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Sun Times Feature Story


 

101719

AMERICAN PICKERS


Do You Have A Collection For Them To Look Through?

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to Florida! They plan to film episodes of the hit series American Pickers throughout this area in December. For those of you that don’t follow the show AMERICAN PICKERS is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

MIKE WOLFE
A lifelong American picker, Mike Wolfe has been searching for hidden treasure since he was four years old. Over the years, he’s earned a reputation as one of the country’s foremost foragers, traveling coast to coast in search of rusty gold. Where other people see dilapidated barns and overgrown yards, Wolfe sees the beauty of long-lost things and the stories of the people who made them, used them and somehow saved them.

Wolfe spends as much time as he can on the road, often with Frank Fritz, his friend of 20 years and fellow picker, in tow. “A picker’s kind of like a nomad,” he explains. And for Wolfe, the people he meets and the tales they tell are an integral part of the journey—ultimately as valuable as the rare finds he unearths in their barns, attics and sheds.

What exactly does Wolfe look for? “Anything I can make a buck on,” he laughs. But truly, he looks for things with a story; things that fill in some of the blanks in the everyday history of America. That could be anything from antique baby carriages and vintage jukeboxes to old cars and peeling metal advertising signs.

Both locations of Antique Archaeology, his specialty shop that sells antiques, vintage items and folk art, have become top tourist destinations in Le Claire, Iowa and Nashville, Tennessee. But after his family, his full-time passion is preserving as much of small-town America as he can, finding old buildings throughout the Midwest and the mid-South that can be reclaimed, restored and reinvigorated, breathing new life into the main streets where he grew up.

FRANK FRITZ
Like his buddy Mike, Frank started picking early, collecting rocks and beer cans as a kid. He worked for many years as a fire and safety inspector but always had a passion for antiques and junk. These days, he spends all his time on the road with Mike, digging for treasure in barns, garages and junkyards across America.

Even-tempered and affable, he has a way with potential sellers and a knack for putting out fires: Mike calls him the bearded charmer. Frank does get a little carried away, however, by anything with an engine, and Mike often has to talk him out of buying yet another motorbike for his collection.

With their complementary personalities and shared love of picking, Frank and Mike make the perfect team. Still, since they’re both out to cash in on their finds, some healthy competition always comes into play.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. AMERICAN PICKERS is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send them your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-OLD-RUST. Mike and Frank only pick private collections so NO stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses or anything open to the public.


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