tv Bulls Bears FOX Business March 26, 2017 6:00am-6:31am EDT
they've been pampered their whole lives an the sad reality is you get slapped in the face all the time. you got to get tough. >> not too >> found in grandpa's attic... >> it was a dirty, dusty old box. and then it's like, "wow. i don't know what it is." >> ...a discovery that will make the baseball world flip. >> you've got honus wagner, ty cobb, cy young, christy mathewson. >> i'm thinking to myself, "oh, my god. i have $1 million sitting in a chair." >> but is it almost too much of a good thing? >> it certainly changes the market in a negative way. >> i'm jamie colby, and today, i'm in northwest ohio, on the edge of an area called the great black swamp.
i'm here to meet a family who's lived here for more than a 100 years. so when they unearthed their strange inheritance, they give it the code name -- "the black swamp find." >> i'm karl kissner. in 2011,
my cousins and i inherited the family home from our aunt. she had left us a note -- we would find things in this home that we never knew existed. >> karl, a 54-year-old restaurant owner, has invited me to the family home in the small town of defiance, ohio. karl? hi. i'm jamie. how are you? >> very good. pleasure to meet you. >> nice to meet you, too. thanks for having me. is this the family home? >> this is grandma's home. come on in. i'll show you around. >> the house first came into karl's family in 1909. >> neat old place, but needs a little tlc. >> are you saying be careful? >> yes. >> okay.
in 2012, karl and his cousins start the daunting task of cleaning out a home that's been lived in for more than a century. after several weeks of sorting through the house, only the attic remains. karl and his cousin,
karla, decide to tackle the project. >> ladies first. >> oh, my! look at this place. the attic is empty now, but not that day in 2012. karl and karla walk in to find a century's worth of dusty boxes and family heirlooms. and literally filled to the rafters. >> filled to the rafters, all the way up to about here and just a path down through the middle. >> after several hours, they uncover a box hugging the back wall. it contains something the two cousins have never seen before. >> it was a dirty, dusty old box, and i opened it up. and then it's like, "wow. there's -- i don't know what it is." >> the cousins see what appear
to be small cardboard photos tightly wrapped in twine. they recognize some pretty familiar faces. >> we're both looking at it. it's baseball players -- cy young, ty cobb, wagner -- but they're not baseball cards, not to us. we get one out and we look at the back, and they look like baseball cards, just miniaturized, no stats, no who made it, no nothing. >> how many are we talking about? >> hundreds. [ laughs ] >> amazing. so, you see the box. you take them out. what do you and karla say? >> actually, we set them on a dresser in the hallway and dove back into the attic >> but soon, karl starts to ponder where the strange cards may have come from. were they something aunt jean collected off a cereal box? or maybe they go all the way back to his grandfather, carl hench. >> he's a german immigrant and he works his way down through chicago and towards the ohio valley. >> he's chasing the american
dream -- to own a home and start a business. carl's a butcher by trade, and by 1905, he's scraped together enough to open his own shop here in defiance -- the carl hench meat market. along with meats and sausages, he sells candies and other grocery items. was he successful in his shop? >> very successful as a butcher in town, very well-known. >> in 1909, he marries his love, jennie. they start a family and buy that dream home. by now, baseball has long established itself as the national pastime, and for decades, various companies have used baseball cards to sell their products. >> the first nationally circulated cards came inside packages of tobacco in the late 1880s and was actually one of the first opportunities for the average citizen to own a real photo. >> candy companies jump into the game, too. the so-called "caramel cards" help sell the sweets and the top players of the day.
>> you've got honus wagner ty cobb, cy young, christy mathewson. >> children love the candy, but the cards even more. >> kids did what kids do. they played with them. they traded them. there's card-flipping games that they did with them. >> all karl and karla know at this point is that the cards may have come from their grandfather's store. >> our guess is that he would have given them away as promotional items, and like any good businessman, when you got leftovers, you save them for the next promotion. >> beyond that, karl isn't sure what they have in the box, but he tells his cousin he'll find out. the box sits on that dresser for a few days and almost gets thrown out several times before karl brings it to his restaurant to research the cards online. after a few days, he has some leads. >> i was looking at a 1909 caramel card and i'm going, "okay, it's not identical, but this is too close, and they've got an estimated value on this
card --" >> of? >> around $15,000. >> karl discovers that a similar ty cobb card, identified as a 1910 caramel card, recently sold for $40,000. >> and i got a box full of them, and they're pristine. >> that's amazing. you're sitting on a bundle of money. >> yeah. at that point the, the heart is starting to race, and i'm thinking to myself, "oh, my god. i have $1 million sitting in a chair." >> a lot more than that... if, that is, karl can confirm his cards are real. >> you're a little skeptical, but you're always looking forward to that one phone call that turns out to be gold. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question.
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carl and jennie hench are cleaning out the century-old family home in northwest ohio, they find a dust-covered box containing what appear to be vintage baseball cards. >> i had went to some of the auction sites. i'm seeing a ty cobb for $40,000. and i'm looking at the ty cobb that i have, going, "ooh! mine's better." >> the box karl found in the attic not only contains cobb, "" but all the greats of the era. and it's not just one of each player -- it's dozens. in all there, are 800 cards, most in pristine condition. >> it kind takes it out of a scope and a realm that you just -- you're not quite sure how to handle it. >> step one -- find out if the cards are real. karl reaches out to vintage-sports-cards expert peter calderon in dallas. >> i received a phone call, which was very cryptic.
he didn't want to go into any details. on a daily basis, we receive phone calls from people who find cards. it's always reprints. >> peter tells karl to text some photos of the cards, and he'll take a look when he gets a chance. >> when i got that first picture, the first thing i thought of, "this is gonna be filed in a too-good-to-be-true folder," but they looked amazing, and i saw nothing about them that suggested they weren't real. so, i definitely -- the next plan was -- we talked about him sending me some sample of the cards. >> karl overnights eight cards to peter, with a note attached, saying, "call me before you open." when the box arrives at heritage auctions in dallas... >> i gave him a call, had him on the phone. >> and there's that moment of silence that feels like 10 minutes, but it's actually a matter of seconds. >> i opened up the box and i pulled out a large plastic holder. >> and then there's the, "oh [bleep] >> i was just floored, because i
had no idea what a 100-year-old baseball card looked like brand-new. >> well, at that moment, i pretty much know that, "yeah, these are real." >> karl has one more bombshell. >> so, his next question is, "do you have any more?" "yes. hundreds." >> i would have been happy if it was just the eight cards. there was when you realized, "this is the find of a lifetime." >> karl dubs the cards the "black swamp find," after the nickname for this section of northwest ohio. they're quickly shipped to dallas on an armored truck and locked in the safety of a vault. the next step is to get each card officially graded on a scale of 1 to 10. karl goes with professional sports authenticator. i meet up with joe orlando, president of psa, at the national sports collectors
convention for a crash course in grading baseball cards. why is this one only a 1? babe ruth cannot be just a 1. >> so, if you look at the card, you can see all of the defects. there's surface wear, multiple creases throughout the card. this is about as low as it can get. >> so, this one is higher. this is 8. is that considered mint? >> this is considered almost mint. but when you look really, really close, you can see very little, tiny white pieces of wear on each corner. and that's the difference between an 8, a 9, or a 10. >> those tiny imperfections can make a difference of thousands of dollars. >> if this is a psa 8, it's worth roughly, you know, $100 or so. if it were a 9, it's worth probably, you know, north of $1,000. and if it's a 10, it's worth north of $5,000. >> so, what about the black swamp find? do karl's cards make the grade? what was your reaction when you saw the first cards? >> it was just -- it was mind-blowing.
>> before the black swamp find, the highest grade psa ever gave to a card in that series was a 7. karl's cards beat that in their first at-bat. >> it was a ty cobb and it graded a psa mint 9. little did we know that there were 15 more ty cobb 9s and, of course, hundreds of high-grade 8s, 9s, and even 10s in the set. >> sounds pretty good, right? not so fast. the collection doubles the known population of this type of card, and the unprecedented size and quality of the find could crash the baseball-card-collectors market. will karl's inheritance end up being too much of a good thing? >> if you were to flood the market with all of this at one time, it would certainly diminish the value of the entire find. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you.
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>> it's "b," $517,000 -- for a 1914 baltimore news ruth rookie card, sold in 2008. >> in 2012, in defiance, ohio, karl kissner discovers 800 vintage baseball cards in the attic of his old family home. most of the century-old cards remain in near-mint condition, which is rare among cards even half their age. before the collecting craze in
the 1980s, cards were simply fun toys to be used in bike-wheel spokes or flipping games, like this one. so, i'm gonna toss a card, and it'll land either picture or stats. you're gonna toss a card. if you match my card, you get to keep my card and your card. if you don't, i get to go home with your cards. >> okay, let's do this. >> all right? here it goes. stats. >> stats up. >> picture. i'm a winner. >> you're a winner. >> fortunately for karl, his grandfather wasn't interested in such games, and the collection should easily be worth millions... if they play their cards right. you see, selling the so-called "black swamp find" all at once could flood the market and severely drive prices down. >> because of the size of the collection and the quantity involved, there was a lot of concern about the value. if there was one of each player,
that would have been ideal. >> so heritage auctions proposes a series of separate sales to maximize the family's take. >> we decided the best way to do it is to take your time, sell them by the set over a number of years. >> karl runs the estate on behalf of the 20 grandchildren and divides the cards up into equal sets. each family member can either join a consortium to sell the cards or keep his share as a family heirloom. did anyone keep the cards? >> yes, yes. >> really? >> some of them did. >> but most family members agree to team up and sell the cards gradually. peter calderon tallies the numbers and comes up with what karl might expect, if all goes right -- nearly $3 million. for karl, it's a staggering sum. >> we're stunned. this is something we almost threw in a dumpster. >> in august 2012, in baltimore's camden yards
ballpark, they put the first 37 cards up for auction. >> they were the best of the best. they were the best-graded cards out of all of them that we had graded. >> ladies and gentlemen, let's do lot 001. it's the 1910 e98. >> in bidding that's fast and furious, the family sees one lot of nine cards go for $40,000, a second lot of 27 cards goes for $286,000, but the real clean-up hitter of the night, the only psa gem-mint-10-graded card of hall of famer honus wagner in existence. auctioneer: >> $240,000 solid. i have the cut bid. anyone else? done! $240,000! >> we're flabbergasted. this is a wonderful gift from our grandfather and from our aunt. what more can you ask for? >> the family's total for the night?
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> karl kissner and his family are slowly selling off their strange inheritance -- 800 rare vintage baseball cards. the collection is valued at around $3 million. an initial auction of their best cards has already brought in $566,000, and the family still has plenty of high-grade hall of famers to sell. in october 2012 and may 2013, two online auctions -- with some help from legendary manager connie mack -- rack up $419,000. then, in august 2013, in
chicago, a psa 8 "miner" brown pitches in to help the team ring up another 228k. and in the big apple, in february 2014, a psa 8.5 johnny evers and mint 9 frank chance assist in a $300,000 haul. two more online auctions raise the total to $1.7 million. on july 31, 2014, i join karl and his cousin karla at the 35th national sports collectors convention in cleveland for their latest auction. >> we've got a fired-up crowd here tonight. what do you think, karl? >> it's exciting watching everybody and listening to the on-floor bids. you just -- you get into the feel of it, the mood of it. >> bid what you want. the last person standing with their hand in the air gets the item. >> apparently, people have money. >> apparently. [ both laugh ] >> and at the end of tonight, you may, too.
up first for karl and karla tonight, the georgia peach. >> this is a 1910 e98 set of 30 ty cobb, black swamp find, psa mint 9. are you serious? yes, we are serious. $26,000. who's bidding 28 grand? $27,000 -- heritage live. $28,300. fair warning, anybody else. >> when the auctioneer kind of slows down like that, you know it's getting good. >> yeah. >> sold at at $28,000. >> congratulations, guys. that's awesome! >> give me five on that. yeah! >> now stepping up to the plate, a psa mint 9 honus wagner. >> go, honus. >> yay! come on. yeah, come on, honus, baby. >> 32 1/2 on heritage live. another bidder just jumped on. let's sell this thing. $33,000. >> the bidding ends at $33,750. >> yeah! very good! all right! >> their weekend earnings, including online sales, total $133,000, lifting the
black swamp find total to $1.85 million. [ cheers and applause ] are you satisfied tonight? >> i'm ecstatic. and you know the person that's buying it wants it and appreciates it, and he's gonna add it to his collection. and maybe he'll pass it on to his family. >> a box stored and forgotten in the attic for over a century eventually changes a collectibles industry forever, along with the lives of the 20 hench grandchildren. so far, the black swamp find is like a slugger with 40 home runs at the all-star break -- well on track to surpass the goal set by peter calderon. >> there's still 10 more sets to sell, and we'r almost $200,000 a set. >> and in the card-collecting market, the game's never over till the last man is out. what would grandpa say? >> i think grandpa would be stunned, amazed, and pleased. i'm sure that he is, 'cause i'm sure that the whole family is up there looking down with big
smiles on their faces. >> was the black swamp find nearly history's most epic case of some guy's mom throwing out his baseball-card collection? karl thinks so. when he made his big discovery in the attic, he spied several wrinkled and grimy cards strewn among the rafters and the floorboards. karl believes that they went flying during one of his grandma jennie's cleaning purges, when she'd pitch boxes of junk right out the attic window into a big mound below. thank goodness she never got hold of that one box in the corner. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thank you so much for joining us. 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. >> announcer: a veteran of the battle of the bulge squirrels away enough old military gear to supply a platoon. >> it was in boxes, gun cabinets, closets. >> they couldn't even get access to their master bathroom, it was so clogged with stuff. >> it was one of those finds you get once in a lifetime. >> announcer: uniforms, weapons, plus plenty of surprises. >> this is worth $50,000?! does it work? >> announcer: and what's up with this bullet-riddled log? >> it was usually wrapped in a blanket in a bathtub. >> in a bathtub? >> in a bathtub. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]