American Pickers’: Here’s Why ‘Final Sales’ Are Not Actually the Real Prices

by John Jamison
(Photo by Brian Killian/WireImage)

Is “American Pickers” all a big sham? No. Not really. Though the prices Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have negotiated on the show over the years aren’t necessarily what they actually paid at the end of the day. Here’s why.

The majority of the time, “American Pickers” shows Mike and Frank negotiating antique prices cordially. There tends to be a friendly back and forth with a client, and when all is said and done, both parties generally leave happy. For many, this surface-level depiction of the antique business is an accurate representation of what really happens. And in a way, it is.

But according to Finance101, “American Pickers” isn’t showing everything. Beneath the surface is something more… well, it’s not sinister. It’s just the reality of business when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Finance101 suggests that once the cameras cut, Mike and Frank renegotiate the terms of their deals. Apparently, they aren’t nearly as generous as they appear to be in the scenes that make it onto “American Pickers.” It’s not the most shocking revelation of all time. But it definitely changes some of the perceptions surrounding Mike and Frank.

Business is business, it would seem. It tends to be cutthroat in most aspects of life. So it’s not that difficult to believe. Especially when considering how blunt people like Rick Harrison tend to be when making deals on “Pawn Stars.” At the end of the day, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are trying to get the best deals possible.

The Stars of ‘American Pickers’ Have Also Been Said to Be Extremely Generous

All of that said, there are also reports from folks that have done business with the pickers. Many have claimed that the show has come back to make good on an unanticipated major score. For example, if Mike Wolfe buys a collection of old junky motorcycles for a low price, but there happens to be a gem in there that triples his profit, he has been known to give some of that money to the original seller.

Of course, some of this has to be taken at Mike Wolfe’s word. He talked about the practice during an interview with Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine in 2011.

“I have gone back and given people more money for items I bought from them. My business before the show was based on leads and referrals. Going back and giving the seller more money, that’s good for your mojo,” Wolfe said.

In the end, Mike Wolfe doesn’t have to pursue buying opportunities these days. He loves doing it, and it’s the entire premise of “American Pickers.” So obviously he’s going to continue hitting the road. But he’s clearly reputable enough for antique collectors all over to seek him out for potential business