American Pickers is a reality show on the History Channel. It follows Mike and Frank as they travel the country buying antiques from people’s private collections. You never know what you’re going to find in a barn or an attic or a garage.
The show is full of oddities, and I don’t just mean the artifacts. Keep reading to learn secrets you never knew about the cast and crew of this hugely successful series.
The Price That Is Agreed Upon Isn’t Always Final
On the show, Mike and Frank seem like fair businessmen. They never want to seem like they’re giving someone a bad deal or taking advantage of their lack of knowledge.
Things aren’t quite what they seem, though. Apparently, it’s common for the crew to agree on a price with the guest, only to have Mike and Frank try to haggle them down once the cameras start rolling. Anything for a bit of drama, I guess.
The Actual Smart Guys Are The Producers
It looks like Mike and Frank are running this whole antique operation, but in reality, the producers are the ones who are really scouting out locations and negotiating deals.
Many people who’ve worked with American Pickers have claimed that the producers actually work out prices with guests ahead of time. They agree on the price, then tell the seller to ask for more money so they can capture negotiations on camera.
Issues With Danielle And Burlesque
Danielle may be the team’s right-hand lady, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a side hustle. Before and during filming, Danielle had a successful career as a burlesque dancer.
She even owns her own burlesque boutique called 4 Miles 2 Memphis. Burlesque is sort of a vintage art form, so it’s a nice complement to antique picking.
The Huge Items Were Probably Set Up
Staging is a huge issue for all reality shows. A lot of people have claimed that American Pickers plants big-ticket items in their guests’ garages, homes, and storage units to make the show more interesting.
People who have had firsthand experience with the show actually confirm these claims.
Hobo Jack Is a Published Author
Hobo Jack is a recurring guest on American Pickers and a fan favorite. Did you know that he’s actually an author who’s published multiple successful books? He’s also released several albums that are available for purchase on his website. Hobo Jack is an all-around artist.
Mike has written a few books too, but Hobo Jack’s got way more attention.
Danielle Had Major Tax Problems & It Was A Major Problem
Danielle makes quite a bit of money from her work on the show and as a business owner, but apparently, she forgot to give the government their share of her earnings. We all have to pay taxes. Sorry, Danielle, it’s just a fact of life.
In 2013, Danielle received her first notice of overdue taxes. According to the IRS, she owed almost $6,000.
Someone Took Advantage Of Fan Favorite – Mole Man
Rember Mole Man? He only appeared on one episode of the show, but he became an instant fan favorite.
Someone in a nearby town decided to jump on Mole Man’s success and use his name to sell a few collectibles. They advertised a sale that would feature multiple authentic Mole Man collectibles, including autographs, antiques, and much more. Mole Man had absolutely nothing to do with this event.
Frank Is Actually Not Much Of A Picker
Mike Wolfe is definitely committed to the picking lifestyle. He eats, sleeps and breathes antiques. As for Frank, well, that guy just isn’t as interested.
He wasn’t a professional picker before the show started. He’s a collector, but he definitely cares more about the money than the journey.
We’ll See How Much Longer The Show Goes On
A lot of people who’ve actually met the American Pickers team have said that Mike and Frank aren’t so friendly with each other. Their mutual animosity might be so strong that it could cause the show to end.
Mike Wolfe confirmed that the show might be coming to an end in an interview with an Iowa news station. He said that he wants to spend more time with his family.
There Are Some Super Weird Theories About Franke’s Relationship
While there is absolutely no truth to these rumors, some fans have theorized that Mike and Frank are actually in a romantic relationship. Mike is married and he’s spoken about his wife several times on the show. Frank is pretty quiet about his personal life.
These two are definitely not romantically involved, even if it does seem like they have great chemistry on-screen.
Mike & Frank Have Pretty High Net Worths
Even though the stars of American Pickers have a sort of “everyman” vibe, they’re actually quite wealthy. Mike is the richest of the crew by a significant amount. He has multiple investments outside of the show and he’s really good at this antique selling thing.
Both Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz receive $500,000 each season.
The Show Is Actually Pretty Staged
American Pickers is a reality show, which means that there’s always a bit of acting involved. A lot of the driving scenes in the show are totally staged. Sometimes they don’t even get to their filming locations in that van.
It’s just B-roll footage to set up the story. The banter isn’t exactly scripted, but it’s not natural either.
Mike Is A Highly Experienced Picker
Mike Wolfe is so good at picking because he’s had years of practice. His passion for junk started when he was just a kid. He found an old bike and sold it for five dollars. Then he started looking for more bicycles.
He bought one from a farmer for $50 and sold it for $5,000.
Mike Is A Major Vocal Supporter For Operation Smile
Mike’s daughter Charlie was born with a cleft lip and palate. This birth defect didn’t allow her mouth area to join together properly.
Charlie received amazing care, and because Mike is wealthy, he was able to pay for her surgery. Other families dealing with this condition may need financial help to get the treatments their kids so desperately need. Wolfe decided to become an ambassador for Operation Smile, an organization that provides free surgeries to children worldwide who are afflicted with the same condition as his daughter.
The Theme Song Has A Cool Story
After successfully creating a theme song for fellow History Channel show Pawn Stars, Jared Gutstadt, the creator of Jingle Punks, was asked to put something together for American Pickers that would “sound like The Band meets The White Stripes meets seventies-era Rolling Stones.”
The melody he came up with features part of a song by the band Reckless Sons.
Mike Is Becoming An Entrepreneur In His Own Right
In addition to investing in property and corporations, Mike is becoming an entrepreneur in his own right. He opened a second retail location of his store, Antique Archaeology, he launched his own very hip fashion brand, and he even pitched a scripted sitcom to television networks that would have been “a workplace comedy set in an antiques and collectibles shop.”
CBS bought the pilot, but I don’t think we’re going to be seeing it on TV anytime soon.
The Show Isn’t Just For Americans
This show has become so popular that other countries have attempted to make their own versions of it. Both Canada and Australia have their own versions, and the Canadian show lasted for four seasons. Aussie Pickers didn’t last as long.
The show also airs in Spain, Israel, Romania, and the UK.
Deals Are Already Done
Even though a lot of the drama in this show comes from Mike and Frank arguing with guests about pricing, not many of the prices are ever in question. The producers determine the prices before they even start shooting, giving buyers and sellers little wiggle-room for making a deal with Mike and Frank.
A lot of the time, the deals heavily favor the pickers.
Yes The Show Is Pretty Scripted
Look, we can all agree that a lot of the show is fake, and you have to be skeptical when you’re watching reality TV, but does that really even matter?
Even if they stage scenes and plant items, there’s no faking the history of some of these items. It really is all about the antiques.
Mike’s Book For Kids
Co-host Mike had an interesting worry. He was concerned that kids wouldn’t want to follow in his footsteps in picking, refurbishing, and selling things. He battled this concern with a clever idea.
Mike decided to write a book called Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure. Someone is bound to read it.
When Mike Met Danielle
Mike and Danielle have been long time friends. They didn’t just come together for this show which makes it an even better story.
“I was looking at a lamp and picked it up and put it down to see how much money I had,” Danielle said. “Mike scooped it up behind me. He said, ‘The time to buy it is when you see it.’”
The Most Expensive Buy
Mike and Frank are usually clever spenders the majority of the time. When it comes to finding their heirlooms and collectibles, they usually only spend around $25, or even up ton $60.
However, that number increased substantially in 2017. The duo purchased their most expensive item yet when they bought a $90,000 1930 motorcycle.
Expanding Their Audience
There are certain people that watch a show because they know what they’re going to get. Producers and everyone involved continuously give them what they want, appealing to their target audience.
One time, Frank and Mike reached outside their usual suspects when they bought the original Yoda prototype which Mario Chiodo made. They paid $6,250.
Celebrities Started Becoming Participants
Like all great things, American Pickers eventually began to pick up a lot of attention, and not just from viewers. Celebrities began picking up on the show and that included the likes of Dolly Parton.
Parton contacted the Pickers so they could buy some of her stuff. When she did that, she and Danielle became friends.
Danielle Has Many Other Interests
One of Danielle Colby’s favorite things to search for are vintage costumes that were worn by dancers and actresses back in the 1800’s. The category is extremely niche, making any of these finds a true treasure.
Colby has come across “a very rare costume from Lillie Langtry of the 1890’s” as well as “an original early Mata Hari stage costume from 1920-20 and a banana skirt believed to have belonged to Josephine Baker.” Finding these rare stage costumes from over 100 years ago is a huge thrill for Colby.