Currently, American Pickers has been on the air for over a decade. Up until the last few episodes of the 21st season, Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe traveled the country together in search of rusty gold. However, Wolfe and Fritz picked long before the show began. In fact, Mike tried to sell the show for five years before History picked it up. Before that, Wolfe started his picking journey as a kid. They’ve found some incredible artifacts of American history over the years, but those items usually aren’t the most interesting part of the pick. Oftentimes, the collectors and sellers are the most interesting part of an episode of the hit show.
Over the years, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have met some real characters. From the infamous Mole Man to the Memphis resident who believes he’s extraterrestrial royalty, they’ve seen just about everything on American Pickers. However, not everyone is welcoming.
Back in 2010, Mike and Frank did a Q&A session in Le Claire, Iowa just down the street from Wolfe’s flagship Antique Archaeology location. During that session, they talked about meeting people on the road.
Mike Wolfe Says Most Sellers are “Nice”
Mike Wolfe is a master storyteller. So, it comes as no surprise that he started his discussion about the people they’ve met on the road with a story. He, Frank, and Robbie were on the road in the middle of nowhere. While going down an old country road, they spotted a Coca-Cola machine sitting in a field. Of course, Wolfe had to stop.
Apparently, the pickers made that particular homeowner nervous. Mike Wolfe knocked on the door and the man answered the door with a pistol in his hand. Looking back, Wolfe admits this took him completely by surprise. “I was just like ‘is that for sale?’ I had no idea what to say,” he said with a laugh. After that, though, they had a nice talk and the homeowner even offered Frank a slice of lemon meringue pie.
Mike Wolfe went on to say, “We’d been doing this for 20 years before the show and everybody’s been pretty nice.” Then, Frank Fritz cut in saying “six out of ten people, I’d say.” Wolfe agreed with that figure.
Mike on Building Connections
Long before Mike Wolfe was the star of American Pickers, he was a man on a mission. He wanted to find, buy, and collect old bicycles. So, he put fliers up in grocery stores and put ads in the paper. However, no one ever called. So, he decided to take a different approach. “I’m just going to drive around out in the country and if I see a barn, I’m going to stop and ask if they have an old bicycle.”
Before long, Wolfe built relationships with collectors as well as dealers. Then, he started selling his finds to bike dealers. If it wasn’t for the kindness of homeowners with stores of antiques, American Pickers would have never happened.