Since 2010, Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and the lovely Danielle Colby have been rummaging through people’s trash in the hope of finding expensive gems. Their show, American Pickers, takes viewers on a hunt for antiques. Let’s look into some of their priciest and most interesting picks.
Original Yoda Prototype – $6,250
American Pickers might as well follow the old quote, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda’s wisdom not only filtered into their antique bargaining lifestyle but also into the procurement of Yoda himself. They got a call from a woman looking to move original movie memorabilia.Within the mess, they found original Yoda prototypes. Before purchasing, they confirmed their authenticity with the man that made them, Mario Chiodo. Realizing it was his work, the Pickers paid $6,250 for their own Yoda.
Zundapp RS 7450 Motorcycle And Sidecar – $10,500
During a trip to Europe, Mike and Frank found a vehicle straight out of World War II. The German-designed Zundapp RS 750 might look like a beaten piece of junk, but is a relic from an older time. The bike and sidecar cost them $10,500, but they would quickly earn it back. After paying $1,000 to ship it to America, the Pickers made a nice profit off the bike. They flipped it to a vintage motorcycle shop in Georgia for $18,000.
Lionel Train Set – $8,000
Mike and Fritz try to do everything they can to get the best value for their finds. Unfortunately, they do not always come out on top. During season 7, Fritz thought he came across an original Lionel Train set in mint condition. He shelled out $8,000 for the locomotive. When the boys took it to an auction hoping to flip it for a nice price, they found out that the train had replacement parts. They could only sell it for $3,400.
An Elephant Head – $9,500
After opening an office in Nashville, Tennessee, the Pickers decided to a little business with one of Nashville’s most famed residents. Jack White is best known for his work with The White Stripes, with whom he recorded an album titled Elephant. The Pickers sold White a taxidermy elephant head for $6,000 in addition to $6,000 worth of White’s personal antiques. They originally bought the head for $9,500. White was happy to take the elephant off their hands.
1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 – $26,500
Not many things from 1935 still look shiny and new. Although the Auburn Phaeton 653 found by the Pickers did not look so hot when they bought, it is still a valuable car. They bought the car for $26,500 after tearing apart a barn looking for loot. Mike and Fritz paid another $1,000 to ship it and $10,000 to repair it. The car is currently valued at $45,000, meaning they got a $7,500 deal on it after everything was all said and done.
1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 Guitar – $9,500
By opening a store in Nashville, Wolfe and Fritz put themselves in the heart of music madness. In addition to Jack White, they also did business with another Nashville ax man. When Dan Auerbach, Black Keys guitarist (and Jack White enemy), heard about their Chet Atkins guitar, he had to have it. The pickers found it and some amps for $9,500 and flipped the guitar and one amp to Auerbach for $10,000. They didn’t make much but felt good helping a local rocker.
Last Supper Circus Banner – $2,000
When they are not buying old cars and motorcycles, the guys frequently will pick up old circus banners. Most circus banners show off bearded women and fire breathers. On one occasion, they found a special Last Supper-themed circus banner. The Last Supper circus included animatronic figures similar to Chuck-E-Cheese to reenact Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper masterpiece. Mike decided he had to add it to his collection and paid $2,000 for the old sign.
Motorcycle Collection – $62,000
Mike and Frank were in the middle of a New England road trip when they decided to stop at Paper City Brewing in Springfield, Massachusetts. Jay Hebert, a co-owner of the brewery, had a huge collection of bikes which the Pickers wanted to sift through. They eventually found five of their favorites, some Harley-Davidsons, and some Indian bikes. Indian bikes were produced in Springfield. They laid out $62,000 for the vintage collection. The Heberts used the money to improve their brewery.
Dodge A 100 Hot Rod Truck – $12,500
Sometimes the coolest vehicles they find are not suitable for both Mike and Frank. When they stumbled into a bright orange Dodge A100 Hot Rod truck, Mike was forced to sit out from the test drive. Due to the low roof, only the measurably smaller Frank could sit in the driver’s seat. The truck had been sitting in a collectors garage, and the pickers wanted to give it a new home. It only cost them $12,500 to call it their own.
Von Dutch XAVW Motorcycle
Some picks are too good to offer to the public. When Mike came across a custom-made Von Dutch XAVW, he knew that he needed to add it to his personal collection. The bike is a combination of Harley-Davidson and Volkswagen parts. Mike laid out $21,000 for it and is thrilled to call it his own. The bike is so rare that is has been placed on display in the National Motorcycle Museum in addition to Antique Archeology’s Nashville store.
Polarimeter – $1,000
When dealing with antiques, it is not surprising to see a lawsuit here and there. Fritz found himself in the middle of a lawsuit over a misunderstanding with one customer. When a South Carolina man spotted an antique polarimeter during an episode, he reached out in the hope of purchasing the item. The man sent Fritz $300 for it, but he never received the item. Further, Fritz didn’t even show up for court. The judge eventually forced Fritz to pay the man a $1,000 judgment.
1948 Airstream Trailer – $8,000
Although the brand name might be lost on many, the Airstream trailer is one of the most recognizable in the world. With its distinctively round shape and polished aluminum, Airstream trailers have been around since the 30s. The Pickers scooped up an Airstream trailer for $8,000 but had to add an additional $3,000 in repairs to it. They no longer possess the trailer since they sold it for $5,000 and an antique Indian motorcycle. It seems like they came away with a good deal.
Leather License Plate – $1,000
Cars today have standardized metal license plates depending on your state of registration. As cars became a popular part of society, the government needed to establish a way to track each automobile. At first, they just told people to write their license number on their vehicle and didn’t specify how: painted on, a wooden plaque, engraved in leather. Mike bought a leather license plate for $1,000 when he realized it was the only leather plate ever issued for an Oldsmobile.
1914 Merz Cycle Car – $35,000
When the car hit the market in 1914, it retailed for $450 ($10,864 factoring in inflation). Fritz and Wolfe came across a collector with a Merz Cycle Car in his collection. According to the collector, it was one of only two remaining in the world. How could they not go after such a rare artifact? Even though the car was missing some parts, the man offered to sell it for $37,500. The Pickers haggled him down a few thousand and paid $35,000 for it.
Sideshow Banners – $5,000
To start season three, Fritz and Mike traveled to Bushkill Park in Easton, Pennsylvania, a small and largely abandoned amusement park. The park open in 1902 and the guys hoped to find some interesting goodies inside. They toured around the park with Neal Fennel, known to the locals as Balloons the Clown. At one point, they came across some old sideshow banners from the park. They paid $700 for the banners, but eventually found out they were worth $5,000-$6,000. They returned and paid full price for the lot.
Vincent Motorcycle – $10,000
Like many of the picks that Fritz and Mike come away with, the Vincent motorcycle they found was very rare due to a very low supply. Vincent Motorcycles only operated between 1928 and 1955 due to heavy financial losses. However, they were incredibly well made, and they hoped to bring one into their collection. The bike cost them $10,000 to take home. They would eventually take home $2,000 in profit after selling it for $12,000 to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.
Indian Motorcycles – $40,000
Getting a good deal is just part of the business for Mike and Fritz. Although the price tag was high on two Indian motorcycles, they had no problem laying out big bucks for a great deal on great bikes. They found a four-cylinder Indian bike called “The Aristocrat” and a Chief model from one dealer. Between the $30,000 price tag for The Aristocrat, the $10,000 for the Chief, and the additional $4,500 in repairs, they still came out on top. The bikes are valued together at $58,000.
Tether Toy Car – $1,100
People in the 20s and 30s had some peculiar interests in cars. One of their brilliant ideas came in the form of a tether car. Tether cars, although small in size, have a real engine inside. They are tethered to a pole and drive in circles at high speeds. On some occasions, they can go upwards of 150 miles per hour. Mike scooped one up with some additional car bodies for $1,1000. Now he can try to build the perfect car to go max speed.
Henderson Cyclecar – $12,000
During the 1910s and 1920s, cyclecars were a nice lightweight and affordable option for buying a car. As mass producers like Ford became giants, public interest waned. Naturally, if it went out of style decades earlier, the Pickers were interested in acquiring one. They bought a Henderson cyclecar for $12,000. The car looks awesome and tiny compared to even today’s compact cars. They went on to sell the car for $14,500, making sure to profit off of this old-school find.
Vespa Sign – $450
As they scour the world looking for hidden gems, Mike seems to always be on the lookout for Vespa memorabilia. On one trip down to Florida, Mike came across something that tickled his fancy. Unfortunately, it was not a Vespa bike itself, but he did find an old Vespa dealer’s sign. The sign dated back to the 1980s and he needed to add it to his growing Vespa collection. He haggled the price down to $450 then sold the sign for double what he paid.
Harley-Davidson Knucklehead – $20,000
When they find a good deal on an absurdly rare pick, there’s a good chance that the Pickers will keep the items for themselves instead of selling them off. When they got wind of a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle, they had to see how much it would take to buy it. Mike haggled heavily with the owner in the hope of getting a good price. He eventually did, paying $20,000 for a bike worth more than that. He turned down $25,000 offer once.
Back Taxes – $12,000
Outside of Fritz and Mike, the biggest star is their office manager Danielle Colby. She has been friends with Mike for years before the show. Danielle had to shell out tons of cash, however, not for some incredible item, but for years of unpaid taxes. She never paid retail sales taxes on many of the items that she flipped. In 2014, she was served a notice of an $11,973.42 tax lien based on unpaid taxes assessed in 2013. Perhaps she should start paying up.
Handmade Model T
In the episode titled “Hot Rod Hero,” the Pickers found a man in possession of a beautiful, fully wood Model T. The car was whittled by hand by the owner’s father. It took him seven years to build it and incredibly it still works. Due to the owner’s obligations, he was unable to find the time to get it into a museum. Instead of purchasing the car, the guys decided to help him get the car into a museum so everyone could marvel at its beauty.
1910 Royal Pioneer Motorcycle – $55,000
It might not be the most that the Pickers spent in one place, but it is certainly the most they spent on one item. Due to a massive fire, Royal Pioneer only made fewer than 500 of their luxury motorcycles. The fire put them out of business, but put antique collectors in the business of finding them. Wolfe had no issue paying the $55,000 price tag for the bike. He got a great deal since another Royal Pioneer was sold for $92,000.
Millstone For William Shatner – $2,500
In season 3 of American Pickers, the guys got sent on a job that went beyond the stars. Star Trek star William Shatner commissioned Mike and Frank to find a genuine millstone for his garden, as well as decorate an entire room in his home. Once they tossed the puns aside, they found a lot of millstones for Captain Kirk. The owner would not budge off of his offer of $2,500 for the stone, claiming they generally sell for over $3,500.
Original Jell-O Wagon – $6,500
Founded in LeRoy, New York, Jell-O still brings a smile to people’s faces. The Jell-O wagon was a huge source of advertising for the company. Danielle found the wagon in a Louisiana barn. The Pickers paid $6,500 for it before selling it to the Jell-O Museum.
1954 Nash-Healy (2) – $46,000
From 1951-1954, Nash Motors produced an elegant two-seat sports car. Mike and Frank got their hands on two of these 1954 beauties from an old AMC dealership in North Carolina. The first one, a red model fitted with a Cadillac engine cost them $21,000. They both took some haggling, and they eventually settled on $25,000 for the grey model. Both seemed like a great deal. According to Hagerty Price Guide, the cars are valued at $36,800 a piece, leaving the Pickers with quite the deal.
Dollywood Accessories – Various Prices
For Dolly Parton’s amusement park, Dollywood, she realized she needed some authentic accessories to dress up her newest ride, the 40s themed FireChaser Express. Dolly and her park designers reached out to American Pickers to help them fill in the blanks. They found vintage fire extinguishers, gasoline pumps, and gas signs which fit perfectly with the ride. Danielle Colby and Lauren Wray visited the park to see the final vision, meeting Dolly along the way.
Checker Board Rick Nieslen Guitar – $0
In one of the Pickers greatest bargains, they took home one of Rick Nielsen’s guitars, the lead guitar player for Cheap Trick, without paying a dime for it. Nielsen opened up his warehouse of rock goodies to Wolfe and Fritz. They zoned in on a white and black checkerboard pattern guitar. Nielsen continuously turned down their offers, including an offer of over $2,500. In the end, he donated it to their store as long as he could play it whenever he visited them.
$90,000 Worth Of Motorcycles
The Pickers have shelled out plenty of cash throughout the show. At the start of season 17, they put down their largest purchase to date. In the episode perfectly titled, “The $90,000 Question,” the guys found three incredibly rare four-cylinder Ace motorcycles with a car collector. Even with the high price tag, they decided that they had to have them. They left their trip to the Pacific Northwest $90,000 poorer, but after opening a line of credit, they came home happy campers.
20 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About ’60s Sitcom ‘That Girl’
Do you remember That Girl, one of the most popular sitcoms from back in the ’60s? If not, you might have heard about this show from older generations or through articles like these. Either way, That Girl has been around for a while and it left a mark on the American TV scene. The show starred Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie, who was also one of the producers on set. However, given the time this show was produced, Thomas went through quite a lot of obstacles on her road. Here are 20 facts about this show that you probably didn’t know of!
Who Came Up With the Concept of the Show
Not only was Marlo Thomas the main star and the producer of the show, but she was also the one who came up with the whole concept for it. The plot of the show was quite female-centric and it introduced new ideas to the scene.
This 1966 show introduced a fresh concept in which the female character had everything she wanted in life. She wasn’t only a mother or a housewife, but an active member of society as well. This concept is what put Thomas on the map back in the day.
Thomas Refused Certain Jokes
One thing Thomas disliked was the fact that the writing team during the first season was made up of all men. This led to the accumulation of bad jokes and stereotypes in the script, which Thomas was not happy with.
“I was constantly saying, ‘A girl would not say that to her father. A girl would not say that. She’d be more diplomatic about this,’” she explained in a 2013 interview with ThinkProgress. Thomas also claimed that male colleagues often body-shamed actresses on the set, too.
Lew Parker Passed Away After the Show
Interestingly, Thomas’ father in the show, Lew Parker, was also her real father — Danny Thomas. He often made quick appearances on the show and fans had quite liked his work. Sadly, he passed away a year after the show ended.
In an interview with AARP the Magazine back in 2010, Thomas explained how her father instructed her to give his eulogy — “…Don’t make it sad. People want to laugh and remember somebody that they love. They don’t want you to make them cry. They’re going to cry all by themselves. Tell funny stories.”
Customizing Her Lines
Thomas took a lot of freedom on the set to customize her own lines when she thought it was necessary. In one line where she says “I don’t know that I want to get married just yet,” the producers added the last two words to soften the statement.
After all, it was a pretty big deal back in the day for a woman to say that she doesn’t want to get married and that she wants a career instead. It wasn’t very usual for women to prioritize work over a family back in the ’60s.
Why She Wore Sunglasses
Most people wouldn’t even care to think about this but the biggest fans of the show will find this detail interesting. Namely, if you watched the show, you probably saw Ann Marie wearing sunglasses on her head quite often.
The truth is, this wasn’t a fashion statement or anything of that sort. In fact, Thomas wore sunglasses to keep her hair in place because it kept getting in the way. Not only was it helpful, but it also turned out to be a very good look on her.
Bessell Didn’t Like His Character
Ted Bessel played the character of Donald Hollinger, who was Ann Marie’s boyfriend on the show. Bessel’s character was actually a nice guy, which is not something you’d expect out of male leading roles back in the day.
In fact, Bessel wasn’t used to playing such unthreatening roles and he found the entire situation to be too difficult for him. Ironically, the role of Donald Hollinger was some of his best work throughout his entire entertainment career.
The Famous Running Gag Was Unplanned
Prior to each episode of the show, the words “that girl” are said before the title rolls down and this was only supposed to happen in the first episode. The writers believed it would be challenging to keep this up constantly throughout each episode.
However, to their own surprise, the team of writers managed to nicely fit in those words before the title in every episode with unusual variations here and there. Although this was unplanned, it turned out quite great.
One of the Actresses Left the Show
It is not uncommon to see actors and actresses leave shows in Hollywood, even in the middle of the season. Broadway actress Bonnie Scott made this decision when she chose to drop her role of Ann Marie’s neighbor, Judy.
Not only was Bonnie’s role less significant but it was also taking a lot of her time and, as a parent of two, she couldn’t afford to work 18 hours a day. As years went by, Bonnie made a career shift and became a designer instead of an actress.
Ann Marie’s Wardrobe
If you pay attention to what Ann Marie is wearing throughout the whole show, you would get the impression that she was quite wealthy for that period of time. However, she was rarely seen working or making any money on the show.
At times, she didn’t even have enough money to buy food, although she had an expensive New York apartment and plenty of fancy clothes. Even Thomas claimed that the character couldn’t really afford all those things but the riches did help the show progress.
Thomas Wanted a Different Title
Originally, Thomas wanted the show to be called Miss Independent because, well, it was all about a woman who wanted to be independent. She even had personal reasons as to why she chose this name.
It was due to the fact that her father used to call her Miss Independence, because she was that kind of person herself. It would have meant a lot to her for the show to be called that, although the idea didn’t make it through.
Men Didn’t Like Working With Thomas
As you can imagine, men weren’t quite happy to have a woman in charge telling them what to do. It was just the reality of the time the show was filmed in. However, Thomas was aware that she had complete power over them.
“I had all the power. It was my company, I signed the checks. I was the boss. There were meetings in which a male producer would get up and say, ‘I can’t do this,’” she explained in one of her interviews.
Thomas Wanted to Leave
Believe it or not, even Thomas wanted to leave the show at one point. This was after the fourth season when she felt like the story was coming to an end. Her leaving the set would also mean the end of the show.
However, the producers convinced her to stay one more year, which she did in the end. The reason she wanted to leave was that the show was starting to get more conventional as Ann Marie got engaged to Donald.
How the Network Wanted It
Even though Thomas was strictly against making the show seem conventional, the network wanted it to end with a wedding between Ann Marie and Donald. Still, although the characters were engaged in season five, Thomas refused to end it with a wedding.
“I couldn’t do it. I can’t say to all of these girls that this is the only happy ending. Everybody else can get married but let this one show go off without a wedding,” she said. The show ended with Ann taking Donald to a feminist meeting.
More of Thomas’ Personal Thoughts
As you can probably tell by now, Thomas felt quite closely related to her character on the show. However, she didn’t want the series to define her. She wanted to be remembered as more than just Ann Marie from a ’60s television sitcom.
“Of course, ultimately when you do a TV series for that long, that’s going to be the thing you’re remembered for. When she passes away, it’ll be ‘That Girl Dies,’ and not all the other stuff that she’s done,” said Stephen Cole, the author of the book the show was based on.
Ted Bessel and Thomas Were Good Friends
Even though many men didn’t like working under Thomas, Ted Bessel was never one of them. The two were actually good friends and they kept in touch in their private lives. Sadly, Bessel passed away at the age of 57 in 1993.
“When my father passed, he drove me around Los Angeles for days — talking to me while I cried. The minute you needed him, he just showed up, like an angel,” said Thomas about her co-star on the show.
Fans Loved the Show
It was no surprise that fans went completely crazy for this show because it brought something new to their television screens. After all, Thomas had created one of the best shows for women that inspired them to be independent and rise up.
“You did not have to be the wife or the daughter of somebody or the secretary of somebody, but that you could be the somebody. The story could be about you and what you wanted in life,” Thomas explained in a 2003 interview with Television Academy.
Plans for a Movie
Believe it or not, there were actually plans to turn this sitcom into a movie back in the day. Before he passed away, Ted Bessel commented on this idea and said “As long as we’re still alive and kicking, I think it’s a mistake not to do it.”
Sadly, after he suddenly passed away, it was clear that the big-screen adaptation would never happen. No one was expecting this outcome since Bessel was perfectly healthy throughout the last few years of his life.
Thomas Became a Feminist
There was no doubt that this sitcom and its whole concept changed Thomas as a person. She became a symbol for feminism and she found meaning in helping women rise up and fight for their rights.
One thing Thomas was shocked about was that there hadn’t been many or any feminist organizations back in the day where women could turn to for advice. This led her to become a radical feminist and actively fight for women’s rights.
Donald Was Supposed to be Native American
It was originally planned for Donald Hollinger to present himself as part Cherokee Indian since his full name was Donald Blue Sky. Even though this wouldn’t have been politically correct nowadays, it was allowed back then.
Ted Bessel, who played the role of Donald Hollinger, had no Native American heritage and hence this kind of representation would be considered wrong. However, Thomas wouldn’t have minded it even if they went along with the original plan.
Intimacy Was Not Allowed
One odd thing that the fans of the show might have noticed was that Donald Hollinger never stayed around Ann’s apartment. He would leave for home at the end of each episode because the producers didn’t want to keep potential intimacy in question.
The network executives were extremely uncomfortable with this whole idea that they wanted Ann to actually live with her aunt and remove any opportunity for potential encounters with Donald.