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tv   Stossel  FOX Business  October 7, 2017 7:00am-8:00am EDT

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joe, and mercedess, thank you. that's it for us tonight. dr. sebastian gorra and lieutenant tony scha fer will be our guest tomorrow. good night. >> loose change in a desk drawer. >> for 30-plus years, this baggage has sat around? >> yes. >> inside, a fabled coin. >> it was a unicorn, talked about but never seen. >> a rare coin that could bring in millions of dollars at auction this spring. >> sounds like "ka-ching!" >> one coin, potentially worth $2 million? >> one penny. >> but then, the government flips. >> they're coming after you. >> they are. [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ]
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>> i'm jamie colby. and today i am cruising ocean side in beautiful la jolla, california, just north of san diego. i'm on my way to meet an heir whose strange inheritance stunned the coin-collecting world, then led to a showdown with uncle sam. >> my name is randy lawrence. i inherited a baggie of coins from my father, who worked at the denver mint. imagine a shiny penny. but instead of being copper-colored, it's silver. that was one of the coins my dad left me. and it turned my life upside down. >> hi, randy. i'm jamie. >> hello. nice to meet you. >> so great to meet you, too. and i heard that your inheritance came in a small plastic bag? >> it did. >> randy shows me in, sits me down, and hands me a baggie full of coins. well, they can't be very valuable, i guess, if they're still sitting here in a ziploc. >> well, those particular ones
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aren't necessarily. but there was one in that bag that was quite valuable. >> where is it? can i see it? >> well, i don't have it. >> huh? >> yeah, there's a little bit of a story. >> it's the story of randy's dad, harry lawrence, who grows up near denver, takes a shine to engineering, and studies metallurgy at the colorado school of mines. after serving in the army corps of engineers during world war ii, harry heads to chicago, where he lands a job as a foreman at a smelting plant, sweltering work, but not nearly as hot as the time harry spends hanging around the water cooler. >> that's where he met my mother. she was a receptionist, and he was a manager. and she was much younger and very pretty. and i think she just made him work for it. >> and he won. >> and he won. >> randy is the second of two boys. in 1960, when he's 3,
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his dad accepts a job at the us mint in denver, packs up the family, and heads west. it was a dream job for him because it was bringing him back to colorado. >> was it pretty prestigious to have a father who worked at the denver mint? >> i felt it was. in the schoolyard, when other children would ask me, "well, what's your dad do," i... "makes money." and they said, "no, no, really, what's he do?" "no, he makes money." >> randy's dad loves the precision that goes into minting the nation's coins. but as with any perfectionist, it's the flaws that really catch his eye. >> he had a bag full of these coins. and there was a few of these error coins in there. >> what is an error coin? >> an error coin is one that was mis-struck at the mint. so it didn't land correctly in the press. and therefore, it might be off center, or the edge might be curled. >> this is a pretty interesting penny. but it looks like two pennies! >> michael mcconnell is a la jolla coin shop owner who knows all about error coins.
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>> it's simply a penny that was struck twice. it got stuck in the press. and it got struck again. >> randy's father collects the error coins that he finds in a plastic baggie that he keeps at home in a drawer. >> so when you work for the mint and they mis-strike a coin, they let you take it home? >> well, i guess so. there are many error coins out there that are bought and sold every day. >> randy's mistaken about that. taking home error coins is illegal, but apparently ignored sometimes, at least in his dad's day. so it's quite possible that when harry retires from the mint in 1980, his bosses do say he can keep his error coins, a retirement gift, harry explains. what's harry's plan for them? no way to know. just six months later, he dies of a heart attack at the age of 60. i'm so sorry. he was young. >> yes, very young.
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it was a shame that he didn't get to enjoy his retirement. >> did he leave a will? >> he did. >> did he reference the coins in any way? >> i got the bag of coins. my brother got a set of guns. my father collected guns as well. >> randy has zero interest in coin collecting and tosses his inheritance in his desk drawer. for the next three decades, he says, he forgets all about it until he moves from denver to la jolla and, one day, is checking out the new neighborhood. >> i walked into michael's coin shop, la jolla coin. >> yep, that michael. before long, the coin dealer will be on the scent of a fortune. that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. us coins have mint marks p, d, s, and w, designating the locations where they're made. can you name all four? extra credit if you know what the government makes
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at the w location. the answers after the break. it's easy to think that all money managers are pretty much the same. but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management.
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>> so, what do the p, d, s, and w stand for on us coins? p is for the philadelphia mint, d for denver, s for san francisco, and w for west point, where the government makes commemorative coins and stores gold.
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>> randy lawrence moves his family from denver to la jolla, california, in 2013. while checking out his new town, he happens upon the la jolla coin shop. he tells the owner, michael mcconnell, about the bag full of error coins that he inherited from his dad, who worked at the denver mint. >> i said, "you know, i think it's time i have somebody take a look at this. would you be interested?" >> michael agrees. so randy returns with that old baggie. michael sorts through the contents, pausing on one silver-colored penny. >> it was an off-metal coin that wasn't the weight of a normal penny. >> it didn't feel right to you? >> correct. and the first thing that came to my mind was, because the us mint has struck over 1,000 different coins for over 40 different countries, that this coin was struck on a planchet meant for a foreign coin. >> what's a planchet? >> the planchet is a round disk
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of metal that the coin is actually made out of. >> a us penny stamped on a blank intended for a foreign coin, michael says, might be worth a few hundred dollars. the other coins have some value, too. so michael makes randy an offer for the whole collection. what was the total price for everything? >> i think i left there with a little over 2,000. >> were you happy? >> i was happy with it. love you, dad. but you know what? i'm over it. i don't need the coins. >> but the coin-shop owner keeps thinking about that pretty penny. you see, there's this tale in the annals of coin history about an unusual batch of pennies the government minted in the 1970s. >> the price of copper had gone up in 1973. and so it actually became not cost-effective to make the penny out of that. and so they were looking for alternatives. >> paul montgomery tells me the story. he's a rare-coin dealer and author. and he explains that the mint's solution
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is to switch from costly copper to a cheaper metal. what was the composition of them? >> the coin is made out of 96 percent aluminum. >> the mint's proud of the coin. it strikes a million and a half and even hands out a few to members of congress before its release. but the aluminum penny is a bigger '70s flop than the gremlin or the leisure suit. >> the coins didn't work in vending machines, uh, i guess because of the metal. kids would swallow 'em, and they wouldn't show up in x-rays, either. >> so instead of circulating the coins, the mint melts them down. and it takes back the few it handed out. the 1974 aluminum penny becomes as elusive as the proverbial unicorn... or maybe not. >> i began doing additional research, which led me to think that it may actually be that unicorn. >> the next thing he does it call a lawyer.
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so what does the lawyer advise you? >> he advised me to go and get the coin certified, to make sure that it truly was an aluminum penny. >> tests show it is indeed made of 96 percent aluminum, just like those minted, then melted-down pennies from the 1970s. were you excited? >> it was obviously the scarcest coin i've ever handled. >> and things are going to get complicated because the heir of this "strange inheritance" story is about to reenter the picture. what's michael offering you? that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. who preceded john f. kennedy on the half dollar? the answer when we return.
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>> so, who was on the half dollar before jfk? it's "a," benjamin franklin, from 1948 to 1963. >> a baggie full of coins, that's randy lawrence's strange inheritance from his father, who worked at the denver mint. when he brings it to this la jolla, california, coin shop, owner michael mcconnell tells him the fistful of change is worth a couple of grand. after randy takes the deal, michael determines one of the coins, a 1974 penny, is made of aluminum. that suggests it's from a run of coins never put into circulation. if so, it's one of those finds collectors dream about.
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michael knows he owes randy, just for starters, a phone call. >> people come to us because we're the experts. and so if we give somebody bad advice on something like that, we, of course, have to go back to 'em and tell 'em that's not right, that's not what i originally thought the coin was. >> and he wanted to set up a meeting with me. so i went down to his coin shop. >> what's michael offering you? >> well, technically, he was the owner of this coin. so we worked out a 60-40 split. i took back 60 percent ownership. he gave me back 60 percent value of the coin. >> interesting. so michael buys the coin and owns it outright in your mind. >> mm-hmm. >> but when he learns that it's more valuable, he's willing to bring you back in as a partner? >> he felt that was the right thing to do. >> what were randy's options when you told him the news? what could he have said? >> he could have said anything. >> could he say, "give me my coin back?" >> absolutely. >> so for $300, he could have bought this coin back from you? >> sure. >> what did he say? >> after we talked about it, and we talked about the options,
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he said, "let's partner up and go forward." >> how do you decide what's fair? >> well, it's kinda tough in this kinda situation. but this was a coin that had been in randy's family for a long time. this was a family heirloom. and i was certainly happy to give that split. >> i'll say, for it turns out that randy's rare penny has one more strange characteristic that will set the coin world abuzz -- that little d. >> so this one has a d mint, signifying it was made in denver. >> that's where randy's dad worked. >> and that is why this coin was so unique. >> because as far as anyone knows, the 1.5 million aluminum coins minted, then recalled in 1974, all came from philadelphia, not denver. that could lift its value into the stratosphere. did michael give you a sense of what it could be worth? >> anywhere from a low end of 250,000 up to 2 million. >> one coin, potentially
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worth $2 million? >> one penny. >> as co-owners of the coin, randy and michael decide to put it up for auction, beginning with a sneak peak at a coin expo in long beach, california. >> it was phenomenal. >> a rare coin that's spent years lost in a drawer could bring in millions of dollars at auction. >> we were on every television station. >> and realized it might be something a little more special. >> i was getting phone calls from across the country, as well as seeing articles across the world -- russia, china... >> is the price going up at this point with all that interest? >> in my mind, it is. >> then out of the blue, the postman knocks. >> well, i got a very interesting letter from the government. >> a letter? do you have the letter? >> i do, right here. >> oh, this doesn't look good. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail
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>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> in february 2014, randy lawrence is gearing up for the auction of his one-of-a-kind inheritance, a 1974 aluminum penny. it was left to him by his father, harry. but now he's hearing from his uncle sam. "dear mr. lawrence, it has come to the attention of the united states mint that you may be in the possession or control of an aluminum one-cent coin. it is our understanding that you may have obtained this item from your late father." boy, they know a lot! >> they sure do. >> "please contact me at your earliest opportunity so we may discuss arrangements for the timely return of the subject piece." they're coming after you. >> they are. >> recall that randy's father works at the denver mint for 20 years. upon retiring in 1980,
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he's apparently allowed to keep a bag full of error coins as part of his retirement gift. you were convinced, in your mind, that your dad received this coin legally and was entitled to keep it? >> absolutely, 100 percent. >> but now, 34 years later, the government claims otherwise. what are your options? >> well, our options was to immediately turn over the coin, or do what we did. and that was to file a lawsuit against the united states treasury to keep ownership of the coin. >> the other half of "we" is coin-shop owner michael mcconnell. why didn't you just turn it over to the mint? >> i didn't think it belonged to them. and there certainly wasn't evidence that said it belonged to them. >> the same circumstances have existed so many times in the past, and so there are precedents. >> and rare-coin expert paul montgomery believes those precedents favor randy.
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exhibit a -- the super-rare 1913 liberty head nickels, which montgomery wrote a book about. his research indicates they likely were struck by a rogue mint worker, just as the government's claiming in randy's case. >> each one of these coins had been owned and purchased. and millions of dollars had traded hands. and yet the government has never gone after those. why this one? >> in their lawsuit, randy and michael cite other rare coins with similar histories that collectors buy, sell, and own freely. the government's response -- "so what?" then it ups the ante by putting on the public record serious allegations against harry. >> accusations of my father not being of the highest standard. >> for example? >> well, that he could have been the one who made the coin, or my father should have known better than to accept it and keep it. >> what was the government's
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beef against harold lawrence? >> well, they suspected that mr. lawrence had a nefarious scheme to produce coins that weren't supposed to be produced. >> bottom line -- the government is strongly suggesting that randy's dad is a crook. did that make you mad? >> very, very angry, yeah. >> two stories, two sides of the coin. and before the case goes to trial, the government deposes the man who headed the aluminum cent project back in the 1970s, former mint director alan goldman. to randy's great relief, goldman's testimony exonerates his father. under oath, the former mint director states, "i knew harry lawrence very well, and he was a straight shooter. he would not have engineered this." >> when i read that, i knew that my father's name was cleared. >> but that's all the good news because goldman also bolsters
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the government's claim that the penny was struck improperly. >> he believed that it was actually made as a practical joke by one of the mint employees. and as far as how it came to my father, again, probably as a memento when he retired. >> with no star witnesses of their own, it's going to be hard for randy and michael to convince a jury the coin rightfully belonged to harry. they drop their lawsuit. you're willing to walk away from $2 million? >> apparently so. i did. >> it seems like you caved. >> at the end of the day, because there aren't enough people left to be able to tell the whole story as to how it really came to be, i felt like it was kind of a case that we weren't ever going to be able to win. >> the man from la jolla is forced to return a rare and valuable coin to the us government. >> the us mint declined our request for an interview about randy's aluminum penny.
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is the government becoming more strict in that regard? >> this is first i've seen anything like this. i see the government getting very active in lots of things. but confiscating collectible rare coins has never been one of them. >> this has never happened, either. after receiving randy's strange inheritance, the mint puts it on display at a coin show near los angeles. collectors press their face against the glass to get a good look-see. >> this is the first time that this coin's ever been displayed like this. and while the lawrence family may not even know this, they've already become a tremendous piece of the history and numismatic lore. >> so randy lawrence did not cash in his legendary aluminum penny for millions. but he did get a consolation prize of sorts. in coin-collecting circles, he and his father are now legends themselves, with the lawrence name forever attached to the one-of-a-kind 1974 d
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aluminum one-cent piece. your dad's reputation is restored. >> perfect, yes. >> the coin is gone. >> yes. >> and you didn't make a buck. >> didn't make a penny. [ laughs ] i say the government's taken my last penny. >> remember how a handful of aluminum pennies were handed out to lawmakers back in 1974? legend has it that, one day, a congressman dropped his while rushing to vote on a bill. a capitol police officer tried to return it. the congressman, thinking it was just a dime, told the officer, "keep it." it's believed that officer's family may still have that super-rare penny. but the mint is now on record saying it would like it back, just like it wanted randy's. i guess you could say the mint's really pinching pennies these days.
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i'm jamie colby. thanks 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 ]
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[ 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
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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?
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>> 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
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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.
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>> 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
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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
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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. today we're out here with some big news. jardiance is the only type 2 diabetes pill
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proven to both significantly reduce the chance of dying from a cardiovascular event in adults who have type 2 diabetes and heart disease... ...and lower your a1c. wow. jardiance can cause serious side effects including dehydration. this may cause you to feel dizzy, faint, or lightheaded, or weak upon standing. ketoacidosis is a serious side effect that may be fatal. symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, and trouble breathing. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of ketoacidosis or an allergic reaction. symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. do not take jardiance if you are on dialysis or have severe kidney problems. other side effects are sudden kidney problems, genital yeast infections, increased bad cholesterol, and urinary tract infections, which may be serious. taking jardiance with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you have any medical conditions. what do you think? i think it's time to think about jardiance. ask your doctor about jardiance. and get to the heart of what matters.
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thisto a hilarioushing baudiobook on audible.g and this woman is laughing because she's pretending her boss's terrible story is funny. still actually laughing. no longer making a human noise. experience the comedy, not your commute. dial star-star-audible on your smartphone to start listening today. money managers are pretty much the same. all
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but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. ♪ >> 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
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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,
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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
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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.
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>> 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."
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>> 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
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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. today we're going to talk about trucks. which of these truck brands do you think offers best in class hd horsepower and the most capable off-road midsize pickup? i'd go ram. i would put it on ford. let's find out. noooooooo. chevy. that's right, it's chevy. they look amazing. wow. chevy's killin it. yeah, definitely. trade up to this light duty silverado all star and get a total value of over eleven thousand two hundred dollars. or during truck month, get 0% financing for 72 months on our most popular chevy trucks.
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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
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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
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of fakes. >> and this man knows it. you must get those calls all the time. >> it's kind of like the picasso behind grandma's portrait. >> that's next. what's your "strange inheritance" story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, finally. hey ron! they're finally taking down that schwab billboard. oh, not so fast, carl. ♪ oh no. schwab, again? index investing for that low? that's three times less than fidelity... ...and four times less than vanguard. what's next, no minimums? minimums. schwab has lowered the cost of investing again. introducing the lowest cost index funds in the industry with no minimums. i bet they're calling about the schwab news. schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
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the #1 brand used by dentists worldwide. oral-b. brush like a pro. ♪ >> 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
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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,
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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,
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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
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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.
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i'm jamie colby. thanks so much for watching "strange inheritance." and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> i'm bob massi. for 32 years, i've been practicing law and living in las vegas. i help people with all sorts of real-estate problems, from trying to save their homes to closing major deals. eight years ago, 6,000 people a month moved here, looking for employment and affordable homes. little did anyone know that we would become ground zero for the american real-estate crisis. now, it's a different story. the american dream is back. we're gonna meet real people who faced the same problems as millions across america, and we'll dive deep into a city on the rebound because las vegas was a microcosm of america, and now vegas is back. [ woman vocalizing ]


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