‘American Pickers’: Mike Wolfe’s Initiative to Get Kids Interested in the Art of Antiquing

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images)

Picking isn’t just a job for Mike Wolfe. It’s a passion. In fact, picking is his way of discovering, restoring, and preserving American history. He shared that passion with the world when American Pickers hit the airwaves in 2010. After the show became a hit, Wolfe used his platform to inspire kids to explore history through antiquing and picking.

According to River Cities’ Reader, Mike Wolfe and his shop Antique Archeology hosted the first Kid Picker Flea Market on June 13, 2015. Wolfe and his crew invited kids between the ages of seven and thirteen to come and set up their tables as vendors. Buyers of all ages could come and buy antique, vintage, and handmade goods.

The event took place on the Le Claire Levee, just blocks away from Mike Wolfe’s store. Additionally, the Kid Picker Flea Market featured live music and appearances from the American Pickers stars. Mike, Frank, and Dani were all there to browse items and chat with fans.

Mike Wolfe and Antique Archeology hosted their second Kid Picker Flea Market in June of 2018. A total of 31 kids showed up that year to sell their wares. They and their families traveled from all over the country to take part in the second Kid Picker Flea Market.

That event kicked off with a speech from Mike Wolfe. He talked about celebrating a child’s mind and why encouraging them to hunt down and collect antiques was so important. Then, he addressed the kids in the audience. He told them that it was especially important to follow their passion for picking in the modern age. He told them that they were the ones who would be responsible for remembering and sharing the history of American industry in the future. An understanding of antiques is a great gateway to knowing more about history,

The Other Way Mike Wolfe Inspires Kids to Pick

Many people know Mike Wolfe from television. Some Le Claire and Nashville locals have probably met him at one of his shops. However, did you know that Wolfe is also an author?

Wolfe teamed up with Lily Sprengelmeyer to co-write Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure in 2013. The book is like a starter’s guide to picking. Wolfe shares his insights on researching items, discerning the personal and monetary value of antiques, and much more.

The team behind the book is pretty much perfect. Mike Wolfe is an expert picker with over five decades of finding rusty gold under his belt. Lily Sprengelmeyer is a third-grade teacher and lifelong picker. She grew up in her father’s antique store. So, between them, they have decades of antiquing experience. At the same time, Sprengelmeyer knows how to communicate with and educate children.