Last night's episode of "American Pickers" was titled "Sicilian Standoff." Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, the professional hunters who travel the world picking through treasures covered with rust from age. This episode finds the pair in Sicily and getting a new education on the art of negotiation.
As the episode starts the guys recall the interesting people they met in Italy. Now they traveled to the island of Sicily to follow up on Danielle’s lead from Fran, a customer they loved from upstate New York, who owns a home there. As they attempt to find the woman’s house, they must walk the rest of the way, because the road is closed. Finally, they found Fran’s daughter, Sally. She explained how Sicilians negotiate and will be taking them around and translating for them. Keep in mind, the amounts are in euros and not dollars.
The first people they met were a mother named Pina and her son Santo. The patriarch of the family passed away, and they are trying to thin out some of his collections. They were invited into a home that was there for generations. When they went into a room, they asked if it was used as a garage, but it was where the horses were kept. Mike immediately saw a carving of Jesus that was originally a root of an olive tree. Her late husband carved the statue into the root giving it a personality of its own. He applied plaster to the wood and hand painted over the plaster. It was a beautiful piece of art, and a one-of-a-kind piece and Mike got it for 245.
They found pottery and oil lamps like they have never seen before. Frank saw an ornate oil lamp that was from the 1800s and negotiated for 300. As the mother and son negotiated back and forth, Frank found that the mother was more apt to let things go at a lower price than Santo.
They spotted the loft, that had amazing carvings of wood. Pina did not come up there, so anything the guys wanted had to be approved by her. When they called to her, she returned with espresso. As Frank asked a price, she was the toughest of the negotiators, but gave them a good price and cup of coffee too. At home, they are surprised to find things that are a century in age; here, nearly everything is a few centuries in age.
They found several pieces, but the prices were too high and felt that because they were Americans, they were at a disadvantage. Then Frank spotted a homemade rat trap with a trap door, he got it for ten and Pina asked him if he wanted a rat to go with it?
They found architectural items like door knockers and finials; Mike got a box of these for 250, but Pina wanted to know why he kept asking for lower prices. Where they live, if a price is asked the person either buys or declines. She was tired of going back and forth. Frank found two sets of inkwells and bargained for it, when she insisted that he pay 100 for both, she got her price, but no kiss. Kisses only go with good deals; she did not mind.
Then Mike found a mint condition silk top hat in its tattered original box. It had belonged to a nobleman and after the war, even the rich were in need of money and that was how her husband acquired much of his collection. They got the hat and a few more and looked great. As they were leaving, they felt like family and loved this new family they joined, especially Pina.
Later, they dined at a restaurant and met the owner named Carmelo. There was a scooter parked outside the place, and the guys commented on it. Carmelo told them that he had a friend Nunzio, who sells antique scooters and they guys were chomping at the bit. Because Sally had to leave, Carmelo sent his beautiful daughter Frederica to interpret for them. They met Nunzio, who loved bicycles as a child and loved to fix them. As he got older, he was into collecting motorcycles. Now he has a few places around the town where he keeps his collections. The first place had wall-to-wall Ducati, Moto Morini and Moto Guzzi (like a Harley to Italians), Benelli and more. The prices were too high for the guys as they had to figure shipping, taxes and trying to make a profit. They went to another place where he had more. In Sicily, their space is limited, so everyone has lots of stuff crammed in small places. The next place was a storage locker, piled to the rafters. They spotted three racing helmets and got all for 200. They also spotted a rare child-size barber chair with a horse on the front from the 1950s that they got for 600. They found two Italian signs for vehicle service that they negotiated for 140. They spotted a Moto Guzzi Ercolino, a kind of small pickup truck that was a motorcycle, and although it had lots of rust, they managed to get it for 1,500.
As they drove away, they were thrilled with the Ercolino, but told Frederica they hoped to find the Piaggio Ape, another three-wheel cycle when Frederica told them her father had one that was a 1960. When they returned, they found the prize they were looking for in his garage, and it even ran. As for the price, he wanted 4,000, but they just could not get the price at a place where it was profitable. Carmelo was not too eager to part with the vehicle either, as it was a piece of his heart. No deal, but they made great friends. Mike did not want to waste another trip, so he called a friend in the states who had a connection in England. Now they will head there for the next episode of "American Pickers."
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