Mere yards away from the small city of LeClaire, Iowa, on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River, sits Illinois. “American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe is a product of both places. And within a stone’s throw of each is the Elton E. Fawks Bald Eagle Refuge Nature Preserve. The most recent merchandise from Wolfe’s Antique Archaeology stores reflects this background.
Born in Illinois, Wolfe spent much of his childhood in Iowa. It’s where he first gained an appreciation for picking, reportedly snagging old bikes from his neighbor’s dumpster. Growing up here, however, he also became familiar with the region’s wildlife. The river banks that separate the states along this part of the Mississippi happen to be a favorite spot of America’s national bird.
Of course, fans of “American Pickers” are likely aware that Mike Wolfe maintains two locations of his Antique Archaeology stores. One of them is in Nashville, and the other is situated just steps away from some of the best bald eagle-watching territory in the country. It’s no wonder then that the newest T-shirt in Mike Wolfe’s line of merchandise happens to feature a depiction of an eagle clutching arrows in its talons.
“Pickin’ America,” the shirt says, between the Antique Archaeology branding.
“During the winter season, bald eagles fly to LeClaire to build their eight feet wide,13 feet-deep, one-ton nests along the Mississippi River. Locals and photographers enjoy watching eagles scoop fish right out of the river,” part of the Instagram caption reads.
The caption goes on to point out how Wolfe often finds discarded fish heads in his LeClaire backyard. The source? Eagles leaving behind evidence of a successful hunt. The shirt is an homage to Wolfe’s hometown, America, and his favorite pastime.
‘American Pickers’ Merchandise are the Best Selling Items at Antique Archaeology
These days, the “American Pickers” star is about his business. And though one might make the mistake of thinking Wolfe’s Antique Archaeology stores are bustling antique marketplaces, the reality is more lucrative.
Believe it or not, merchandise—be it “American Pickers” branded or representing the store itself like the eagle shirt—is the stores’ best-seller.
“Ninety percent of our sales are clothing, so all of a sudden I’m in the clothing business. I’m looking at what we’re making for spring. I’m looking at hard goods, soft goods…I just learned recently that our number-one-selling shirt doesn’t have our logo on it,” Wolfe told Fast Company in 2015.
It’s safe to say Antique Archaeology figured out the logo thing, considering the newest T-shirt its official Instagram account is touting. Still, the fact that the antique stores have found such a niche is impressive.