NEW YORK – Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are once again searching the back roads, junkyards, and filled-to-the-brim barns in America for “rusty gold.” With an average of 3.8 million total viewers per episode in its first season, American Pickers, the No. 1 new cable series of 2010, returns for a second season with all new premieres beginning Monday, June 7 at 9pm ET on HISTORY.
Part sleuths, part antiques experts, and part cultural historians – Mike and Frank’s adventures bring them to small towns across the country in search of weird and wonderful Americana. Each treasure hunt leads them to fascinating, quirky characters – everyday people with stories that open a window onto American life.
As professional “pickers,” these childhood buddies comb through memorabilia and artifacts, hoping to find treasures among the trash. Sometimes they make a few bucks; and sometimes they walk away with little more than the history of an item.
The new season begins June 7 in North Carolina, where the duo comb through a collector’s abandoned outbuildings and find a 1950 Studebaker. Mike becomes obsessed with a 1934 pre-Airstream trailer, but can they negotiate a deal? Then, hoping to sell a choice vintage sign, they visit their friend and NASCAR champion Ryan Newman, who has a surprise of his own for the guys.
As their junkyard journeys continue, the pickers rummage through ramshackle school buses, a burned storage building, forgotten barns, salvage yards, and rust heaps in search of what they call “good junk.” They come across an item they’ve never seen before, place bets on what it actually is, and get a surprising assessment from the appraiser. They encounter a mother and daughter who catch the picking bug and give the guys a run for their money. And with nerves of steel, they try to strike deals with people who are often reluctant to part with their possessions.
Meanwhile, back in Iowa, Danielle Colby Cushman holds down the fort at Antique Archaeology. She spends her time getting leads, talking to sellers and doing research via trade publications and websites. Danielle also keeps the boys in line – while they keep her in stitches with their antics.
“We’re caretakers of treasures and the stories behind them,” says Mike. Traveling along with the duo, viewers will meet an assortment of American originals and watch as a patchwork of history unfolds – one treasure at a time.
Antique Trader covered American Picker’s debut and its initial controversy in its February issue posted online.
MEET THE “PICKERS”
A lifelong “picker,” Mike has been combing through junk since the age of four. Over the years, he’s earned a reputation as one of the country’s foremost foragers, traveling coast to coast in search of forgotten treasures. Where other people see dilapidated barns and overgrown yards, Mike sees potential goldmines packed with rare finds and sensational stories.
Mike spends as much time as he can on the road, usually with Frank – his friend of 20 years and picking partner-in tow. “A picker’s kind of like a nomad,” he explains. Wherever they go, the two guys unearth hoards of unique items and spend some quality time with the offbeat characters who own them.
What exactly does Mike look for? “Anything I can make a buck on,” he laughs. That could be anything from antique baby carriages and vintage jukeboxes to old cars and scrap metal. Mike’s clients include interior designers, art directors, photographers and collectors – and he owns Antique Archaeology, a specialty shop that sells antiques, vintage items and more in sleepy Le Claire, Iowa. Visit Mike’s official company website here: www.antiquearcheology.com
Like his childhood friend Mike, Frank started picking early, collecting rocks and beer cans as a kid. He worked for many years as a fire and safety inspector but always had a passion for antiques, junk and anything with an engine. These days, he spends most of his time on the road with Mike, digging for treasure in barns, garages and junkyards across America.
Even-tempered and affable, he has a way with potential sellers and a knack for putting out fires: Mike calls him the bearded charmer. Frank does get a little carried away, however, by anything with an engine, and Mike often has to talk him out of buying yet another motorbike for his collection.
With their complementary personalities and shared love of picking, Frank and Mike make the perfect team. Still, since they’re both out to cash in on their finds, some healthy competition always comes into play. Visit Frank’s official company website here: www.frankfritzfinds.com
Danielle Colby Cushman
While the guys are out picking, Danielle holds down the fort at Antique Archaeology – Mike’s store and base of operations. She spends her time talking to buyers, packing up shipments and keeping Mike and Frank in line, while they keep her in stitches with their antics and jokes. Mike likes to say she’s the glue that holds them all together. A mother of three, Danielle is always working on a new creative project, whether it’s painting, designing clothes or selling vintage-inspired gifts online. She feels extremely proud of the “boys” and fortunate to work with such a talented pair.
-posted by Eric Bradley