Last night's History Channel episode of "American Pickers" was titled "The Mega-Pick," starring Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe. These professional pickers travel the earth picking through treasures covered with dust and rust from age, and love every minute.
As the episode begins, the guys are still in gorgeous Colorado when Danielle calls to send them to see Don, a collector with several buildings. When they pull into his property, it is an equipment paradise. Don’s father loved farm auctions, and bought as much as he could, so it would not be scrapped. Don’s father has passed, but he is living with those memories of his childhood and still has so much stuff because he was bitten by the same bug.
When the guys went into a chicken coop with a license plate over the door from 1913, they could not believe how large it was inside, and loaded to the rafters with every imaginable item. They hit the motherlode of a mega-pick. They found an old tire changing machine made of cast iron in Springfield, Ohio. Don watched his father negotiate with people all his life, so he goes head to head with Mike on the tire machine. They settle on a price of $235. Frank found an animal yoke, different from the average ones, as this one had a spring. After getting a few more awesome finds, Mike found a pile of vintage automobile headlights, he offered $500 and his bid was accepted immediately. Frank found something in the same genre of the tire changer. He believes it to be a battery remover, for when batteries became old and rusted, which back in the day, there were very few improvements as there are with today’s technology, he got that item and a steam whistle for $70.
Frank found a warning sign that resembled an old wanted poster, advising anyone who planned to steal their livestock that they were tattooed by the Horton Tattoo Markers. He got the sign for $25; a cool find. Another cool find was a cheese cutter dated 1903, where a huge round block of cheese was put on it, and one could dial in how much cheese it would cut and the thickness. Then they discovered a mate to the cheese cutter in a scale painted in the same color and when Don asked $125, Frank told him it was worth more and gave him $200. By the time they were done, they cornered the market in the memorabilia from the Industrial Revolution. They even managed to find a wooden cow catcher from a locomotive on the Uintah Railroad. When Don gave Mike the price of $1,500, and knew the history and even had pictures of the actual train it came from, Mike knew that the piece had to remain in Colorado, where it probably belonged in a museum.
Back in Tennessee, Danielle met with Dr. Simeone, the man who sent the guys to Italy to retrieve the prized auto that was not for sale. They did bring back the Fiat cutaway, used to train drivers about the engine before they could obtain a drivers license. If anyone can sell it to him, it is Danielle, who is an awesome bargainer. Well, not to let the guys down, she sold it to the doctor for $3,500.
In the next segment, they were in Massachusetts hunting down a lead from Danielle for European car collectors. Charles and Nancy were in a Citroen when they found them. Charles bought his first car at age nine; a 1954 Chevy Bel Air, he got from a local junk yard for $20. He got it running and could barely see over the steering wheel. When they went into their garage, they were astounded by the cars inside. They had a collection of fourteen Messerschmitt automobiles, made by an aircraft manufacturer shut down by the allies after WWII. After so much of Europe was hit by bombs, after the war, they needed an inexpensive method of transportation, and these small three-wheeled cars were a perfect fit.
Charles and Nancy will be facing college tuition in less than a year, and decided to let go of some of the collection. Charles is tougher than Nancy in letting go of something, as he is in love with each vehicle he owns. Mike offered him $30,000 for a 1961. After bidding several times, Charles, who did not want to sell the car threw a price at Mike of $60,000. Game over!
So not to leave with nothing, Mike explored further among the collection and found a European scooter called a Maicomobile. It was made by Maico, which also made racing motorcycles. Mike wanted it and offered it for $10,000. It needed work, but Charles wanted about $14,000. Mike’s final offer was $12,500, and Nancy nudged him to take the money.
After completing the transaction in Nashville, Danielle and Lauren went out to celebrate, Nashville style.