There’s money in junk. A lot of money when it comes to Mike Wolfe‘s junk. The American Pickers star has made millions over the years picking through people’s old, unused items and his other business ventures. But how much does he make from starring in the History Channel hit?
According to Networth Reporter, Wolfe rakes in about $500,000 per season of the show. Frank Fritz, his former co-star, made a little less, earning $300,000. However, producers fired Frank from the show ahead of Season 22, which premiered last month.
Though the site doesn’t explain the pay discrepancy, the difference is likely because Wolfe also serves as executive producer of American Pickers. He created the concept for the hit show, as well.
But the differences don’t stop there. Wolfe is worth an estimated $7 million, which comes from a number of ventures. Along with American Pickers, Wolfe sells millions in merchandise every year through his stores’ website. He also has a lucrative operation renovating and restoring old buildings and renting them out to new tenants, he told CBS Sunday Morning. Fritz is worth an estimated $3 million. That comes from his time on the show and his store in Savannah, Illinois.
‘American Pickers’ Star Talks Diversifying Business
“History said something to me about four years ago, and I’ll never forget it: ‘We’re not in the Mike Wolfe business, we’re in the American Pickers business.’ And that woke me up,” he told Fast Company in 2015. “I said to myself, ‘You know, that’s right, you are in the American Pickers business, and I better get in the Mike Wolfe business real fast, and understand what that business is.’”
And that business is vast. He’s written a children’s book called Kid Pickers which teaches kids how to find valuable items and sell them for cash. He opened a second location of his Antique Archeology store in Nashville. And he started to sell merchandise — lots of merchandise. He put his logo on hundreds of items.
“Ninety percent of our sales are clothing, so all of a sudden I’m in the clothing business,” he explained to Fast Company. “I’m looking at what we’re making for spring. I’m looking at hard goods, soft goods, how those goods are presented in my store; the function, the flow, the lighting, how it’s focused, where it’s at, how close is it to the cash register. I’m constantly having meetings with my team to know what’s selling and what’s not, and I just learned recently that our number-one-selling shirt doesn’t have our logo on it.”
He said the value of “his brand” rose because American Pickers is such a hit. And it provides him with nearly endless publicity.
“We’re on television now 20 hours a week!” he said. “Think about that. Think about if you’re Ford or Chevy, Lexus, whoever you are, whatever major corporation. Imagine trying to buy 20 hours a week of television, what that would cost you. … So for us, being a small business and having that type of exposure is crazy.”