“American Picker” star Mike Wolfe has made a living out of collecting some unusual items. From one of Aerosmith’s original tour vans to old housewares, posters, and special requests, “American Pickers” host, Mike Wolfe has scoured the country for almost anything.
While the “American Pickers” host has certainly made some memorable purchases of some unique and often-times priceless items, there is one type of item that always piques the History Channel host’s interest. Motorcycles.
These items intrigue the host so much so that it’s tough for Wolfe to accept that not all owners are willing to give up their treasures for a price.
A Search For One Item Keeps “American Pickers” Host on the Road
“70% of the stuff I find, I can’t buy. It is not for sale,” Wolfe explained in a recent interview with Southern Antiquing and Collecting Magazine. Wolfe added that during one pick he discovered a motorbike that pre-dated 1915, a rare find even for the most dedicated collector. While he is often able to convince someone to sell their items, this time, the owner knew what they had and opted not to sell.
However, noted the “American Pickers” host, it’s this focus on the “one” find that keeps him on the road, and the new episodes of the hit History Channel series coming.
Ever since he was a child, Mike Wolfe has been intrigued by collector item bikes.
“When I was five, I had my first big score when I found a pile of old bicycles in my neighborhood on trash day,” Wolfe explained. “I was always bringing home old bottles and other random stuff. I never thought of it as junk: to me, it was beautiful.”
As time went on, the “American Pickers” host’s interest moved from pedal bikes to motorbikes.
“I raced competitively in my twenties, which led me to open a bicycle store and repair shop in Bettendorf, Iowa, my hometown,” he explained. “But I never stopped picking. Because of the store, people were always telling me about cool vintage bikes for sale, which I’d buy and flip for extra cash.”
In fact, it was this collection that ultimately led to the show as we know it today.
“When I added Italian scooters and motorcycles to the mix, picking became more than just a hobby,” Wolfe explained. “So I closed the shop, bought a van, and hit the road.”
Searching For the Elusive Find
During his antiquing career, Wolfe’s best find came when he noticed an ad in a motorcycle magazine.
“I called the number. The older man who answered the phone said there were still a few rusty bikes out in the barn,” the collector recalled. “I drove 800 miles, arriving in Pennsylvania the very next morning.”
Mike went on to recall what he found when he finally met with the owner of the collection.
“When the old farmer opened the barn door, I knew I had hit the mother lode: 10 vintage Indian bikes and two more barns full of spare parts-a mega pick of a lifetime.”