American Pickers

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A personal review by Sonny Crockett


“We travel the back roads of America; looking to buy rusty gold.”  That’s the job of American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. The show is about two guys who call themselves “Pickers”.  They travel all over the United States “picking” antiques and other old and valuable collectable items for purchase and eventual resale through their business called “Antique Archaeology.”

A very fitting name for the business, I feel, because they deal in antiques and also because Archaeology deals with the study of a society through recovered artefacts and ruins. This is a little gem of a program I have been enjoying for some time now. It screens late on Monday and Wednesday nights on channel 7 Mate.

These guys named Mike and Frank buy whatever you could think of and even more.  For example old business advertising signs, collectable cans, military artefacts like guns and flight gear pilots wear from the Vietnam War and older conflicts and old motorcycles and cars.  In addition they also buy various items of clothing such as leather jackets, antique bicycles and antique toys and old petrol pumps. These are just a few of the items they come “picking” for.

They purchase these goods from owners who are sometimes reluctant to part with their treasures. The negotiations to buy the antiques and collectables can be quite intense and in order to seal the deal the guys will sometimes employ the “bundling” technique. This is where the pickers offer to buy the item being negotiated for the price the owner wants if the owner throws in a secondary item that Mike or Frank want as part of the whole sale. The condition being that the secondary item is sold to them for a price that the pickers want rather than what the seller wants.

The goal of Antique Archaeology is not just to buy and sell antiques and collectables but to try and preserve the history of America for future generations to appreciate. Occasionally an item will be donated by the guys instead of sold on. In one episode of the show the guys got hold of a dinosaur bone and took it to a palaeontologist for an appraisal of its monetary value.

The palaeontologist told the pickers that the bone they brought him was so rare that its value was priceless. So Frank and Mike decided to donate the fossil to the museum where this palaeontologist worked.  I find it thoroughly fascinating to watch these guys find all these remarkable antiques and goods and then negotiate for their purchase.  I highly recommend it for viewing.  So take note: you may have junk at home that might actually turn out to be highly collectable and therefore valuable!!

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