A few Questions about American Pickers.

The American Pickers were here in our naval town and ate lunch at one of the better seafood restaurants down on the water. Afterwards, the owners took them upstairs where they’ve put together a kind of museum. The guys bought a very large, hand-made model of a boat. There was a big write-up about it in the paper.
The town knew they were coming beforehand.

I’m an avid watcher of American Pickers (do they just call it “Pickers” in the US?). I find the idea that two guys might turn up on your doorstep and ask to root around in your attic/basement/out buildings for anything you have that might be worth money, to be astonishing.

Has anyone had that happen to them?

They bought some canvas ‘signs’ from a fella quite cheaply, then had them appraised and they were worth thousands, they sold them for around 10K and went back and gave the original owner 5K

Which was nice.

How you doin’?

Seriously, that much? I’d have thought they were about breaking even on their trips.

It’s “American Pickers” in the U.S., as well.

I’d bear in mind that:
(a) their business has apparently been around for some time, and what they show on the show may not be entirely representative of where they make their money
(b) they undoubtedly get paid pretty well to make the show.

FWIW, I grew up just a couple miles from Le Claire, IA (site of the Pickers’ first store). Mike & Frank certainly didn’t grow up in or around Le Claire – we’re the same age, and if they had lived there as kids, I’d have run across them at some point during the 70s. From watching the show, I’m under the impression that they did grow up on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities – probably Davenport.

I recently read something from a resident of LeClaire; they say that Frank definitely is not from there and Danielle, now married and living in the Chicago area, is only in the shop on shooting days. All leads are handled by other, unseen, members of the staff.

That was my guess, plus I suspect that we see a tiny fraction of the actual picking and business that they do. I mean, we probably see what… 22 episodes a year, which is basically 20-40 days worth of picking (assuming that when they go to two places in an episode, it’s not always on the same day).

I bet those guys work somewhere in the usual ballpark of 250 days a year, or even more, and they have a larger staff that probably goes and picks stuff up, or looks potential places up on the internet/papers, etc…

I’m sure they can make a living at it, but it’s a full-time job, and there’s more work and stuff going on behind the scenes.

Frank’s Facebook page says his location is Savana, IL which is about 50 or 60 miles north of the quad cities.

One of the resent shows indicated they are always having people come into the (Nashville) store to sell them stuff. With as popular as the show has become, they probably would not have to go out and pick anymore at all, except to keep the popularity of the show going.

I was on a flight back to NYC maybe 2 years ago and sat next to a guy who was an advance scout for AP - gave me a card as part brag (he shared his affiliation right when he sat down; can’t recall if I kept the card) and because we discussed antiquing. He really wanted to talk motorcycles - maybe he’d bought an old one of Steve McQueen’s? (What is it with these guys and McQueen? Rick from Pawn Stars got a stiffy on an ep when he bought a McQueen-driven car…)

Anyway, I get the impression that they do a LOT of advance scouting before the main guys show up…