American Pickers might just be the most popular reality show on the History Channel. People tune in to the show to watch Frank and Mike as they make their way across the country to buy antiques from peoples’ private collections. The show has its fair share of oddities, and we’re not just talking about artifacts! Read on to find out what’s real and fake in the show, and what happens behind the scenes!
They Agree On A Price Before Haggling It Down
Frank and Mike sure appear like fair businessmen on the show. They always look like they never take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge or giving others a bad deal. Apparently, the truth is quite different from this. Apparently, the crew first agrees on a price before they film the scene – but then Frank and Mike will try to bring it down further in front of the cameras! All for the drama, we suppose.
The Producers Are The True Pickers
They make it look like Frank and Mike are the ones behind the antique operation, though the reality is that the producers are responsible for negotiating deals and scouting locations. A lot of people who have worked on the set have said that the producers and guests first agree on prices before they shoot the scene. After coming to an agreement, they ask the seller to give a higher price first for the camera.
Danielle And Her Successful Burlesque Career
Danielle is considered to be the right-hand woman of the team, although you will be interested to hear about her side hustle. Before and during shooting, Danielle was actually a successful burlesque dancer. She is the owner of her very own burlesque boutique, 4 Miles 2 Memphis. It is a rather vintage art form, which is perfect for someone who is into antique picking!
They Plant Items To Make It More Interesting
Although called reality shows, staging is very important. Many people claim that the American Pickers cast and crew members plant big-ticket objects in the homes, garages, and storage units of the guests to make it more appealing. Those with firsthand experience have even verified these claims!
Hobo Jack Is More Than Meets The Eye
Hobo Jack is one of the recurring guests on the show, and he is considered to be a crowd favorite. However, you might not know that he is actually a published author with numerous successful books to his name. He has also released various albums that you can buy online. Essentially, he is a true artist. Mike has also penned a couple of books but let us just say they were not as successful as hobo Jack’s.
Danielle Had To Deal With Tax Issues
Danielle makes a considerable amount of money thanks to her work as a business owner and on the show. However, it seems like she forgot to pay her dues! All of us have to give the government a share of our earnings, and she is no exception. It seems like she did not care for this or simply forgot. In 2013, she got a notice for her overdue taxes. The IRS claimed that she owed them nearly $6,000.
The Exploitation Of Mole Man
You could not have possibly forgotten about Mole Man! Although he made only one appearance in a single episode, viewers loved him. Someone who lived nearby tried to jump on his success and used his name to sell some collectibles. They went as far as to advertise a sale that later featured authentic collectibles of him like antiques, autographs, and more. Apparently, Mole Man was not affiliated with the event in any way.
Frank Does Not Care Much About Picking
Mike Wolfe is clearly committed to the art and lifestyle of picking. He practically eats, breathes and sleeps antiques! You can’t say the same thing for Frank. He was not a pro picker before the show began. He was a collector, but he doesn’t care about the journey as much as he does about the money.
American Pickers Might Meet Its End Soon
Many people who have gotten to meet the team have noted that Frank and Mike are not very friendly towards one another. The mutual animosity is actually strong enough to potentially cause the end of the show. Mike Wolfe already saw that American Pickers might not get a new season when he talked to a news station in Iowa. Part of this is also because he wants to be with his family more often.
This Is What Fans Think About Their Relationship
Although there is zero truth at all about what we are about to say, there are fans who have come to the conclusion that the two stars are in a relationship. First of all, Mike is a married man who has talked about his wife numerous times in the show before. Although Frank is quiet about his private life, there is no way they are together. We do think they have good chemistry in front of the cameras, however.
Not Exactly Your Average Joes
One of the appeals of American Pickers would be the “everyman” vibe the stars have. However, they are quite rich in real life. For every season of the show, both Frank Fritz and Mike receive $500k. Despite this, Mike is the wealthiest of the lot by far. Aside from the show, he made numerous investments. He also happens to be good at selling antiques and the like.
The Scenes Are Staged
Although American Pickers is considered to be a reality show, there is always some acting involved no matter. Most of the driving scenes on the show are completely staged. There are times when they do not even arrive at the filming location in the same van. Mostly, they used some B-roll footage as a way to set up what happens next. The banter might not be totally scripted, but it sure is not all natural either.
It All Started When Mike Was A Boy
Why is Mike Wolfe so good at picking? Well, he has many years of practice under his belt. His passion for antique and junk started when he was just a little boy. He saw an old bike and ended up selling it for five dollars. He looked around for more bikes to sell. He only paid a farmer $50 for one and sold it at the price of $5,000. That’s quite the profit, isn’t it?
Mike Is An Operation Smile Ambassador
Charlie, Mike’s daughter, was born with a cleft palate and lip. The condition did not allow the mouth area to join together as it should. Charlie got great care thanks to her dad’s money, which was used to pay for surgical procedures. If they were not that well off, they would have had to look for financial help to give her the treatment they need. Mike stepped up and became an Operation Smile ambassador. The organization aims to give free surgeries to kids all over the world with the same birth defect as Charlie.
The Interesting Story Behind The Theme Song
After Jingle Punks creator came up with the theme song for Pawn Stars, yet another History Channel show, he got the request to make something for American Pickers. Apparently, the instruction had been for something that would “sound like The Band meets The White Stripes meets seventies-era Rolling Stones.” The melody he drew up features a bit of song by Reckless Sons.
Mike Is A Successful Entrepreneur In His Own Right
Aside from investing in various corporations and property, Mike is also an entrepreneur himself. He launched the second retail location of Antique Archaeology, his store, and opened a hip fashion line as well. Not only that, but he also pitched a sitcom to television networks whose plot was about “a workplace comedy set in an antiques and collectibles shop.” It was CBS who got the pilot, although we doubt it will be on television in the near future.
There Are Pickers In Other Countries Too
American Pickers have gotten so popular that people from other countries have tried to create their versions of it. You will find Australian and Canadian versions of it. The Canadian one was actually on air for four seasons, although Aussie Pickers did not get as lucky. The show airs in Israel, Spain, Romania, and the United Kingdom as well.
Prices Are Predetermined
It is true that a fair amount of the drama that happens on the show can be traced to the arguments Mike and Frank have with guests regarding pricing. However, not all of the prices are in question. The producers already talk it out before shooting even begins, which gives both the sellers and buyers some wiggle-room when dealing with the pair. Most of the time, the deal goes into Mike and Frank’s favor.
The Truth Behind This Reality Television Program
Unless you are too naïve for your own good, you will know that parts of the show are fake. It might be called reality television, but it is still television. Regardless, there is no way you can fake the history that comes with certain pieces even if they had been planted. The antiques are the true stars of the show!
Something For The Kids
There was interesting that worried Mike. The co-host felt concerned that kids would not want to go into the business of picking, selling, and refurbishing items. He found a clever way to stop worrying about this. He wrote Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure, which is going to be a good gift for your kid.
How Mike And Danielle Met
Danielle and Mike have been friends for a long time now. They did not only meet on the show. There’s a good story behind it! Danielle recalled, “I was looking at a lamp and picked it up and put it down to see how much money I had. Mike scooped it up behind me. He said, ‘The time to buy it is when you see it.’”
Spending A Fortune Was Out Of The Ordinary
Mike and Frank are clever when it comes to spending most of the time. They normally pay about $25 for collectibles and heirlooms, though there are times when they pay as much as $60. The average number went up by a significant amount in 2017, however. That was the year the pair bought the most expensive thing so far. It was a 1930 motorcycle, and they paid $90,000 for it!
Not Their Usual Target Audience
There are some people who choose to watch a show since they know they will get what they want. Crew and cast members will give fans whatever they want in the hopes of boosting the ratings. There was a time when Mike and Frank decided to take a different path than expected. We are talking about the time they went and bought the Yoda prototype that Mario Chiodo created. They got it for $6,250!
Catching The Attention Of Other Celebrities
Like many great things, the show eventually started to get a fair amount of attention. Even celebrities have taken a liking to the show! One of their big-name fans happens to be Dolly Parton. The Queen of Country Music got in touch with them to buy off some of her things. She and Danielle even became pals!
Danielle’s Other Interesting Niche
If you ask Danielle Colby about what she likes to buy, vintage costumes worn by actresses and dancers during the 1800s would be on the list. It is a highly niche category, so anything she gets are considered to be treasures. She has stumbled upon “an original early Mata Hari stage costume from 1920-20 and a banana skirt believed to have belonged to Josephine Baker” as well as “a very rare costume from Lillie Langtry of the 1890’s”. We are sure she got a kick out of these valuable stage costumes from the past.
Frank Got A Driving While Intoxicated Charge
Frank Fritz is a fan of autos, cars, and motorcycles. Unfortunately, he once had to give up his license after getting into a bad incident in July 2017. Fritz was driving the truck improperly along Interstate 80 in Iowa when he got pulled over by legal authorities. After a test, they discovered Xanax and alcohol in his system. He pled guilty for an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge. Luckily, no one got hurt and he only had to sign up for a substance evaluation program as well as pay for court fees and probation.
They Discovered Aerosmith’s Van
In Season 19 Episode 13, the crew members of American Pickers stumbled into an artifact of rock ‘n’ roll history in the Massachusetts woods. They got in touch with a man who discovered a van that once belonged to Aerosmith in the early days of their touring days. Ray Tabano, a guitarist and founding band member, confirmed that the Harvester Metro van was theirs They used to tour in it back in the ‘70s! The band used the vehicle when they were just starting out and playing in Boston before they got their big break. The van’s owner was a man called Phil, and he sold it to American Pickers for the price of $25k.
Dan Auerbach Of The Black Keys Got Chet Atkin’s Guitar
That was not the only piece of music history they discovered along the way. This time, it was a guitar that used to belong to Chet Atkins, one of the best country guitarists in the old days. The musician came from Nashville, which explains how the guitar found its way to Mike and Frank’s shop. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys wanted the 1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 guitar and paid them $9,500. Being based in the city and looking for valuable stuff in the area gives them the chance to discover more music artifacts easily. The best thing about it is that most people who end up buying them off are musicians as well.
License Plates As We Have Never Seen Them Before
When you go looking for antiques, you are revisiting and uncovering history. American Pickers contacted an automotive enthusiast by the name of Toney Thomas, who had quite a few antiques that Mike and Frank might be interested in. The Michigan local had a pioneer license plate made of leather that dates back to 1908. Before they started using metal for motor vehicle license plates, car owners got a number and had to somehow make it visible on their vehicles. The previous owner of the Oldsmobile decided to make his plate out of leather. The team paid a thousand bucks for this glorious find.
Artifacts From An Abandoned Amusement Park
What would you do when someone known as “Balloons the clown” invites you to go on a tour of some abandoned amusement park? Well, there is no way you can say no when you happen to be a picker. Mike and Frank took Neal Fehnel up on his offer to bring them to an old amusement park he bought in Easton, Pennsylvania. Called Bushkill Park, it was one of the oldest fun houses in the country and had been in operation from 1902 to 2004. Fehnel purchased it and tried to keep it running to a certain extent. He and the team came to an agreement about a slideshow banner, which went for $5,000.
Buying A 1939 Tether Model Car
Back in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Americans were gradually starting to buy cars as the fascination with the automobile kept going up. During those days, people purchased small model racing cars. The tether model cars ran on mini internal combustion engines tied to a tether. Controlled by a remote, the person had to press on the gas up to a speed of 150 miles an hour. Mike paid $1,100 for it, and why not? It was an amazing find that any automotive enthusiast would love.
Vintage Vespa Dealer Sign
First made in Italy back in 1946, the famous Vespa scooters soon entered the United States not long after. It was considered to be a more economical mode of transportation after the Second World War. They were made popular by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Aside from that, they also saw a popularity boost after John Wayne rode his own Vespa around Hollywood. Mike was in Florida when he found an old Vespa dealers sign that came from the ‘80s. As a Vespa fan, Mike got it for $450.
Paying A Lot For A 1910 Royal Pioneer
We are sure you do not remember how motorcycles used to look very different from how we know them today. Mike found a 1910 Royal Pioneer motorbike. The manufacturer only released a certain number of the models after a huge fire took out the business. Mike was able to chance upon one of the 500 units they made and agreed on the price of $55,000 with the seller for the luxury bike. It was a pretty good deal as he could probably find someone to pay more than $90,000 for it!
William Shatner And His Quest To Buy A Millstone
What are you going to do when William Shatner hits you up and asks for a favor? The famous actor had been looking for a very specific object for his garden. He wanted a millstone, a rock that had been smoothed down before it was molded into a circle. Used for grinding grain, The Pickers located one for him, but you can bet the owner was not about to hand it over for cheap. The two of them paid $2,500 for this stone, although the owner claimed he could have gotten $3,500 for it.
Frank Has Gotten Into Legal Trouble Before
There was one point at which Frank got in trouble with the law over some farm equipment. Jerry Bruce, a resident of Greenville, South Carolina, was interested in a polarimeter he saw on an episode of the show. He talked to Frank about it and agreed to pay $300 for it. Bruce made the payment, though he did not get the item. Frank did not cash the check, but Bruce took it to court and won anyway.
Paying $6,500 for An Original Jell-O Wagon
Jell-O has long been an institution in the United States. At one point, it was even called “America’s Most Famous Dessert”. Just about every household across the country had it in their pantry in the ‘50s. It might be because the brand adopted the effective strategy of using good advertising campaigns. The Pickers bought a legit Jell-O wagon at the price of $6,500 after Danielle found it in a Louisiana barn. They eventually sold it to the Jell-O museum. If you are interested in paying it a visit, it is in Le Roy, New York.
$90,000 For Three Ace Motorbikes
You can bet there was no way Mike and Frank were going to turn away rare Ace motorbikes. However, they knew it would go for a lot of money. While doing their job in the Pacific Northwest, the pair got in touch with a car collector who had three of these rare motorcycles in his possession. Ace Motor Corporation manufactured bikes from 1919 to 1927. Not a lot of these luxury 4-cylinder motorcycles have survived, which is why the Pickers paid $90k for the three of them. We bet they were worth it!
A Piece Of Art On Wheels
It is already rare enough to find a Model T, but this unit is even more special! They found a man who owned a Model T car that once belonged to his dad. The original owner was a crafty and skilled man who hand-whittled wood to customize the vehicle to his liking! It was such a beautiful and unique car that everyone decided its rightful place was in a museum and not a garage. They offered to help him get the Model T unit into a museum so that everyone could see the incredible masterpiece on wheels.
A Rare Model From A Now-Defunct Automaker
If you work as a picker, very few things could be more exciting than coming across a rare car from a defunct automobile manufacturer. The Pickers dropped by an AMC dealership when they were in North Carolina and saw two Nash-Healy model cars that dated back from 1954. Nash Motors had been a subsidiary of American Motors from 1954 to 1957 before partnering with the British sports automaker Donald Healey for this model. They only created 506 units of the model and the Pickers decided to buy these two units for a grand total of $46k.
Buying A Cyclecar For $12,000
Do you think you would recognize this if you stumbled upon it? The Cyclecar was introduced in the ‘10s and ‘20s as a cheaper means of transportation. It continues to have great historical value even though it was phased out after economy cars started to go for sale. The Pickers found this Cyclecar, which was made in London by the St. Mark’s Engineering Co. Built with a 1196cc Henderson engine, it ended up selling for $12,000.