‘American Pickers’: Why Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz Paid $1100 for a Small Toy

by Shelby Scott

For “American Pickers,” to be a success, it makes sense the stars, Mike Wolfe and, previously, Frank Fritz, would drop a small fortune to gain unique finds. However, among some of the most unique, we’ve learned the stars once dropped an astounding $1,100 on one small toy. Read on to find out why.

According to Looper, Wolfe and Fritz found an antique tether car during a season 17 episode of “American Pickers.”

While the toy has long been knocked from the industry, the outlet stated they were popular from the 1930s to the 1960s. As to the tether car’s size, it ranged anywhere between 14 and 24 inches long.

Basically, the little cars feature a miniature internal combustion engine. Due to the toy’s small scale, it reached highly impressive speeds, the record topping out at 214 miles per hour. However, as a primitive safety feature, as toys were not previously evaluated by the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission until 1972, the car was, literally, attached to a tether. So while the toy car traveled at pretty extreme speeds, it was only able to navigate in a circle.

The tether car the “American Pickers” found was not the prettiest to look at. Although, with repairs, it was sure to be worth a pretty penny. At least we hope it was. The toy itself cost an impressive $800. Meanwhile, they spent the additional $300 on two other tether car bodies and one memory jug.

Hopefully then, after spending more than a grand, the “American Pickers” were able to restore the toy and make some money back.

‘American Pickers” Star Drops Another Grand On a License Plate

As I have no experience collecting antiques, it’s hard to imagine dropping a thousand dollars on anything that doesn’t serve an actual function. Alas, I guess I don’t carry the “American Pickers” gene in me. Regardless, the hit show’s star, Mike Wolfe, has a lifetime of experience in the collecting and antiquing industry. So, we’re sure the money he spends is methodically calculated prior to the final buy.

Whatever the case, Mike Wolfe does not flinch at occasionally dropping a thousand dollars on some pretty rad finds. Following the “American Pickers'” acquisition of the antique toy, Mike Wolfe later spent another $1,000 on a single license plate.

While I might have been a little apprehensive about purchasing a single plate for so much money, genuine collectors are sure to understand Wolfe’s motive.

In 2021, Americans are sure to be incapable of imagining our vehicle plates made of anything but metal. However, Mike Wolfe’s unique plate was instead made of leather, speaking to the item’s historic significance.

In acquiring the leather license plate from its previous owner, Mike Wolfe learned the antique find previously donned the bumper of a 1908 Oldsmobile, the final selling point for the “American Pickers” star. In the end, Wolfe made a $200 profit.