‘American Pickers’: Here’s What Was Found on the First-Ever Episode

by John Jamison

10 years and 332 episodes have come and gone since “American Pickers” first hit screens. Mike, Frank, and Danielle have found plenty of memorable stuff throughout that time—too much to keep track of, in fact. But with how much the show has changed recently, there’s plenty of nostalgia in watching back through those first seasons. It raises the question, what types of things did Mike and Frank pick during those simpler times? What did they find in the first “American Pickers” episode ever?

Seeing the stars of “American Pickers” ten years younger and less experienced is quite the experience. For one, their lack of celebrity meant that people were less likely to part with their goods. As regular guys, Mike and Frank had to put in extra work for opportunities that likely present themselves to the pickers now.

Of course, the presence of a camera crew always lends folks credibility. And fortunately for fans of the show, those cameras captured quality stuff from the very first episode.

Watch a Segment from Season 1 Episode 1 of ‘American Pickers’

“American Pickers” has evolved over the decade-plus it’s been on the air. But the world of antique collecting hasn’t one bit. At the end of the day, valuable old stuff only comes in so many forms. And from the beginning, Mike and Frank have been on the lookout for vintage signs, bikes, and classic cars.

Included below is a five-minute segment from the beginning of the first-ever episode of the show.

Titled “Big Bear,” the series premiere of “American Pickers” found Mike and Frank in the heart of their native Iowa. In one of the coolest exchanges the show has seen to date, they met with a World War II veteran named Leland. As you might have guessed, the 88-year old had some impressive items in his collection. Chief among them was a Japanese katana from the time he spent in the Pacific during the war.

The pickers also crossed paths with one of their toughest sells to date. Danny Beans was toeing the fine line between hoarder and collector, the worst part being he didn’t want to sell anything, even the smallest stuff. Meanwhile, back at the Antique Archaeology office, fans got their first look at Danielle Colby.

She was hard at work trying to nail down the identity and location of a man named “Bear,” who reportedly had his hands on a huge classic car collection.

The End of the Show in Its Traditional Format

The absence of Frank Fritz from the show has left a hole where a lovable, experienced picker used to be. The show changed forever when fans learned that Fritz wouldn’t be returning. And whether that’s for the best or not remains to be seen.

If we’re going by fan outrage alone, it’s safe to say “American Pickers” changed for the worse. Then again, the current season has enjoyed increased viewership. All we can say with confidence is that the show will never again be the same as it was all those years ago when Mike and Frank wandered onto their first farm together.