tv Lou Dobbs Tonight FOX Business June 14, 2017 4:00am-5:01am EDT
>> he was at the center of a scandal -- the national pastime, gambling, and gangsters. >> arnold rothstein gave them a little bit of money to, supposedly, throw the series. >> "shoeless" joe was arguably the best baseball player of all time. >> he's banned from the game... >> one weeping fan of his cried out, "say it isn't so!" >> ...and the fascination with his tale endures. >> shoeless joe's really part of pop culture. >> so why is his autograph one of the rarest in sports? >> he was virtually illiterate. >> he had a very hard time even writing an individual letter. >> he did. >> as far as we know it, there is only one known. >> one? >> just one. >> and it's this woman's strange inheritance. >> it started to dawn on me that this is a lot of money we're talking about.
>> this is a biggie -- 1911 "shoeless" joe jackson signed photograph. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> hi. i'm jamie colby, and i'm heading along the shores of lake erie in cleveland, ohio. today i'm meeting a woman who inherited a rare item that recalls the most notorious episode in baseball history -- an episode that's inspired books and movies and retains an air of mystery to this day. >> my name is sharon bowen. after my husband, bill, passed away, i started to receive lots of phone calls about a scrapbook that he had kept in a trunk in our bedroom. i knew very little about "shoeless" joe jackson, but now i do. >> bill and sharon bowen raise two children in a cleveland suburb. how long were you married? >> we were married 39 years. >> bill, a professional fundraiser, works for local
universities and the salvation army. he's a native clevelander and a baseball nut. >> this is bill, probably around 5 or 6. >> bill started collecting at a very early age. >> and never stops. card collecting becomes a family affair. >> did you do any collecting with him? >> that was my thing with him and with his father -- every saturday, going to baseball-card shows, just sitting around the kitchen table and looking at all the cards. >> through work, bill becomes friends with a retired professor who shares his passion for collecting. >> and one day, the -- the gentleman's wife said to him, "i have a book i bet you would love to see." >> boy, does he! this simple paper scrapbook holds a treasure trove of photographs from the 1911 spring training camp of the cleveland naps, now called the indians. >> she inherited this book from her father, and her father received it as a gift from his friend frank smith.
>> frank smith was a photographer for the cleveland plain dealer. that spring, he takes action shots of established stars like nap lajoie, christy mathewson, and a cleveland rookie named joseph jefferson jackson. >> hi, joe. >> good to see you. >> so great to see you. to learn more about that rookie, i pay a visit to baseball memorabilia maven joe orlando. when the names of greats come up, is shoeless joe still in that category? >> babe ruth, who most people consider to be the greatest player who ever lived, patterned his own swing after joe jackson's. >> safe! >> if that doesn't tell you what type of a hitter joe jackson was, i don't know what -- what will. >> joe jackson is born in pickens county, south carolina, in 1887. what kind of family did he come from? >> well, he came from humble beginnings. he worked at a textile mill as a teenager, as a mill hand, and he
was virtually illiterate for the remainder of his life. >> but on the diamond, he's a true phenom. at the age of 13, he stars on the cotton mill's team and picks up a lifelong nickname. >> legend has it that while he was a teenager playing in a mill game, his cleats were bothering him so much that he took his cleats off and played the rest of the game without shoes, and one of the fans started to heckle him and call him a shoeless son of a gun. >> "shoeless" joe's career takes off like a blue-streak line drive. in 1908, he bats .346 for a minor league team in greenville. in 1911, he's ready to move up. >> it was his first full season in the majors with the cleveland naps. >> and photog frank smith documents his arrival in "the bigs." [ cheers and applause ] >> he batted .408, which still stands as a record for a rookie. [ bat cracking ]
>> safe! >> he may be a whiz on the field, but traveling with his teammates, joe can't even read a menu. >> if they were in a restaurant, he'd listen to what everyone else ordered and simply base his order off of that. >> he needs help just writing his own name, so he rarely signs anything but legal documents. of course, you don't need to read or write to hit a fastball. in 1915, joe moves up another notch when he's traded to the chicago white sox. >> chicago was a very good team, and he helped them win a world series in the 1917 season. >> they may have been good, but they were not happy. >> charles comiskey, who was the owner of the white sox at the time, was known as being extremely frugal. >> in 1919, the sox again capture the american league pennant and are favored to beat the cincinnati reds in the world series. but many players feel comiskey is cheating them of their bonuses. the friction creates an opportunity for a new york
gangster named arnold rothstein, who runs a sports-betting racket. >> arnold rothstein got to some of the players of the chicago white sox and gave them a little bit of money under the table to supposedly throw the series. >> when the sox lose the series 5 games to 3, rothstein makes a bundle. the "black sox" scandal erupts. a grand jury indicts shoeless joe and seven otherrac. >> several of those teammates confessed that they were part of fixing the series and implicated joe jackson. >> testimony of pitcher edward cicotte is said to have been most incriminating evidence. >> prompted by comiskey's lawyer, jackson admits taking $5,000 from teammate lefty williams, but he denies throwing the series. outside the courtroom, a young sox fan supposedly confronts his hero. "say it ain't so, joe!" he says.
but was it so? why would a player like shoeless joe throw a game, a world series game? >> well, the reality is that you and i will never know, with 100% certainty, the truth. joe jackson was virtually illiterate, so when he was confessing, did he comprehend what he was doing? >> based on the stats, it didn't look like joe jackson had anything to do with the plot. he batted .375, hit a home run, and had 6 rbis. >> although a jury acquits all eight "black sox" players, baseball commissioner judge kenesaw mountain landis bans them from the game. shoeless joe takes his trophies home and never again sets foot on a big league diamond. he lives in relative obscurity in south carolina until his death in 1951. since then, few baseball stories have captured the imagination more than shoeless joe's.
being here at the baseball field, it's the perfect place to ask you about him as a legend. >> we have movies such as "field of dreams," "eight men out," that continue to bring shoeless joe in front of new fans, new moviegoers. >> and that legend is what drives cleveland baseball collector bill bowen to covet the book of frank smith photos, which his friend showed him in 2006. take me back to the moment he first told you he wanted to buy the scrapbook. >> he came home and said, "you know, i'm gonna buy this book." >> the price -- $15,000. the missus is not amused. >> i said, "absolutely not. who would spend that kind of money for a paper scrapbook filled with old pictures?" >> your husband the baseball nut, that's who! and that's next. >> but first, our... two of these actors played "shoeless" joe jackson in
...gocentral from godaddy. type in your idea. select from designs tailored just for you and publish your site with just a few clicks-even from your... ...mobile phone. the internet is waiting start for free today at godaddy. whuuuuuat?rtgage offer from the bank today. you never just get one offer. go to lendingtree.com and shop multiple loan offers for free! free? yeah. could save thousands. you should probably buy me dinner. pappa's eatin' steak tonight. no. at lendingtree, shop and compare loan offers from top lenders and in just 5 minutes, you could save thousands. lendingtree, when banks compete, you win. i love date night. somebody's ruining it. yeah. well you could leave if you wanted to? >> so, which actor didn't play shoeless joe? the answer is... liotta played him in "field of dreams," sweeney in "eight men out," but redford's character in "the natural" was only based on shoeless joe.
>> in early 2010, baseball fanatic bill bowen tries to convince his wife to let him buy this 100-year-old scrapbook of vintage baseball players. in it is an autographed picture of the legendary "shoeless" joe jackson. the asking price -- $15,000. >> and that's when i said, "no, absolutely not." >> bill buys it anyway, selling some of his other memorabilia to raise the cash. where did you keep it? >> it was just sitting in a trunk in our bedroom, handy, so he could pull it out and look at it and show it to people when they came. >> and sharon decides to stop giving her husband a hard time about it. really? you were that easy about it? >> i was easy, because life's too short, and -- and it proved to be true. >> in 2014, bill has a heart attack... and dies at the age of 67.
shortly after his death, baseball collectors begin calling his widow. >> we started to get some phone calls from people. did we still have the book? would we consider selling it? >> a family friend suggests they talk to heritage auctions in dallas. >> so my daughter took some pictures of the book... [ camera shutter clicking ] ...and e-mailed it to heritage, and they e-mailed her back in four minutes. >> four -- within four minutes, you heard from an auction house? >> mm-hmm. >> chris ivy specializes in baseball memorabilia. >> when something like this comes in, it's incredibly special. >> three days later, a heritage representative flies up from dallas. >> he starts flipping through it and says, "you didn't tell me that this guy was in here. you didn't tell me you had this autograph." >> but the real money shot is that autographed picture of shoeless joe. the bowen family sends the book to the auction house. chris ivy believes the autographed joe jackson picture
is one of a kind. but before it goes on the auction block, he has to make sure it's genuine. >> we don't sell any autographs without third-party authentication. so, obviously, that's a nerve-wracking prospect. >> and the authenticators have their doubts. how likely was it that it was legitimately signed by joe jackson? >> in my head, i'm thinking, "i'm sure you also have a bigfoot/loch ness monster dual-signed baseball coming behind that, as well." >> here's another quiz question for you. the answer in a moment.
>> ...which curved in to right-handers. it helped mathewson rack up a record 373 career wins. >> there's nothing like a day at the park -- our own field of dreams. >> that's right. >> to determine whether sharon bowen's strange inheritance -- this autographed picture of "shoeless" joe jackson -- is real, the auction house calls joe orlando, president of professional sports authenticator, in orange county, california. he's also a baseball nut. >> legend has it that shoeless joe could throw a ball 400 feet, so what you're looking at is probably a ball that would actually sail far over that scoreboard beyond the center-field fence. >> that's awesome. joe's job is to give buyers and auction houses an informed opinion on the legitimacy of sports memorabilia. >> it's our job to be skeptical about everything. >> how elaborate is the process
to authenticate something of this magnitude? >> well, that's where we're gonna head over to our offices and really give you an in-depth look at the process itself. >> it falls to psa's steve grad to determine whether the joe jackson signed photo is legit. steve, thank you so much for letting me come in. i am the most excited about this authentication part. for yet another baseball nut, it's the chance of a lifetime. >> there isn't a joe jackson photograph that i know of that's actually signed, and they're telling me it's got great provenance, great story. but i want to see that autograph first. >> steve has reason to be skeptical, and not just because jackson couldn't read or write. collecting autographs from ballplayers didn't become a fad until well after shoeless joe's career. signed photos from his era are very rare. confirming that the photo was actually printed in 1911 is psa's first challenge. what about the photograph itself? did you have any concern about the paper?
>> we have a photo expert, henry yee, and henry's really good with paper and photographs. he confirmed that, "well, this was used for a short period of time, but right during that period." he knew immediately. >> okay, the picture is legit, but how about that signature? >> so, this is joe jackson's last contract. this is 1920. >> remember, nobody has seen another autographed shoeless joe picture. but steve can compare the writing to various legal documents that the illiterate jackson did sign. >> through the years i've been able see a handful of joe jackson signatures we've deemed authentic, and i'm able to look at certain tendencies joe jackson has. so, that autograph has to talk to me. if you want to go ahead and put it in... >> we put a copy of the signed photo into this contraption, called a video spectral comparator. >> you'll see things you can't see with the naked eye... >> let's see. >> ...you could see with this. and here we go. i'm gonna drop the magnification to 8. >> it's very "csi." >> and we start to look at the formations here of the letters. you can see where he's really --
he labored. >> he had a very hard time even writing an individual letter. >> he did. >> how do you distinguish the signature that we look at and the real deal? >> so, we take the photo back, and we take a look at the signature itself, okay? what's fascinating to me -- we're talking 1911, 1920. 9 years later. look how he comes up here to the "e," okay? and we're starting to see the same thing here again. >> a straight line from the "o" to the "e" in "joe." >> 1911 to 1920 -- you take a look, it's literally the same thing. >> with what percentage are you certain you have an authentic joe jackson signed photograph? >> 100%. i had, like, this eureka moment. and i was like, "bam! there it is! that's joe jackson." >> steve certifies the autographed shoeless joe picture and the entire 60-photo collection is real. >> it's one of the coolest things i've ever handled in my entire life.
>> even better news for the bowen family -- he grades the signature a 9 out of 10 in quality. he also rates the other signatures at either 9 or 10. after more than 100 years, the photos frank smith took at the cleveland naps spring training are about to make their public debut. >> it's also very exciting to reach out to the bowens and -- and let them know that we're gonna be able to sell it on their behalf. >> this is a biggie -- 1911 "shoeless" joe jackson signed photograph... >> yeah, live auction is always a lot of fun. >> beautiful. how 'bout it? >> $30,000. >> $30,000 now. >> it was very exciting. >> have you ever seen a photo like this? >> that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to hear it! send me an e-mail or go to our website... i got a mortgage offer from the bank today. whuuuuuat? you never just get one offer. go to lendingtree.com and shop multiple loan offers for free! free?
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sharon bowen's family gathers for the auction of her strange inheritance... a 1911 scrapbook of signed photos of baseball greats. the crown jewel of the collection is the only known autographed photo of "shoeless" joe jackson, but the bowens soon learn the rest of the collection is plenty valuable, too. >> lot 53, the 1911 christy mathewson signed photo. have you ever seen a photo like this from mathewson? >> $30,000. >> $30,000. now $36,000. >> the scrapbook is broken into four lots for auction. >> $36,000. now to go to $38,000. >> i said to my children, "dad would have loved this." >> $60,000! >> and will said to me, "except, mom, dad would never have done it because he would have kept that book as long as he was alive." >> now it's a level playing field. >> my dad and i had been to so many sort of auctions like that, but never one of this magnitude. >> there are a few bidders in the room, but most are online and anonymous. >> the christy mathewson photo, which had some very spirited
bidding... >> $2,500 more to you, sir. they're gonna help you pay for it, i guess. >> ...and went well beyond its initial estimate. >> $77,500 once, twice. done! it's yours, $77,500. give him a hand. [ applause ] moving along, this is a biggie. >> next on the auction block, that signed photo of "shoeless" joe jackson, the only one known to exist. >> it was fun and bittersweet, because it meant the story was over for us. this piece of bill was leaving. >> probably read some press about this. absolutely pristine condition. >> it was the pride and joy of bill bowen's lifelong collection. >> let's start the bidding at... >> $110,000. >> $110,000. give me $120,000. >> and at that point, it started to dawn on me that this is a lot of money we're talking about. >> $120,000. now to go to $130,000. >> and i think at some point, my left knee started to buckle, just a little. >> i was very excited for -- for sharon bowen and her family, as well.
it speaks to her husband, bill bowen, that he had a great eye. >> now we got to $150,000. i need a buck and a half. $150,000 for the shoeless joe. $150,000. anyone else? done! $150,000! >> when the auction house commission is added, the joe jackson picture brings in $179,000. in the end, one anonymous bidder buys the whole collection. >> i thought -- you know, it's silly. they're not siblings, but, still, it made me happy that they stayed together. >> the scrapbook that bill bowen bought for $15,000 garners just over $300,000. not a bad return on investment... and a nice chunk of cash for his widow. >> he knew on some level that this would be a legacy to us and it would be security for me in my retirement and enable us to do some things for our children that he would want us to do. >> in a bygone era, an
enterprising photographer shoots a picture of an up-and-coming ballplayer and gets him to autograph it. the player sees stardom, then scandal, obscurity, then immortality, as the photo passes to a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, and, finally, a wife, once skeptical, now profoundly grateful that her husband had the sense, at least this once, not to listen to her. bill's daughter, meredith, told me that she has her own "field of dreams" vision of her father up in the baseball section of heaven, playing catch with "shoeless" joe. joe looks at him and smiles and says, "ain't it crazy? my signature on that old picture just got your wife a whole big pot of money." and just maybe bill is getting "shoeless" joe to explain exactly what happened back in chicago in 1919. i'm jamie colby for
"strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember -- you can't take it with you. [ bat cracks, crowd cheers ] >> 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 at is a fake 1913 liberty
>> 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
>> 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. dream two breaking news this morning. dramatic pictures that of london. if i read a residential tower in kensington that started at midnight local time. many fear to be trapped inside. the fire commissioners say there are fatalities. they are not willing to say how many at this moment. good morning, everyone. i'm cheryl casone. following the latest developments this morning. lauren: good morning. i'm lauren simonetti. jeff sessions over collusion
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