Tonight's episode of "American Pickers" was titled "London Calling." Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, the professional hunters who now travel the world picking through treasures covered with dust and rust from age.
As the episode starts the guys left Italy, went to France and took the Chunnel over to England. As they drove past the awesome landmarks, they were looking another friend Mike met thirteen years ago. Niall, who owns Retrospective Scooters surely remembered Mike and now got to meet Frank. He knows somebody who has things for sale. As they drove to their lead, Danielle called with another lead in the states for old bumper cars. The lead could not wait, so Mike told her to grab his brother Robbie and go see the item.
When they met Carl, he had several of the iconic red British phone boxes. When British Tel was doing away with them, he scooped them up because they were just littering the streets. One that was made into art by street artist Banksy sold for $605,000 at Sotheby’s. Around since 1935, the phone boxes had just a few changes over the years. A crown on top of the box designates the age; the older ones have a king’s crown, and the newer ones have a queen’s crown. Carl only sells the ones that are fully restored and the one the guys liked was 4,800 pounds or in American dollars, $7,200. Carl might be interested in selling an unrestored one for the right price. The one he had in mind was a 1948, and he wanted 1,800 pounds or $2,700. After some haggling, the guys got an old BP sign and the phone box for the 1,800 pounds.
Carl then gave them a lead to a guy who sells mopeds, who happened to be right next door. Barry was the man, he was on a scooter himself, and stated that he normally does not sell anything. Carl had to leave, and Barry showed them some of his vehicular collections. Frank found two-gallon oil cans, in the U.S. they have quarts and gallons, but a two gallon is rare. They found a motor called a Cycle Master that was put on a bicycle to motorize it. After the war, Britain was rebuilding and gasoline was scarce. By using something like a motorized bike, they saved gas and were able to get around easier. Barry would not budge and sold it to Frank for 250 pounds. Then they spotted an old Gadabout moped, and they got it for 175 pounds. The guys bought quite a few items from Barry, so they left happy. Barry reminded them of several people they have met in the states, just the English version, and before they left, Barry set them up with another lead.
Danielle was working her magic on the other side of the pond, and expected to make a deal for twelve bumper cars for $12,000. The bumper cars were buried under piles of rubble and there were lots of parts that went with them. Now the price was $14,000 with the parts included. The deal was too good to pass up, and they agreed to the price and got the whole load.
They found Mike, who was a collector. He used to have a museum, and now most of it is in his house. He loves bikes and has a philosophical theory about his collections. They found a bamboo bicycle that Mike purchased from Lord Montague, but the guys did not know who the person was. When asked what he valued the bike at; Mike gave them an answer to the effect that he interprets their usefulness as part of the value. Having a difficult time getting a price, they continued to be in awe of the items they had never seen before. They found a treadle bike that was invented in New Jersey called the American Star from 1880. They finally asked Mike if he ever sold anything, and he replied that he sold parts for a Bugatti about a year ago. He mentioned his garage where he kept the overflow from the museum, and agreed to take them there. They arrived, and Mike told them he had not opened the garage for at least twelve years. It was packed to the rafters. The spotted a motorcycle called a Turner By-Van, one of only four that were made. It was weird looking, sort of a cross between a space ship and a motorcycle. The gas tank was mounted on the handlebars, and the cargo went under the seat. Mike offered him 20,000 pounds and reminded him that it was buried under tons of stuff, when Mike went up to 25,000, he told him that he did not want to sell it right now, but when he does, Mike has first crack at it.
After finally having enough of Europe, they flew home; truly missing America. Danielle was very happy to see them, but told them the container with all of their finds will not arrive for about three months. However, there will be plenty of pickings the next episode of "American Pickers."
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