‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe Once Paid an Insane Amount for This Vintage Sign

by Taylor Cunningham

In a season 20 episode of American Pickers, Mike Wolfe made someone’s day by shelling out an insane amount of money for an old, tattered sign.

As all fans know, vintage motorcycles are Wolfe’s main passion in life, and old cars are a close second. And aside from that, he also has a unique obsession with antique signs.

While driving through Indianapolis one day, he found a rare United Service Motors sign that he wanted so much he was willing to fork over nearly $2,000.

During the episode titled Space Invaders Smackdown, Wolfe and his former co-star Frank Fritz happen upon an old garage and asked the owner, Rick, if they could dig around a bit.

Of course, Rick was happy to oblige. And once the guys got to work, they were thrilled by all the collectibles laying around waiting to be discovered.

“Rick has managed to utilize every inch of this space,” Mike said. “It’s from the ground to the rafters.”

 At first, Wolfe doesn’t spot anything he truly needs, though. But Frank quickly finds a diamond in the rough when he starts perusing the rafters.

The ‘American Pickers’ Host Knew the Old Sign Was an Original

Rick had proudly displayed the vintage sign above an old set of wheels. He said he got it from a friend of his who lived in Ohio and a few people have made offers on it over the years. But nobody gave one that he couldn’t refuse.

As she shared with the American Pickers stars, the highest anyone was willing to pay was $300. Wolfe was well aware that the item was far more valuable than a couple of hundred dollars, so he made an offer of his own. And he didn’t waste time lowballing the guy.

Upon inspection, Wolfe could see that the sign had some damage. But because it was an obvious original, it was still worth a lot of money. So, he began the bargaining at $1,600—more than five times what the next highest bidder was willing to pay.

Rick knew that Wolfe could do better, so he simply asked him to “up it a little bit.” Mike Wolfe offered another $100, and they had a deal.

Once the sign was his, Wolfe went on a hunt for the missing bracket. That way, the next owner could properly display their rare antique for the world to see.

Luckily, it only took a little digging to unearth the bracket and take home the sign in its entirety. In the end, everyone got exactly what they wanted. Rick scored a big chunk of change for something that was just collecting dust in his garage. And American Pickers earned one more unique treasure to add to its collection at Antique Archeology.