‘American Pickers’: Here’s How the Final Prices Are Decided

by Clayton Edwards

American Pickers has been on the air since 2010. Since then, it has aired 21 full seasons and is currently on its 22nd. For most of that time, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz traveled the country to find and buy antiques. Fans of the show tune in every week to see where the pickers will go next and what they’ll find. However, some may feel a little let down knowing that a large portion of the show is staged.

However, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, American Pickers is a reality TV show. By now, most people know that few things are farther removed from real life than the long line of reality shows on television. So, that leaves one big question. How much of the show is real and how much comes to us through the magic of television?

Mike Wolfe and whoever is picking with him don’t set the prices for their items. Nor do the collectors. In fact, many times the pickers don’t even find the items. Cineamholic reports that the American Pickers producers actually handle all of that before the show’s stars ever show up to the site. They choose the items, set the prices, and inform those on both sides of the transaction.

However, the producers do leave some leeway for both the hosts and the collectors from whom the pickers plan to buy. So, some of the show’s high-drama haggling is real, to an extent. They can go back and forth a little, but both parties know where the negotiation is going ahead of time.

So, What Part of American Pickers Is Real?

Thankfully, several aspects of American Pickers are real. In fact, the most important parts of the show are real. For instance, up until the last few episodes of the 21st season, Mike and Frank actually traveled the country. More importantly, their banter is unscripted. For many, their interactions were the best part of the series. This explains why so many fans were outraged when they found out that Frank Fritz was cut from the show.

Antique Archeology is real too. In fact, Mike Wolfe owns two of those stores. One is in Le Claire, Iowa. The other is in Tennessee. Those stores house many of the things that the American Pickers team finds on the road. At the same time, they bring in real revenue for Wolfe and his employees.

Furthermore, Danielle Colby actually helps to run both of those stores. Additionally, her friendship with Wolfe is real. They’ve known each other for years and bonded over their love of antiques. In recent months, she proved that her friendship is real by standing by Mike amid the fan backlash over Frank’s departure.

Most importantly, all of the education in the show is real. Fans of American Pickers know that most of the show’s runtime is dedicated to studying and telling the story of the items they find. They don’t fake Mike’s passion to preserve history.