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.
In upstate New York, the guys stop in at a sprawling treasure-laden farm with fourteen jam-packed trailers, the result of a lifetime of collecting by the late owner. His daughter needs to sell some of his things to help save the farm. Later, an eccentric mother-daughter duo sells their extraordinary 1856 home, an Underground Railroad site, and everything in it. Finally, the guys visit an old cheese factory that's been boarded up for years, and the local fire department must break down the doors to get to the hot items.
Mike and Frank head to Ohio and decide to make the trip a little more interesting by bringing along a cup dispenser from an old train station to trade with their clients, hoping to make some cash. They meet Will, the son of an auctioneer who has inherited a house packed with his dad's collection and is coming to terms with letting the stuff go. The guys pick up tons of items, including an antique accordion on which Frank shows off his musical talents! Next, they truck to Indiana to meet a small town historian who takes everyone's collectibles for safe keeping. There, they purchase a St. Louis Cardinals vintage baseball poster and Frank falls in love with a pinball machine featuring Happy Days' the Fonz. Finally, Mike gets to experience his dream pick at a VW graveyard in Illinois, but Frank is the one who strikes gold when he buys a rare BSA motorcycle.
Mike and Frank find themselves in a high-risk situation when they are chased by a crazy emu who roams a farm in Tennessee that the boys are picking. Once they've escaped from the bird they manage to rescue a much sought after fireplace fa ade. Danielle sends the guys to Frank Wolfe, who gives them a golden lead to a guy called Jerry Lotz, where Mike buys a Schwinn auto-cycle bike for a $1,000 and Frank leaves with two rare BB guns. The guys finish up their trip by surprising an old friend of Mike's, Ruby Guidara, a famous Nashville set designer. They purchase an old dentist chair from her that Mike thinks would be perfect in a Lady Gaga video, but when they take the chair to an appraiser they hear some surprising information.
Driving along the back roads of Tennessee in the early morning fog, Mike and Frank are brushing up on their Southern expressions when they spot an awesome property. Once they muster up the courage to ignore the scary "no trespassing" signs, the homeowner opens up his amazing collection of incredible "mantiques". Later, with four barns that are packed to the rafters, a Smokey Mountain property looks perfect. But Mike and Frank's perfect day quickly goes downhill when the collector can't bear to part with anything. Can they break the ice or will their picking spirit be broken first? And, thanks to a lead from Danielle, the guys get a warm welcome from Joe, a lifetime picker whose staggering collection spans over 30 buildings.
Mike and Frank are out in the Kentucky on a different kind of mission. They're going to someone who needs their expertise to make his home unique. The owner is William Shatner, who gives Mike and Frank a very specific list. While Danielle looks for leads, the picking is red hot at Thurman's Tennessee hills property. The lifetime collector says he's ready to make a deal, but is he really? Next, the guys hunt for the perfect showpiece for Shatner's garden and think they've hit the jackpot with an amazing millstone collector. That is, until they find out his prices outweigh even the heaviest of stones. And, with just one week to deliver the goods to their celebrity client, Mike and Frank call in a favor from a designer friend. Finally, with a van full of treasures, they deliver their booty to Shatner, hoping they haven't let him down.
Frank and Mike travel through South Carolina and get a hot tip on a honey hole. They end up at Bill's main street hardware store. Operating since 1880s the store is packet to the rafters with junk wating to be reclaimed. In Alabama the guys participate in a down-home auction known locally as the "Possum Trot". Then they head off to Georgia to see a missle and building after building of war memorabilia as well as a few other treasures.
Cruising along the California coastline, the guys know they're in for something big. Mil Blair founded the iconic motorcycle magazine Easyriders and, for the first time ever, the legend is willing to sell some of his rare collections of motorbikes and memorabilia. Later, the guys visit Bird's temple of surfing. Although he doesn't normally sell, the guys convince him to part with a few choice surfboards. Also, the guys visit Alfie in the Malibu Hills. His eclectic collection includes over a half million albums and a real bombshell. And finally, they get their new surfboards appraised at the California Surf Museum and make a generous donation.
The guys are still cruising California looking to score big. Will a generation's old salvage yard be the place? Can they even get in? Later on Mike and Frank visit a Scuba lover's mini museum and Mike has his eyes on a pricey brass dive helmet. At another pick Frank finds a unique motometer. Then in a random turn of events, the fellas go from picking to a basketball court with Frank "The Free Throw King".
The men search for auto-racing memorabilia at the request of the curators of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina. Included: a visit with "Humpy" Wheeler, former president of Lowe's Motor Speedway; and Billy Biscoe.
The guys are on an assignment that's 150 years in the making. The Gettysburg Museum asks Mike and Frank to help expand its collection by hunting down some hard to find Civil War items. It's a daunting task made even harder with a limited budget. Danielle gets things rolling when she sends them to a previous customer who's a Civil War buff. Frank scores a Spencer Carbine. They next visit a collector, Keith, who doesn't want to sell, but they convince him to loan a rare Dog River Confederate sword to the museum. They also buy a Springfield musket and canteen. But their picking skills are put to the test when they spot a Union frock coat. It's at the top of the museum's wish list, but can they negotiate a sale and keep within the museum's tight budget? In addition, the guys experience a Civil War adventure when they sign up with a local re-enactment group. As Captains on opposite sides they go into battle, leading their respective troops.
In Florida, Mike and Frank visit a hangar-sized barn full of treasures, owned by a couple of junkyard junkies who've been picking since 1948. An awesome circus property turned animal preserve features lions, tigers and bears among circus paraphernalia and a mysterious locked trunk. And while freestyling, the guys come to a screeching halt after spotting a zebra-striped vintage motorbike in a yard. The collection is an Indian's dream. A major score leads to an unlikely reunion at a vintage motorbike museum.
On their first-ever trip through Arizona, the guys tap into their spirit animals to track down a lifetime picker whose property is packed with killer stuff. A real-deal cowboy with a serious poker face, Fargo's Wild West ranch is like stepping back in time. And, while picking behind a remote strip mall, a bizarre totem pole catches Mike's eye but it's an original Airstream trailer that renders him speechless.
In this special American Pickers/American Restoration/Pawn Stars crossover episode, Mike and Frank are in Arizona when Danielle calls about a high profile client with a tough deadline: Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison wants a particular model of a 1957 Chevy for his dad and gives the guys a one week deadline to find the rare car. After some dead ends, Mike and Frank finally find a car in need of considerable restoration. They arrange to meet Rick at Rick Dale's (American Restoration) shop where both Ricks can see the car and they haggle over the price. Can these tough negotiators agree on a deal?
Mike and Frank are cruising around Daytona Beach, and while the sun is shining outside, the van reeks and the hunt is on to find out why. The guys stumble onto a street lined with abandoned businesses and fall head over heels for a girly neon bar sign. Barbara's bayou property is a pickers' paradise. Plus, Randy's suburban home is packed to the rafters with rare collectibles. But when the guys get a load of his prices, it's time to pull out all the stops.
Mike and Frank are picking their way through Florida when they get a lead on a potential gold mine -- a five-acre property that's an automotive graveyard. The guys also visit an off-the-grid hangar-sized geodesic dome home where they discover two gems: a very rare piece of rock 'n' roll history and an unusual motorcycle sidecar. Mike's hunger for seafood lands them a chance pick through slot machines, vintage advertising, sci-fi movie props and taxidermy bears.
The guys head to the Lone Star State, hoping to uncover a Texas-size honey hole. Once there, Mike and Frank dig through a huge outbuilding filled with dead coin-operated games (in the dark because the electricity was out). While they make an offer on a few rare gems, the owner struggles to let go of his grandpa's merchandise and all the memories that go with them. He steers the boys to a hangar-sized warehouse down the street where the guys discover the mother-lode of pop culture pinball machines. They end up at John's jaw-dropping collection of rare motorcycles, bikes and even rarer parts. At first the guys go into overdrive, but when they realize nothing is for sale, Mike switches gears and comes up with a plan!
Thousands of miles from home, the guys are scouring the back roads of Texas desperate to find the big-ticket item that will make the long trip worthwhile. Just like his late father, Aardean is a funeral director who never throws anything away. And with everything from neon crucifixes to an embalming table with an incredible history, the guys are dying to dive in! On a mission to preserve the history of the telephone, Don's jaw-dropping personal museum includes over 200,000 rare items. Featuring room after room of vintage signs, toys and mantiques, Susan's suburban home is packed to the rafters with Americana. The good news is she's downsizing and everything is for sale, but the bad news is the guys still haven't found that big-ticket item. After touring Cecil's awesome vintage car collection, the guys get access to his "toy box." Making a series of great deals, Mike leaves Frank in the dust. That is, until the "bearded charmer" spots a rare scooter and makes his move.
Looking for picks in Texas, the guys see a sign for Gilley's Club, the honky-tonk club made famous in the 1980 film Urban Cowboy. Soon they're face to face with country music superstar Mickey Gilley himself who has a warehouse jam-packed with rare Gilley's memorabilia. Later, Paul's sprawling junkyard features a staggering amount of stuff. His grandson Pride takes the guys on an adventure, and when it comes to negotiating, young Pride proves he's tough. Gilley steers the guys north to a peanut factory where Jim has preserved all the big-ticket items from Gilley's, including a mechanical bull. But when Frank gets a load of the bar's original grand piano played by many a music legend, a potential deal is music to his ears!
The guys head to Michigan hoping to strike automotive gold in the heart of the America's car capital. Clearing the contents of derelict storage lockers, Brian's sprawling auction house is a picker's playground where Mike and Frank get junk drunk as they dig deep. The guys next meet Jim's awesome collection of original automotive advertising art. And Tony wants to thin out his collection of old car and gas station memorabilia. Hoping for a lottery-style return, Mike and Frank battle it out for a collection of motometers before uncovering two items, each with a jaw-dropping pedigree. And Mike makes a sweet deal with a museum curator to ensure that a rare piece of car history finds a permanent place of honor.
Driving through Michigan in a freak spring snowstorm, the prospects look bleak until the guys spot an interesting old Cadillac for sale. With their picking senses twitching, they stop to see what else is on the property. Frank falls hard for a deluxe Model A roadster. But to seal the deal, he's got to talk to the boss and she's not at home! Passionate about revitalizing Detroit's city core, Joel owns an entire neighborhood of 50 adjoining properties, including a 50,000 square foot warehouse that's jam-packed with cool cars, old signs and architectural salvage. It's a picker's dream and the guys dig deep to see what they can uncover. Collecting on a monumental scale, father and son duo Jerry and Jerry's 40-acre property includes a life-size model train town and over 1,000 classic bicycles. The only problem is they've got a hard time selling and their prices are frozen in time! After dropping thousands of dollars on the Model A, Frank faces the appraiser's verdict.
Determined to uncover a hidden honey hole, the guys are freestyling on their home turf in Iowa. And to keep himself entertained, prankster Frank has a few practical jokes up his sleeve. After the boys spot a rusty toy museum sign, lifetime collector George opens the doors to his heavenly collection. A former church turned personal showcase, the shelves are overflowing with vintage toys and George is in the mood to sell. The bearded charmer works his magic and the guys soon find themselves picking with a local history buff. As a fire marshal, John empties abandoned houses before burning them down! He's filled several outbuildings with salvaged treasures. Mike spots an item so unusual he's willing to take a huge gamble. In Des Moines, auction-addict Roger has a 3,000-square-foot mega-pick that's jam-packed with treasure that he's finally willing to sell.
In Mississippi, Mike and Frank find what turns out to be a priceless, 65-million year-old dinosaur bone. It's appraised by the curator of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Next, they find a 1960's Bella German scooter judged among the best on the market at the time, and an antique audio recording device made from piano wire.
Mike and Frank are freestyling in Minnesota where they stumble on salvage operator Terry who has a staggering scrap yard. Everything is for sale, including a mother lode of retro signage. Next, coin-op kings Gary and John "say" they're ready to sell some of their vast collection of vintage arcade games. Frank takes a major gamble on some old school peep show coin operated machines. And retired twin brothers Steve and Tom open up their massive collection of toy cars and trucks. Danielle gets an appraisal on the peep show item.
Looking for roadside relics in West Virginia, the guys pick an Appalachian village museum where Mike ups the ante to score a rare retro motor. The museum's octogenarian owners--The Perrys--have never sold anything before, and after sealing the deal on an odd electric peacock, Mike makes his move. In Nashville, Danielle is unimpressed with the pool of quirky candidates she's met to manage the new store. Dave's Ohio storefront is filled with cool bikes and scooters but his business plan is more show than sell. With every room packed to the gills, a father-and-son duo open the doors to their staggering collection where the guys find a giant Goliath head that bears a strange resemblance to Frank.
Hoping to score big on the East Coast, Mike and Frank make stops in Virginia, DC, and Maryland, and are delirious when they find themselves waist-deep in a treasure-packed machine shop. Harry's property is wired for maximum security and once the guys gain access to his amazing vault, Mike makes a high-stakes gamble. Driving off the beaten path, the guys run across a quirky artist with a wacky sense of humor and a sprawling Virginia property packed with funky collectibles. After wading through building after building, Mike pounces on a one-of-a-kind feline with an impressive pedigree. Featuring the mother lode of "petroliana," Mike and Frank scour a defunct Maryland oil company where everything is for sale. Tim is hoping to make some money to revive a vintage local beer and the guys are determined to help him clear out some of his unique mint-condition inventory.
While Mike and Frank pick the back roads of Minnesota, they challenge Danielle to sell a ten-foot fiberglass cowboy boot that's been gathering dust for over a year. After a lifetime in the demolition business, Fast Eddie has tons of unusual oversize treasures. A great lead gives the guys first crack at a treasure-packed farmyard estate sale. Ted's garage is filled with awesome mantiques and Mike goes into overdrive when he climbs into the rafters and discovers a honey hole of rare bicycles.