This isn't your grandmother's antiquing. Pickers like Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are on a mission to recycle America, even if it means diving into countless piles of grimy junk or getting chased off a gun-wielding homeowner's land. Hitting back roads from coast to coast, the two men earn a living by restoring forgotten relics to their former glory, transforming one person's trash into another's treasure. American Pickers follows them as they scour the country for hidden gems in junkyards, basements, garages and barns, meeting quirky characters and hearing their amazing stories. If you think the antique business is all about upscale boutiques and buttoned-up dealers, this show may change your mind--and teach you a thing or two about American history along the way.
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz--business partners in Iowa-based Antique Archaeology and friends since the 8th grade--are part sleuths, part antiques experts, and part cultural historians. They call themselves "pickers" because their job is to pick through backyard junk piles, abandoned barns and neglected garages scattered across the back roads of America looking for hidden collectibles they can make a buck on. While hunting for collectibles in Central Iowa, Mike and Frank meet 88-year-old WWII veteran Leland and buy the Japanese sword he brought back from the war. Mike takes a chance on an old saddle and ends up with a big surprise. The guys head over to Danny Beans' -- a man whose dozen barns are packed with junk but is reluctant to sell them anything. Office manager Danielle tracks down a retired carnie named "Bear" who's sitting on an awesome collection of vintage rides.
Mike and Frank use a motorcycle sidecar part found earlier to help close the deal on a rare Vespa Ape scooter; Mike meets the ``Goat Man,'' whose collection of buses is buried under weeds; a collector with 32 tractors and farming memorabilia.
Circa 1920s ``visible'' gas pumps were designed to allow drivers to see the grade of fuel being pumped into their cars; Mike and Frank visit an opera house built in 1879 that has become home to vintage movie posters.
Mike has injured his back but can't afford to take time off to recuperate; the guys make a big mistake while exploring a 92-year-old Iowa farmer's collection; the guys counsel a prolific collector from Ohio who is reluctant to part with a jukebox.
Mike and Frank bet on who's the best picker while on the road in Pennsylvania, with the loser having to clean their smelly and filthy van; the guys meet ``Mole Man'' Ron, a picker with a mostly hand-built, 26-room underground lair.
Mike and Frank travel to New Orleans and encounter a quirky antique dealer with a sprawling collection; a relic hunter's collection includes fossils; rare visible gas pumps; automotive graveyard with more than 2,000 motorbikes.
While picking their way through the South, the guys meet up with John, a Mississippi motorcycle collector who has plenty of cool stuff, but his prices are through the roof. Then Mike spots a rare 1969 Kawasaki muscle bike, but can he wrestle it out of the mud? While in Alabama, Mike and Frank visit a prolific car hobbyist whose yard looks like a vintage parking lot. After driving down Poorhouse Road, they scour the bizarre collection at the Alabama Museum of Wonder where everything--including a gigantic head from a Piggly Wiggly mascot--is for sale. And finally, the guys catch a lucky break at a Birmingham vintage scooter shop.
The guys are in the South and running low on cash. They're desperate for a good pick when they happen upon a massive old junkyard and closed-down family flea market. The location is promising but its nostalgic owner is reluctant to part with his treasures. Then, Mike and Frank tour an amazing collection of rare, retro automobiles. Mike is thrilled about discovering a famous cartoonist's sketchbook that could be the jackpot they've been waiting for. But before they start laying out the cash, they have to make sure it's the real deal. And, after taking a big gamble on buying a huge pottery collection in Atlanta, the guys find out what their new thousand-dollar pottery collection is really worth.
After a couple of days without a decent pick, Mike and Frank look up a Georgia collector they've heard about. He's got a storage shed that's jam-packed with curios and movie memorabilia from his family's drive-in theater. Also, during a record cold snap in rural Florida, the guys tour Wayne's awesome collection of vehicles. But is anything for sale? And, on a property full of tractors and signs, the guys scour a treasure-filled outbuilding that seems too good to be true, then hatch a plan to get the owner to sell.
Mike and Frank comb through a collector's buildings in North Carolina and find a 1950 Studebaker that Mike falls in love with; hoping to sell a choice vintage sign, the guys pay a visit to friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman.
As the guys finish their trip through the South, Danielle finds them the mother lode of rare motorbike parts; an incredible discovery guaranteed to impress their friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman.
In Kansas, the guys pick through a promising farmyard, but are frustrated when they find nothing to buy; a demolition expert ponders selling a rare grave marker and a giant boot; Junior's oilcan collection comes at a high price.
Mike and Frank are in Missouri, heading towards an inherited old farm with plenty of promise. But then Danielle calls with news about an ultimate prize. She's tracked down a prolific collector with a rare 1937 Harley Knucklehead. Close to their target, and revved up about the classic bike, the guys agree to speed pick the old farm before moving on. But once there, Mike gets lost in multiple outbuildings filled with possibilities.
The guys stop in at Sam and Stan's steel yard where they go on a high-speed golf cart tour of massive hangar and outbuildings; the team goes freestyling and comes across an old farm; the guys come across Greg, who claims he's a psychic picker.
Lifelong picker and yard sale aficionado Lester is known by his neighbors as the ``spooky collector;'' the guys visit a hard-core Illinois collector who says he wants to downsize; the guys pay a return visit to their ``picking mamma,'' Judy.
Danielle tells the guys they need to step up their game; Mike and Frank uncover lots of great stuff in Tony's sprawling Illinois collection; Ken has room after room of unusual items; Danielle calls with a lead about Hobo Jack.
The guys visit a serious collector who is in the mood to sell; Mike and Frank stop in at the geodesic dome home of biker couple; the guys visit two retirees who live in a former honky-tonk spot; Frank and Mike interview Danielle about her raise.
The guys pick the storage locker of a fellow picker named 2D; Mike and Frank visit a woman who hopes to clear out some of her late father's collection; at a Wisconsin farm the guys get caught up in the weird world of Hippie Tom.
Mike dives into an amazing Michigan collection but Frank seems to have lost his picking mojo; the guys visit a Wisconsin property that features a reconstituted vintage town; Frank senses engine trouble with the van while Mike ignores the signs.
Mike takes his young nephew on his first pick; in Wisconsin, an eccentric mother-daughter duo is selling their extraordinary 1856 home and everything in it; the guys visit packrat Tim and his 10,000 square feet of junk; Danielle plots her payback.
While picking in Pennsylvania, Danielle sends the guys to Bushkill Park--a century-old amusement park that's seen much better days. Hoping to eventually renovate and reopen, owner Neil is motivated to sell just about anything. And, after stepping back in time and playing in the old funhouse, Mike spies a couple of rare vintage sideshow banners. Also in this episode... Deb wants husband Tom to clear out his sprawling collections so they can enjoy their retirement on the road in their RV. But he's reluctant to sell his prized possessions. Later, in New York City, the guys meet an expert who has shocking news about Mike's new circus posters. In Staten Island, a cavernous abandoned storage unit yields plenty of carnival keepsakes.
After years of begging Mike and Frank to let her go on a pick, Danielle finally gets her chance. The three head out to visit a major collector with a barn full of hidden treasures. Next, Frank agrees to fill in for Danielle at the shop while she hits the road with Mike. In Pennsylvania, they pick the oddball home of two eccentric characters, and Danielle comes up with a winner when she tracks down a century-old hotel that's been vacant for years. Rooms full of furniture and a valuable pinball machine await.
Mike and Frank visit a New York collector who's filled a train station with vintage cars, and although the cars are hot, the prices cool their engines. But the pick isn't as good as it looks until Mike finds a mysterious Italian trunk that hasn't been opened in 50 years...and though it's driving him crazy, he waits until he gets home to open it. The guys stop in at a New Hampshire home with a weathervane on the roof constructed from a real Harley motorbike. Inside, the couple's sprawling collection includes a room full of retro arcade games. And finally, auctioneer Paul's Rhode Island property is packed with treasures his late father rescued from the trash. Mike spies an impeccable 1967 Triumph motorbike and Frank buys a slew of vintage toy trucks. But the best is hidden inside a barn that hasn't been touched in 15 years.
Mike and Frank challenge Danielle to sell a vintage carnival ride they've been storing for months. Meanwhile, the guys visit a collector with amazing pieces including an old gambling game used to get customers to spend more money. Later, the guys pick the International Clown Hall of Fame, where they find an amazing miniature automated carnival. And finally, after seeing at a Yamaha dirt bike for sale on a front lawn, retired mechanic Norm opens his garage to reveal a smoking-hot, 1967 Ford Fairlane muscle car. It's love at first sight for Mike, but will his emotions get in the way of getting a great deal?