tv Maria Bartiromos Wall Street FOX Business November 24, 2019 7:00am-7:30am EST
the show live tinian eastern on fox news channel. plus on fox business every weekday tuning weekday six to 9:00 p.m. eastern on fox >> an uptown apartment under siege. >> are you kidding? all of these? >> doesn't every new york city apartment have a soldier room? >> it's one of the biggest collections in the world. >> one man's army four decades in the making. >> when i first saw it, i was absolutely amazed. he had every soldier placed in their position. every general was placed in his position. >> but he doesn't want to leave his wife with all this. >> bob wanted to sell off the collection so carole wouldn't have to deal with it. >> what's an heir to do? turn to "strange inheritance." >> what did you think when you saw the episode about toy soldiers? >> i was knocked out. so, i reached out. >> here we are.
>> yes. ♪ ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm strolling along the swanky streets of the upper east side of manhattan. the heir in this story reached out to us just a short time after her husband died. she wanted to talk about her strange inheritance, which she tells me takes up an entire room in her home. >> my name is carole postal, and less than one year ago, i lost my beloved husband, bob. he left me nearly 10,000 toy soldiers, which he called "the guys." >> a whole room on the upper east side -- i'm hoping it's shoes. >> uh, not quite. >> no way.
it's not shoes. it's soldiers? across glass shelves, the tiny troops stand shoulder to shoulder, ready for battle. let's see. there's george washington... generals robert e. lee and ulysses s. grant... not to mention ancient and medieval warriors. a history of world combat in one jam-packed man cave. your husband must've spent a lot of time putting this together. >> lovingly, over 40 years. >> it's really magnificent. i really did need to see this. you were right to get in touch with us. >> oh, i'm so glad you feel that way. >> i would love to learn more about it. >> i'd love to share that with you. >> can we sit and talk? >> i'd love it. >> carole tells me her late husband, bob postal, was born in 1940 in the gulf coast town of pascagoula, mississippi, where
his father ran a garment factory. a shy, intense, and artistic kid, he kept to himself. >> he used to go into his room and draw. and he loved drawing military costumes. and he loved drawing battle re-enactments. >> as a young man, bob stops drawing soldiers and becomes one. he skips college, joins the army reserves, and in 1963, is stationed at fort dix in new jersey as a cook. he's never sent to vietnam. after an honorable discharge in 1969, bob follows in his father's footsteps and jumps into the apparel business in new york city, designing women's blouses for a clothing manufacturer. >> bob had a definite keen eye for what would sell, for what was hot at the time. he was very visionary. he was a workaholic. >> james moore worked with bob
during the 1970s and 1980s. he saw bob's career boom, while his personal life went bust -- three divorces by his early 40s. one thing that does last is his new hobby -- toy soldiers. his collection is his passion. >> when i first saw it, i was absolutely amazed. he had every soldier placed in their position. every general was placed in his position. and i said, "bob, i cannot fathom how you do this, knowing you at work" -- and how impatient he was -- "how can you actually do this?" and he said, "this is my relaxation." >> bob pays 4 grand for this set of more than 100 world war i figures, most from the renowned welsh toy-soldier maker trophy miniatures. these sword-wielding knights of the crusades, some from russia's famed st. petersburg collection, for $3k.
and a rare non-war piece -- the irish state coach used by the british royal family -- a steal at 300 bucks. meanwhile, bob starts his own apparel firm, mayfair industries. it takes off in 1984, when he strikes a deal with the walt disney company to license a little mouse for use on clothing. so, he was a pioneer in the industry? >> he was. he was a pioneer. the company went from $5 million to $110 million almost overnight. >> a few years later, bob comes calling on carole, who works in licensing for turner broadcasting. he's looking to secure the apparel rights to the film classic "the wizard of oz." >> he needed to get the license from me. and he walked into my office at 7:30 in the morning, and we locked eyes, and he never left. we were together from that day onward. >> was it love at first sight? >> it was instantaneous combustion. >> wow!
that was quite a meeting. changed your life. >> it did! >> robert and carole move quickly. first, dating, then it's time to introduce her to his little friends. >> when we moved into the apartment, i said, "why do we need a two-bedroom?" "we need a room for the guys." >> roommates? >> well... and the next thing i know, boxes and boxes and boxes of soldiers are coming into the door. >> some girls might go into full retreat. not carole. the couple marry a year later. bob keeps collecting. >> did you ever say "not one more solider in this house. enough"? >> he could collect as many as his little heart desires, as far as i was concerned, as long as it didn't step out of the soldier room. >> was it an obsession or just a genuine interest? >> it was not an obsession. it was a respect. >> in 1989, bob receives a sign of respect himself -- from
billionaire publisher malcolm forbes, whose 100,000-soldier collection is one of the world's finest. forbes hosts an exclusive toy-soldier event, and bob's invited. was that a huge moment for him? >> i think, for anybody who has a passion for a hobby and they meet the... >> premier. >> ...it's something that's very special. he sort of legitimized the whole collector society of soldiers. >> after forbes' death, bob is asked to another invitation-only toy-soldier event -- the auction at christie's of the forbes collection, in 1997. >> was there any way he was missing the auction of malcolm forbes' soldiers? >> no way he was missing that auction. >> the auction brings in a whopping $700,000. too rich for bob's blood, though he does walk away with an exclusive souvenir. >> he purchased a memento -- the solider that said "i attended
the malcolm forbes auction." >> bob continues buying rare soldiers into his 70s. his miniature armies now number nearly 10,000. but by 2014, bob's health is in steep decline. he's diagnosed with advanced emphysema and confined to quarters -- with his troops. >> how important were "the guys" at the end? >> very important. he would sit in that room seven days a week, surrounded by his soldiers. that made him happy. >> maybe so, but bob doesn't want his wife to have to figure out what to do with them once he's gone. did he tell you what to do? >> he did not want to leave me with the soldiers. >> bob wanted to sell off the collection so carole wouldn't have to deal with it. >> meet the man bob drafts to decommission his army.
>> when i first walked into this room, i was just kind of in awe. 'cause there's some die-hard collectors that would really just die to have some of these sets. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. the answer after the break. i am totally blind. and non-24 can make me show up too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424.
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>> so, which toy soldier was the single most expensive one ever sold? it's "a." a rare 1934 prototype marching guard was sold at a christie's auction in 1994 for $4,370. >> it's 2015, and 75-year-old robert postal, suffering from advanced emphysema, is getting his affairs in order. a top priority is the 10,000 high-end toy soldiers he spent 40 years collecting. they're meticulously displayed in his manhattan soldier room. he doesn't want to leave his wife the headache of dealing with then after he dies. so he hires a hobby-store owner, matt murphy, to catalog, appraise, and prepare the troops for sale. >> what wars are represented?
>> we have world war ii... american civil war... napoleonic wars... the sudan campaign... zulu war. we have two shelves of zulu war. >> what makes bob's army valuable, according to matt, is that he focused his energy on completing many sets from high-end soldier makers, such as stanton studios, king & country, and w. britain. >> another really sought-after brand is trophy miniatures, made in wales. a set of six would sell for about $100, and now they can fetch up to $300 on ebay. >> matt says this trophy miniature would go for 500 bucks. it's a tractor for transporting troops during the boer wars in africa. this british nile riverboat, used during the 19th century -- $1,500.
before matt can go through every piece, however, robert dies, at home, in september 2015, surrounded by all his guys. he's 75 years old. were you prepared to live life without him? >> no. i never thought it would come. >> and, so, you're faced with a dilemma. you're left with "the guys" -- the soldiers. then, just days after her husband's funeral, at the suggestion of a friend, carole tunes in to an episode of "strange inheritance." as chance would have it... who's this guy? ...she catches our previous story about a family and their toy-soldier inheritance. carole, what did you think when you saw the "strange inheritance" episode about toy soldiers? >> i was knocked out. i was thrilled to see other
people enjoying a passion for collecting soldiers. >> unlike bob postal, the husband and father in that story really wanted his toy-soldier collection displayed in its own museum. his children found it a bridge too far. but the episode gets our heir thinking. >> so, i reached out. >> here we are. i'll do what i can to help. what is this place, here? >> we're surrounded by about 3 million soldiers. >> that's incredible. that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. the answer when we return.
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>> so, which of these popular figures had a large toy-soldier collection as a child? it's "a," winston churchill. churchill's army numbered 1,500 pieces, which he used to re-enact british victories over the french. >> when new york apparel executive robert postal dies in 2015, he leaves his widow, carole, his vast array of nearly 10,000 toy soldiers. before his death, he encouraged his wife to sell, but to whom? how big is the market today? >> market is, we would probably guess 50,000 people worldwide collect soldiers seriously, so it's tiny. it's a niche of a niche. >> jamie delson, owner of the 9,000-square-foot toy soldier company in jersey city, new jersey. i'm here doing some reconnaissance for carole.
>> this is the world's largest warehouse that holds toy soldiers. we have about 3- or 4 million soldiers here. ♪ >> some are plastic, some metal, and valuable classics cast in lead. >> people who collect plastics will spend $20 or $50 at a time. people who collect metals will spend $2,000 or $3,000 at the drop of a hat. people who collect the most expensive soldiers may pay $200, $500, or $1,000 for a single soldier. >> jamie tells me that not having original boxes can lower values anywhere from 50% to 75%. >> this is what collectors look for. serious collectors buy things that are in the box, in original boxes from the 1940s, '30s, '50s just because it's in the box, and if you look closely, they're sewn into the box.
>> so these guys are still strapped in, never touched or taken out. >> right. no box, not a lot of value. >> not a lot of fun, either. then again, how many bedrooms the postals would have needed if bob kept all the boxes! boxes or not, matt murphy, the hobby-shop owner bob hired to get "the guys" ready for sale, says it is plenty valuable. could you put a price on this collection? >> the toy-soldier market is a little down right now. but it could fetch anywhere between $85,000 to maybe $130,000. >> but those numbers are based on retail prices, so matt can only offer carole $25,000 if he wants to guarantee himself a profit. >> i do think like that. obviously, i'm in business. >> that's a far cry from the $700,000 the malcolm forbes soldiers fetched at auction back in 1997.
but carole's not insulted. more and more, "strange inheritance" gets her thinking. it's not about the money for her. >> i don't want the cash. i don't want it. i want this to be his legacy to keep them together, and i want to donate them so that other people could enjoy his collection as much as he did. >> but what if nobody's interested? or as interested as he was? that's next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we would love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. great presentation, tim. could you email me the part about geico making it easy to switch and save hundreds? oh yeah, sure. um. you don't know my name, do you? (laughs nervously) of course i know your name. i just get you mixed up with the other guy.
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maps out a different course. she wants to find an institution to display them, in honor of her husband. for that, she needs another kind of advice. what was your initial impression of this collection? >> oh, i love it. it's one of the biggest collections in the world. >> reporting for duty -- lee drexler, an appraiser who helps clients find good homes for their bequests. step 1 is certifying a fair-market value. >> right, the teeth on the horse... >> and the bridle. >> i just love seeing the big collections of custer's last stand or civil war or world war ii or the american revolution. i mean, it's fantastic. >> honest abe, what's he worth? >> probably about $450, $500. >> lee says that's because this 6-inch, highly-detailed lincoln figure was made in england by the renowned stadden studios. ♪
what's this collection worth? >> about $300,000. >> for toy soldiers? $300,000?! if accurate, that's far more, man-for-man, than even the forbes collection -- and 12 times the $25k that matt murphy was offering. and it would certainly give me second thoughts about giving them away. what about carole? >> it's impressive, yes. so if it is worth that much, then i'm thrilled. but it wasn't ever about the money. having the soldiers find a home will be a huge part that will make me feel whole again. >> so carole and lee begin contacting new york-based museums that might be interested in housing and displaying the troops. >> our first thought, quite frankly, was west point. bob had tremendous respect for the institution. >> what did they say? >> they said no, they couldn't, with great sadness. they have no space. >> as quickly as the door closed
at west point, lee opens one at another prestigious institution -- the new york historical society. if the new york historical society were to make this happen for you, what would that mean? >> they'd be in new york, where people come from all over the world. it would be a fabulous, fabulous place. >> and your reaction if they say "game on"? >> done. >> and "game on" it is. the society does agree to give safe harbor to 5,000 of "the guys." if you split this collection up between museums, it would be easier, potentially, for them to take and more people could see it. >> it would be double the joy. >> with lee's help, a children's museum in rochester, new york, agrees to take in and display the other half of the collection. ♪ carole tells me that working with us on this episode has
helped her to grieve for robert and, in doing so, to preserve his legacy. >> that's why i reached out to you. it is my hope that people see this show and see a passion that somebody had for, in this case, soldiers, and so what i leave to the world is the robert c. postal soldier legacy collection. >> so, you never felt like you were competing with "the guys"? >> never. i was always number one. >> that's so nice to know. >> i wish it on everybody. ♪ >> remember that story about bob meeting malcolm forbes at a toy-soldier show? carole says it was one of his most treasured memories. the confederate soldier he later purchased commemorating the forbes collection remained one of bob's favorites. and right before her husband was laid to rest, carole slipped that very soldier into his suit pocket. i'm jamie colby. thanks so much for watching
"strange inheritance." i guess sometimes you can take it with you. ♪ >> a babe who photographed babies... >> she would get them to do the craziest things. >> ...becomes a celebrity herself. >> people knew her by name. she was a pin-up. >> there were definitely stories of skiing with the kennedys, definitely a lavish lifestyle for sure. >> what was her secret? >> isn't she adorable? >> what a winner shot. >> is it still gold today? >> is this collection potentially worth six figures, seven figures? [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] ♪ >> i'm jamie colby, and today i'm in littleton, colorado. it's a suburb of denver that,