‘American Pickers’ Star Mike Wolfe Revealed the Difference Between Pickers and Hoarders

by Courtney Blackann

The History Channel success “American Pickers” sometimes finds Mike Wolfe in some pretty junky warehouses. Or at least it appears that way as he ‘picks’ his way to a unique find. However, Wolfe shared some insight on where the line is between hoarders and pickers – and it actually may surprise you.

Now, traveling across the United States in some of the most idyllic scenes of Americana, Wolfe unlocks hidden gems in old barns and homes. These things may sometimes appear worn and tarnished. But the “American Pickers” star can usually see beyond that when he finds something valuable. And after doing it for decades, the television personality is definitely an expert.

But hoarding is a bit different – and there’s a show about that too. Looper reports that “Hoarders” on A&E delves more into the lives and reasons behind why someone would hoard. And there’s usually a mental element to it. Hoarding can take the form of lots of different things. But unlike the A&E series, “American Pickers” families are proud of their collections – and that makes all the difference according to Wolfe.

“I watched Hoarders last night. The hoarder talked about the thrill of hunt, that they were excited to find something on a hunt. That’s the same thrill we get,” Wolfe begins.

But he also adds that:

“But the people we come across are collectors; they are proud people who are proud of their collections. On Hoarders, no one was proud. Even when you look at collections that are stacked on top of one another, the collectors are still proud of them. That’s the separation between a collector and a hoarder. A hoarder may start out proud, but they aren’t in the end.”

Additionally, hoarders tend to compulsively collect, while ‘pickers’ tend to showcase their possessions – and have a separate living space from them. But if you’ve seen some of the warehouses on the History series, the line is definitely blurred a bit (in my humble opinion).

Why Mike Wolfe Wanted to Create “American Pickers”

And long before Wolfe was a household name, he was collecting and basically being a ‘picker’ before the term gained popularity. He explains why he wanted to turn his passion into a television series and what it does to inspire people.

“I was traveling all over the country, coming back with all this great stuff—bikes, motorcycles, Vespas, gas-station signs from the thirties, anything I thought I could make a buck on. And I had these amazing stories from people I met on the road, so I started making home movies, showing them to friends and putting them online,” Wolfe says.

He also says, “I knew it would make a great TV show, but I pitched the idea to every network on cable for four years before History Channel picked us up. Our first show aired January 18, 2010.”