like that is amazing, but why would you have something that valuable in our classroom? >> you didn't trade it for a peanut butter sandwich? >> i didn't, no. >> thank goodness. so the mallet just leans against the fireplace in the carter home
until keith and andrea's father dies in 2015 and the mallet is passed to them. >> my parents' will said that my brother and i get things equally. >> you sure can't cut this in half. >> you can't, no. [ laughs ] >> so the heirs decide to do something, well, risky -- something that could obliterate that wonderful family tradition linking them to one of the great men who walked the earth. they decide to find out whether the mallet is really lincoln's. >> even though, in our minds, it was 100% real, just because we think so doesn't make it true. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. of which literary work did lincoln say, "i think nothing equals it"? the answer after the break. hmm. exactly. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need.
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>> taps, the tragedy assistance program for survivors provides resources, support and comfort to heal the harts and meet the needs of grieving military families all at no cost to them. >> i love you. see you next week. >> families never forget and neither do we. show our military families that they are not alone. help us at taps.org/family. ♪ >> so, of which literary work did lincoln say, "nothing equals it"? it's "a," shakespeare's "macbeth," which lincoln claimed to have "gone over as frequently as any unprofessional reader." >> in 2015, andrea solis and her brother, keith carter, inherit what family lore says is a hand tool built, used, and initialed by abraham lincoln. did this have any paperwork, no letter from lincoln that
says -- no. nothing. >> nothing. >> at their dad's wake, the fascinating heirloom becomes a topic of conversation with one of their cousins, tom brauns, who, turns out, is a lincoln buff. >> it was kind of a surprise -- didn't know he had it. >> i told him it had "a-l, 1829" on it, and he got really excited about that. >> he said, "well, how do i get it authenticated?" i said, "well, i have some ideas," so he handed it to me right then and said, "go do your thing." >> really? cousin tommy runs an appliance repair business. what does he know about authenticating a lincoln artifact? did tommy have any special skill that let you think he was the right guy for the job? >> tommy is amazing at doing ancestry work and researching history. >> was this your first authentication? >> yes. >> were you scared? >> at first i was excited when keith handed it to me, but on the way home i thought, "this is a heavy responsibility." >> to help shoulder the burden, tom leans on some other local
lincoln enthusiasts, including his friend steve haaff, a retired school teacher and lincoln fanatic who's studied the furniture making of thomas and abraham lincoln. >> i love lincoln, and i always have. it kind of started as a hobby, but then it's really grown since then. >> the duo begin by asking, what exactly is this mallet and where did it come from? see the half-moon shaped groove? it looks like part of a hole that had been drilled into a larger chunk of wood. steve concludes that that hole once held a much longer handle, and that this mysterious relic began as a completely different tool. >> okay, i brought with me today a maul which looks pretty much identical to what that mallet would have looked like originally. >> is this the kind of thing that lincoln used as a young man as the rail-splitter? >> absolutely. and if you look at the lincoln mallet, you can see it broke,
and it really split almost symmetrical. >> so, lincoln's broke and was repurposed? >> yes, into a smaller bench mallet. now we're no longer hitting wedges to split rails with it, but something a lot smaller. >> it's on the freshly exposed surface that the new mallet is dated with nails that steve confirms are consistent with 1829, and, of course, its inlaid "a-l," which is most unique. there aren't that many out there, right? >> no. as far as we know, this is the only maul out there that has abraham lincoln's initials in it. >> more on those initials later. meantime, tom, the genealogy buff, is putting the carter family lore to the test. remember, the story goes that before abe left indiana for illinois in 1830, he gave the mallet to andrea and keith's great-great-grandfather, one barnabas carter jr. >> if there was a defining
moment, it was whenever barnabas carter received that mallet. that's where it all began. >> the next step is to find out if all the characters in the purported chain of custody are in the right places at the right time. and tom and steve do unearth evidence of a lincoln-carter family connection even earlier than keith supposes -- going back to the early 1800s when the families were neighbors in kentucky. what do you have? >> well, we have tax records, for one. there were eight carter brothers who lived in kentucky beside the lincolns. >> then the guys uncover another clue -- an indiana land-plot map. it shows that the lincolns and the carter clan moved to the same section of southern indiana at nearly the same time, between 1815 and 1816. >> thomas lincoln lived in this area right here, has his name on it. right below his property, you see a small square that says, "nancy hanks lincoln grave."
>> that's his mother. >> that is abraham lincoln's mother, and she is buried on the carter's farm. so, very close connection, not only personally, but in proximity to where they lived. >> but was young abe himself friendly enough with the carters to give them a gift that would keep giving through the years? digging into lincoln's writings, they find a lighthearted poem by lincoln about a boyhood adventure in indiana. >> abraham lincoln wrote a poem about a bear hunt, and in that bear hunt, he mentions the carters. >> penned sometime in the mid 1840s, one stanza reads... >> abraham lincoln didn't forget about the carters, and, to me, it really shows that relationship was so strong, it carried with him even years later. >> the amateur history sleuths seem to be getting warmer. time to really home in on those initials, "a-l."
that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. at 6'4", abraham lincoln was the tallest president. who was the second tallest? the answer when we return. can't see what it is yet.re? what is that? that's a blazer? that's a chevy blazer? aww, this is dope. this thing is beautiful. i love the lights. oh man, it's got a mean face on it. it looks like a piece of candy. look at the interior. this is nice. this is my sexy mom car. i would feel like a cool dad. it's just really chic. i love this thing. it's gorgeous. i would pull up in this in a heartbeat. i want one of these. that is sharp. the all-new chevy blazer. speaks for itself. i don't know who they got to design this
>> so, who was the second tallest president after abraham lincoln? it's "c." lbj was 6'3 1/2," just a half inch shorter than lincoln. >> in 2015, andrea solis and her brother, keith carter, are having a treasured family heirloom authenticated -- this mallet, which they believe was made and owned by abraham lincoln as a young man
in indiana. leading the charge, two amateur researchers -- their cousin tom brauns and tom's friend steve haaff. they've established a relationship between the carter and lincoln families. now they tackle those fancy letters, "a-l." would lincoln really inlay his initials on an old mallet? >> i think that abraham lincoln was tinkering. people did mark their stuff for ownership, to make sure that it wasn't stolen. >> the guys confirm lincoln did initial at least one other tool. in a blacksmith's shop in the 1830s, witnesses recall abe etching his initials into an iron wedge. it's on display at the smithsonian. those initials look very similar to the "a-l" on andrea and keith's wood mallet. that these letters are inlaid is another key to steve and tom's authentication. >> not just anybody could do inlay work. one of the questions you have to ask yourself, did abraham lincoln have the ability to inlay the metal into
the mallet? >> if no, that's a problem. if yes, it's another reason to believe the tool was lincoln's. the guys find their answer in an example of abe's carpentry work, a cabinet door usually on display at a nearby museum. >> abraham lincoln inlaid the letters "e-c" because this cabinet was built for elizabeth crawford, a neighbor of the lincoln's. >> steve tells me both sets of initials are consistent with the meticulous technique abe used to inlay the letters. >> it was a skill that was learned from his father, who was a highly skilled cabinetmaker. we can trace this mallet from the current owners back to abraham lincoln. >> you have any doubt in your mind? >> no, i don't, and i'm a hard person to convince. >> but it's one thing for a couple of lincoln buffs to convince themselves. convincing folks who do this for a living will be another story. you guys are not exactly professional researchers. there's a ton of fakes out there. >> absolutely, there's a ton of fakes.
♪ >> now back to "strange inheritance." >> andrea solis and keith carter think they have confirmed that a 150-year-old family story about their strange inheritance is true -- that it once belonged to abraham lincoln. >> our enthusiasm didn't really start until tom brought this information forth. it's really incredible. >> no wonder they're excited. verified lincoln artifacts can fetch big bucks. a lock of his hair sold at auction for $25,000. a white house admittance card from his funeral -- 12k. and then there's this stovepipe hat, authenticated as lincoln's,
appraised for $6.5 million and sold in 2007 to the lincoln museum in springfield, illinois. but there's a lot of phony lincolnalia out there. just ask dale ogden, the chief curator of history and culture at the indiana state museum. you must get those calls all the time. >> i get probably about a call a month. it's kind of like the picasso behind grandma's portrait. >> i mean, what are the chances that something that's just sitting around, let alone by the fireplace, is going to be real? >> the chances are very slim. >> yet, andrea and keith's story entices dale to take a look. he examines the mallet, the inlaid initials, and the brief prepared by two amateur history detectives, tom brauns and steve haaff. >> you got two amateur supersleuths that do all the research. did they do a good job? >> i was really impressed. they spent a lot of time looking into genealogical records, land-purchase documents, making the connection between
the lincolns and the carters. >> more than impressed. the curator's convinced. he says it's really abe's mallet and part of a maul the legendary log-splitter once used to make fence rails. >> i've probably been approached with 100 objects that somebody or another claimed was a lincoln artifact, and this is the only one that we've settled on. >> so now that the siblings are confident they've inherited something of great historic value, putting it back by the fireplace just isn't an option anymore. but what should they do with it? >> it is sentimental value, and you have to weigh out what your grandfather would have wanted done and your ancestors, my father. >> until they decide, they lend it to the indiana state museum. governor mike pence is ecstatic. >> it is going to draw people from around the country and around the world who will come to see those initials, and when they do, they will know
abraham lincoln was a hoosier. >> i'm ecstatic, too, when dale ogden offers to give me a look at the lincoln relic outside its glass case. >> we'll be real careful with it here. >> so, as a curator, would you let me hold it? >> [ sighs ] >> i got big hands. [ gasps ] >> i won't let go. >> that's okay, but you truly believe this is a piece from abraham lincoln, and i am holding it in my hands. i need a souvenir photo. i don't want to make you nervous. you've been so generous. >> i am nervous, yeah. >> just between you and me, what do you think it's worth? >> it depends on what the prince in dubai, as opposed to the businessman in hong kong would be willing to pay for it. >> everybody wants a piece of lincoln. >> yeah. >> what's the significance of this for your family? >> well, i just hope everyone can understand the importance of abraham lincoln and what an honor it is for our family to have received this. he's our greatest president in my mind.
[ chuckles ] >> would andrea and her brother ever sell the mallet? andrea says they've spoken to one auction house and are leaving that door open. if someone were to come to you and say it was worth $100,000, $50,000 each -- sell? >> no. but my feelings could change down the road, i don't know. >> like at $1 million, it might change? >> that's a lot. it would have to be a game-changer. [ laughs ] >> of course, even lincoln experts second-guess themselves. take that stovepipe hat we showed you. after critics began questioning whether the hat could really be traced to lincoln, some museum board members said they wanted the state police to test it for lincoln's dna. that never happened. the museum determined that testing a 160-year-old hat for dna was sure to be inconclusive, but hats off to the seller who got the museum to spend millions for it. i'm jamie colby.
thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. eastern, as always. have a great, great weekend. maria bartiromo's "wall street" is next. ♪ ♪ >> from cannes, france, this is a special edition of "wall street." maria: welcome to program that analyzes the week that was and helps position you for the week ahead. i'm maria bartiromo, this weekend coming to you from beautiful cannes, france. coming up in just a few moments, danny meyer, my special guest. later in the program, my one-on-one with the co-founder, ceo and chairman of black here,n the news of his historic donation to university of oxford. first, peter