Tom Marek lost his brother to cancer, but gained control of a most remarkable collection of edged tools. The estate of collector and knifemaker Robert Marek was the subject of a feature on Fox Business Channel’s “Strange Inheritance” as Tom begins the monumental task of divesting himself of this bladed windfall.
It was the first time in more than a decade that Tom had been in the house, which his artist brother had filled with more than 5,000 hatchets, swords, knives, pikes, maces and spears. Most were fashioned by Robert himself, who succumbed to cancer in 2015 at the age of 55.
“I was just overwhelmed,” Tom Marek said. “I had seen photographs, but only of one wall. I don’t think I could have been prepared until I walked through that door.”
The Mareks grew up in a suburb of San Francisco. Tom became a financial planner and moved to Oregon. But Robert stayed local after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley with a double major in art and art history. He moved into the home that would double as his ever-expanding arsenal.
Neighbor Sara Wolf remembered when she and her husband were invited to dinner.
“I was in shock because it was these beautiful wood walls, but floor to ceiling axes and knives. After we got in and the door closed, I kind of felt like we were never coming home,” she said.
The FBI was similarly suspicious. Tom Marek said agents once interviewed his brother as part of the Unabomber investigation.
“The Unabomber had an association with UC Berkley, was thought to be intelligent and worked with wood. My brother was an artist who went to UC Berkley, and worked with wood,” he explained.
Tom Marek said the FBI quickly ruled Robert out as a suspect.
”My brother was never terribly open about how the interview went, he was a little embarrassed by this episode,” he said.
It is obvious from the video that neither Tom nor the host has much appreciation of such a remarkable collection. It is a shame really, though probably better that the pieces are being auctioned off to collectors who will appreciate them.
If you want to own a piece of the collection, the auctions are being run by Michaan’a Auctions. They don’t have 2017 dates yet, but I signed up for updates. It will be interesting to see this unfold.