When Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz walked into Hubba’s bathroom during an episode of “American Pickers,” they were surprised to find a huge collection. Appropriately, the bathroom walls were covered in vintage restroom signs. They’re somewhat unassuming, but Wolfe saw immediately how much value was in the decor.
The Season 17 episode of “American Pickers” titled “The Great Pumpkin Showdown” found Mike and Frank cross paths with a stylish reverend named Hubba. He turned out to be quite the collector, taking the pickers around his space with old school gas station pumps and vintage signs. After an orange “Johnson Gasolene” pump in amazing condition caught Wolfe’s eye, Hubba led the pickers back to the bathroom.
There they discovered the mecca of old school bathroom signs. Everything from “men,” “women,” “ladies,” and “gentleman.” Hubba had seemingly every single version of a bathroom sign ever devised.
“The restroom signs? I know it’s kind of weird and quirky. You know, like ‘You collect restroom signs?’ I just stared and it kind of kept rolling,” Hubba said during the episode of “American Pickers.”
But what really got Wolfe’s attention was a three-piece road sign advertising “clean restrooms.”
Mike loved the piece. But Hubba drove a hard bargain. The good reverend was asking $750 for the road sign. Mike considered the price for a moment, then came back with his counter offer.
“Why don’t we do this? I’ll give you your 15 ($1,500) for the pump—that’s the number you came up with on the Johnson, the orange one—okay? If you do 6 ($600) on this,” the “American Pickers” star countered.
Hubba thought it over for a minute before concluding that it was a fair deal in more ways than one. He getting a good price, but Mike Wolfe was also “lightening” his load.
‘American Pickers’ Star Mike Wolfe Considers Show the Hardest Thing He’s Ever Done
He also considers it the most rewarding thing in his life, which makes a lot of sense considering his 10-plus years of success with the show.
“‘American Pickers’ is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, but it’s the most rewarding thing. And I was so naive to the process—I mean we’d never done television before. Frank and I were friends since eighth grade and we just wanted to be ourselves. And I think that’s what resonates with people. But at the end of the day, it was like how do we make this different somehow,” Wolfe told Small Town Big Deal in 2016.
Indeed, Wolfe spent five years traveling the country, documenting his picking experiences before any network would give him the time of day. When the show finally got picked up, he figured it’d get easier. Little did he know, the work had just begun.