'American Pickers' planning Western Pennsylvania trip in August
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are masters in the art of dickering, haggling over prices with everyday people to get a deal on their vintage and antique collectibles.
The friends since childhood travel across the United States, searching for items that range from movie memorabilia, folk art, pinball machines and vintage clothing to classic cars, military items, motorcycles and toys.
Their escapades and encounters with some interesting folks in small-town America are the basis for “American Pickers,” a popular History Channel television show.
Some of the stuff they pick ends up for sale at Wolfe’s business, Antique Archaeology, in LeClaire, Iowa, and Nashville, Tenn., or his partner’s antique shop, Frank Fritz Finds in Savanna, Ill.
Looking for leads
The guys are planning a trip to Pennsylvania in August to scout out potential locations for their TV show, and they’re looking for some leads.
They previously filmed episodes in 2015 at the former James C. Keyser’s Garage in Johnstown and in 2012 in Ford City, when the team searched through the Mantini family’s collections in several buildings there, including the basement of the Mantini Funeral Home.
Emily Chafetz, casting associate for the TV show, said they’ve gotten a pretty good response so far from people interested in having the pickers visit them.
“We always wish it was slightly bigger because the more people who hear about us, the more people reach out to us with collections,” she said.
Unique items only
Those selected for the show have the most unique items, in addition to different and unique stories and personalities, Chafetz added.
How “unique” do the collectibles and stories have to be for consideration?
“We found a rare Indian motorcycle buried underground once,” she said.
The casting associate said she thinks people like watching “American Pickers” because “it shows them that you never know what’s in your backyard, as well as telling them a little more about our history as a nation.”
Those who would like to be considered should send their name, phone number, location, photos and description of their collection to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-OLD-RUST (653-7878).
She noted that Wolfe and Fritz only pick private collections and will not accept items from stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses or anything open to the public.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.