Steve Shackleford Blog

Hatchet Man Blades on Strange Inheritance

Hatchet Man's blade collection

Greg Martin (left) of Michaan’s Auctions watches as host Jamie Colby admires a katana from Robert Marek’s collection on “Strange Inheritance.” The show is scheduled for tonight at 9 EST on the FOX Business Network. (FBN image)

The knife and edged-weapon collection of a man who once drew the FBI’s attention in the infamous Unabomber case will be the focus of the “Hatchet Man” episode of “Strange Inheritance” on the FOX Business Network tonight at 9 p.m. EST.

Robert Marek dedicated his life to making and collecting knives, swords and axes, including bowies, battle axes, broadswords and more. His collection grew to over 5,000 pieces in all—so many, in fact, that the FBI got wind of it when it was hunting for the-then unidentified domestic terrorist known as the Unabomber. Marek’s interests in weapons and his association with the University of California at Berkeley were enough to move the FBI to interview Marek, though the federal agency quickly ruled him out as a suspect.

Marek passed away in 2015 and left his collection, which lined the walls and rafters of Robert’s Berkeley home, to his brother Tom. Neighbor Sara Wolf remembered one night when Robert invited she and her husband to dinner.

“I was in shock because it was these beautiful wood walls, but floor to ceiling axes and knives,” she recalled. “After we got in and the door closed, I kind of felt like we were never coming home.”

It is just such inheritances that are the subjects of “Strange Inheritance,” which is hosted by Jamie Colby. In its third season, the program is the highest rated one on FOX Business.

In tonight’s program, Tom takes Robert’s collection to auction to determine the value of the vast trove of blades, and the collection winds up being worth in the thousands of dollars. For instance, an early Plains tomahawk fetches $250, a rare Civil War hospital knife brings $550 and a Japanese Gunto sword goes for $700.

According to swordsmith Francis Boyd, probably only about 40 or 50 makers in the world could produce the pieces like the ones in Marek’s collection. Greg Martin of Michaan’s Auctions adds Marek must have conducted extensive historical research into the design of the ancient weapons to reproduce them with such stunning accuracy.

For more on tonight’s show, visit Strange Inheritance.

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