AMERICAN PICKERS: Just when you thought there was nothing on

Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are on a mission to recycle America. Their job: to dig through junk piles, abandoned barns and neglected garages for hidden memorabilia. Sometimes they make a buck; and sometimes they walk away with little more than the history of an item. They love their work, and the open road is their office.

Part sleuths, part antiques experts, and part cultural historians— Mike and Frank, business partners of Antique Archaeology based in Iowa, are professional “pickers,” trolling America’s small towns to salvage rare collectibles and good junk from regular folks. AMERICAN PICKERS, a ten-part series from HISTORY, follows the adventures of Mike and Frank, through small towns and back roads for a glimpse at this little-known side of the antiques business. The all new series premieres Monday, January 18 at 9pm ET on HISTORY.

Buddies since 8th grade, Mike and Frank have an entertaining rapport and an instinct for unearthing relics of historical, collectible and pop culture value. Although buying and selling is their livelihood, the thrill is in the chase. Each treasure hunt leads them to fascinating, quirky characters – everyday people with stories about their artifacts and themselves that open a window into American life.

AMERICAN PICKERS follows the highs and lows of the “picking” trade as Mike and Frank get their hands dirty in search of weird and wonderful Americana. It takes amazing expertise to tell good junk from bad. Whether tracking down a one-of-a-kind Ferris wheel or sizing up a vintage Harley-Davidson, they must be prepared to verify an object’s history and judge its value. The pressure mounts as they strike the ultimate deal, find just the right buyer and turn around the item fast. It’s not uncommon for them to contend with a farmer’s physical threats and verbal abuse one minute and laughing with him over a beer the next.

“We’re caretakers of treasures and the stories behind them,” says Mike. Traveling along with the duo, viewers will meet an assortment of American originals and watch as a patchwork of history unfolds – one treasure at a time.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

17 comments

I hope it’s more about things, less about how much they are “worth.” The fun happens long before something appears in a shop, show or at auction!

Okay, okay…I saw your show last night and couldn’t believe my eyes. This is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do!! My ex was an antique dealer in MI. when we met. Long ago divorced, there is something in me that NEEDS to explore the lost antiquities of America….where are you Mike? You need me and I you…let’s explore buddy…. 🙂
Currently living in COlorado….

We love the show and hope they renew this show every year! Such wonderful entertainment and great host. It is so interesting and informative and funny too. The guys are great. Blessings to you all and hope to see you every year on the History channel.

need help, i have some old cameras dating from what i was told late 1800 thru WWII and on thru the 80’s in excellent condition but do no know value. we are going to be having an auction in the next couple of months and do not want to just give them away. anyone who can point me the right direction for answers. I wish i was more up on the computer and all but just learning things, no pics to send. So many items father in law saved he was born in 1910 and has things from his grandparents. camera and photography was his profession can anyone help?
thanks

Wow! Brought back memories by the truckload. When I got out of the service in 1970 my wife and I “picked” attics in New Bedford, MA … and sold the stuff to antique shops and at the real flea markets that were around back then, on Cape Cod, for 4 or 5 years while I worked my way through night school. We made a deal with people. We would clean out their attics for free if we could keep what they trashed! Rarely, but enough to keep it interesting, we would run across a true antique! Tons of fun!

Hello there, This show is so fun to watch! When you get out to the Pacific Northwest, Please look me up, You both will have so much fun “Pickn” at my fathers place! Heidi

Hi Folks,

We live in Arizona and there is a fantastic bike, scooter, motorcycle lot on North 87 out of Mesa going north to Payson. It has thousands of bikes, etc there and looks like youmight have a find there. It is in Rye, AZ…..just a hole in the wall off of North 87 but covers about 1 acre of nothing but bikes, scooters, etc.

If you all ever come to Rye, AZ you should also visit Globe, Miami and Claypool, AZ. These towns are full of antique stores, lots of antique autos, bikes, etc.

I have been watching your program for awhile an have been wondering when yall will be comming to Arkansas??You are always looking for Bikes???well I know of several places around Scott County you might be Interested in!!!!Feel free to contact me at my email address or at facebook.

Hello, Mike and Frank you guys are so fun. I’ve been a pickers since i was a kid. You both need to come to Maine i know alot of neat places to take you picking. You will have a great time and find Amazing deals. I PROMISE you that it would make a great show as well as making you money. I will look forward to showing you both around. Plus another hint. Havening a gal around can help you.. We are very good at sweet talking people down on price. Look forward to hearing back from you both.. Don’t lose out on a great chance to find wonderful things at great prices..Thanks for showing the world that picking is a great trade and hobbie.. Love all three of you…Keep up the good work.

Hi Mike and Frank,
When in S.C. again go to Manning , S.C. I95 to Santee and there is an outlet there with lots of things in a house, oil cans, signs, jewelry old cabinets etc. Further back to Alcolu just off I 95 near Manning is a town called Alcolu with an old country store, now antique store, my grandpa ran it Aldermans store, full of antiques etc. Thanks

Hi Mike and Frank,
When in Connecticut, come to Stratford to check out a couple of vintage dirt bikes. An old 1971 Penton 125 Six Day enduro, and a 1975 Husky 125wr. NBoth bikes need work , but are ready for a collector to restore them. Call 203-218-3746 if you’re in town and take a look. Thanks

you guys need to go to chocowinity NC, in eastern NC right off of highway 17 going south. that guy has ALOT of junk.
good luck!

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