What You Think Is ‘Trash’ May Be Their ‘Treasure’!!!
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Are you familiar with ‘American Pickers’? No, they don’t pick a guitar or a banjo; music is not their field. They are “hunters” of sorts, but here again they are not your typical hunters; what they hunt and pick is within the fascinating world of antiques. You know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure? Well, it’s true.
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are the pickers! They travel all across America – yes, even the back roads – looking for antiques and collectibles, and along the way, they are always hopeful that their “finds” will include interesting people who will share interesting stories.
‘American Pickers’ also titles their documentary series on the History channel that debuted in 2010 and has become a hit show. Cameras follow Mike and Frank as they journey from coast to coast across America in search of old items to purchase for resale to clients or to perhaps add to their own personal collections. Often their travels follow leads given to them by their office manager Danielle Colby; other times, they do what they call “free-styling” … just hitting the roads and stopping at out of the way places that they feel might be storing some hidden treasures … and they love to come across objects that have historical significance!
Mike and Frank say they search for “rusty gold”. “We look for amazing things buried in people’s garages and barns,” Mike said. “What most people see as junk, we see as dollar signs. We’ll buy anything we think we can make a buck on. Each item we pick has a history all its own, and the people we meet are a breed all their own.”
Well, American Pickers will be traveling in West Virginia in May and filming episodes for their hit series. It doesn’t matter where you live, if you have a sizeable, unique collection or an accumulation of antiques that perhaps might have a story behind them, they would be excited to hear from you. They would like nothing better than to spend the better part of a day looking through these things. They say they learn a lot about America’s past while they hunt and pick!
In addition to traveling the back roads throughout the U.S., both Mike and Frank own their own businesses. Mike Wolfe owns Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa. That remains his main headquarters, but in addition, he has a second storage location in Nashville (a former car factory) so that he doesn’t have to haul his treasures such a great distance when he’s ‘picking’ in the southern states!
Frank Fritz sells from his own shop in Savanna, Illinois as well as on his website – FrankFritzFinds.
If you’re ever in the area of either of their shops, you may find a ‘treasure’ to take home with you. And even if you don’t make a purchase, both men say they welcome “Lookie-Loos” (folks who just want to browse)!
These two skilled pickers have hunted for treasures in people’s homes, their barns, sheds, outbuildings, basements, garages, etc. They call upon casual collectors, hoarders, and occasionally people who have inherited overwhelming collections of what appears to be apparent junk. Again, they hope that among your trash they will find their treasures! Old bicycles … antique toys … old oil cans … old film posters … old commercial signage … old lighting fixtures … even old gas pumps – you just never know what they may find attractive and be willing to buy!
They will search through crumbling buildings in small towns for less than perfect items. It doesn’t matter how rusted or worn the items are. In fact, sometimes those may be the most appealing to them. They love to rescue old, unappreciated objects because they have history.
The American Pickers duo are hunters, pickers and preservers. They truly have a passion for America’s history and don’t mind traveling the back roads to discover it. And they love hearing the stories that accompany the items they find along the way.
If you have a barn or shed full of interesting items that you would like to pare down, let American Pickers have a look at it. Send your name, phone number, location and description of your collection along with photos to [email protected] or call 855-OLD-RUST. Who knows … they could pay you a visit when they travel through the Mountain State in May!
Pictured above are Frank Fritz (left) and Mike Wolfe (right). They will soon be traveling to West Virginia in search of antiques and collectibles and plan to film episodes of their hit series American Pickers here too.