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'American Pickers' find ‘The King’s Ransom’ on History Channel

Tonight's episode of "American Pickers" was titled "The King’s Ransom," as Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, the professional hunters travel the earth picking through treasures covered with dust and rust from age will soon find out.

American Pickers Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

As the episode begins, the guys are in Vermont, as Danielle calls with a lead for a guy named Ken, who has bicycles and oil cans. He has a storage problem, and has tents erected to cover all his stuff. With bicycles lined up across his vast property, he considers them an addiction. Inside a trailer, the guys see a life-size replica of Elvis and a giant alligator and elephant that came from an amusement park ages ago. Ken’s friend tears down old buildings and gets lots of unique stuff. Ken is a negotiator and has been around the block more than once. Mike got the three pieces for $850. Frank got a stroller that looked like a Corvette from the 1964 World’s Fair that was sponsored by Hertz Rent-a-Car for $40.

Ken had a garage where he kept the better stuff. Tons of bicycles and Mike found an Orient tandem bicycle, from the turn of the last century. Mike got it for $425. While Mike was ogling the bikes, Frank saw the oil cans and could not resist. Mike found a Victor bicycle that he had to have, although rusty as can be, it was perfection to him. He also found a Rollfast bike from the turn of the century and when they left Ken, they were all happy, except for the alligator, whose tail was sticking out of the back of the truck.

In New York again, they saw a rusty pickup truck and stopped to ask about it. A woman was sitting on her porch and told them she was not buying anything they were selling. They immediately told her they were buying and not selling. Her name was Joanna and when they asked about the truck with a makeshift camper on top, she said her husband made it. They found out that her husband had passed away, but she lit up when she talked about him. The man could make just about anything, and his name was Bruce. Joanna’s son Tim was there and talked about the camper that was made from an old school bus. He demonstrated how the camper was used. Now they are ready to clean out and sell what they can. Bruce died about five years ago, and his workshop was jam-packed with his inventions.

Joanna gave Tim permission to sell items in the garage and Frank bought a fan contraption meant to fly. When Mike found an old homemade lion head mask, he had to have it, and Joanna sold it for $50. Frank found a mechanical bank he paid $225 for. They then found a large rifle, but the guys took pictures of it to send to an expert. It was made by Springfield Armory.

Danielle had an expert come in to check out the leather mask with the glass doors that the guys got in Italy. He told her it was a smoke mask that firemen would use. They were led to believe it was a welder’s mask, but he corrected that error. He told her that each firehouse had just one of these, and when they had to go into a smoky building, they used it. He told her that it was not from the 1920s, but more like the 1880s. What they thought was glass, was actually mica, a stone. The fitting on the outside of the mask was used by the firemen outside the building operating the bellows to pump air into the mask. The expert valued it at from $2,000 to $2,500. Danielle was thrilled because they paid 400 euros for it, which was $520 U.S. and with fees of $200, with will make about $1,280 on this item. Dani can’t wait to tell the guys.

As they were packing up to leave, Mike got the call from the gun expert who told him that the gun was used during the Spanish-American War, but not with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. He valued it at $2,000, and they got it for $1,200. Joanna and Tim were very nice and the guys are welcome to come back anytime, as there is a lot of history at this homestead.

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