‘American Pickers’: Here’s How Many Finds Mike Wolfe Actually Keeps for Himself

by John Jamison
(Photo by Beth Gwinn/Getty Images)

Mike Wolfe, star of the hit History Channel series “American Pickers,” is a practical man. Tempting as it’d be for him to hang onto all of the coolest stuff he finds, only certain antiques make the cut. After all, there’s a fine line between tastefully decorating a house with conversation pieces and becoming one of the collectors he encounters on the show each week.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a collector. But often, the people Mike encounters on “American Pickers” are swimming in thousands of items taking up entire barns and garages. Wolfe certainly has the resources necessary to maintain serious collections like these. And in a way, he does. His are simply constantly rotating through the business he does at his Antique Archaeology stores.

But how does he determine which items he wants to sell and which he wants to keep? Well, knowing how Wolfe feels about the stories behind his big finds would suggest that he wants to keep pretty much everything. In the end, however, it comes down to practicality.

In an interview with People Magazine in 2015, the “American Pickers” star described the general policy he adheres to regarding what he keeps.

“In my home I have a mixture of antiques and new things. If it’s at home, it has to be practical. Am I going to sit on a Victorian sofa with a spring in my butt? No!” Wolfe said.

In other words, a really old refrigerator that may be awesome to look at or is extremely rare probably isn’t going in Mike Wolfe’s kitchen any time soon. Why? Because a modern one can outperform it. Though that doesn’t mean someone out there isn’t willing to buy it off of him for a pretty penny.

The ‘American Pickers’ Star Has Been Known to Keep the Ultimate Finds to Himself

How does one get around the concerns of filling their house up with too many antiques? That’s easy. Buy an antique house.

“American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe has been fortunate enough to own multiple homes with big-time historical significance. Talking to Preservation Magazine in 2016, Wolfe spoke on how many of his houses have been antiques themselves.

“Everywhere except my first house. The second house I bought was an 1854 riverboat pilot’s house in Le Claire, Iowa. Everyone in Le Claire thought I was nuts,” Wolfe said. But you should have seen this thing. It was Italianate style. It had the most amazing staircase. Pine floors. I sold that one and bought another riverboat pilot’s house, where I lived until I bought this 1860 general store in downtown Le Claire.”

So the “American Pickers” star tries to keep the numbers of antiques in his home down for the sake of practicality. But he has to scratch the itch somehow. Why not do it with the house itself?