Last night's episode of "American Pickers," found Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, the professional hunters in Kentucky. They travel across the country picking through rusty gold or hidden treasures covered with rust from age. Rusty gold is what keeps them in business, buying low and selling high, but even they find things that they do not want to part with.
The episode is titled "You Betcha," Danielle calls the guys while they are on the road and sent them to the Pioneer Playhouse in Kentucky, where they have lots of memorabilia to sell. This is a summer stock theatre where even John Travolta performed. Charlotte and Tom run the place and the tour they took was a walk back in time with old stores for people to visit, using various props. The props were awesome and Mike was willing to pay the right price. There was a corner counter piece with a display case on top. He was interested in the bottom piece for $1,500 and both agreed to the price. They found a fortune telling machine to have your fortune told by a hobo. It was a fun piece. Old gumball and pinball machines and a cigar cutter with tobacco advertising was a steal for $200. In the corner of the print shop, there was a piece that was totally puzzling to each of them. It opened on four sides, with carvings on each side. Nobody knew what it was. Charlotte finally started negotiating. They got it for $360 and had an awesome day. Now they have to find out what the heck it is. Lauren works at their Nashville store and basically does the same thing Danielle does in Iowa. So they send her pictures of the box and she went to work investigating.
They made a stop at a stand in Kentucky and meet up with a guy named Pete, who sells boiled peanuts on the roadside along with other items like tools. They introduce themselves to him and ask if he has anything they may be looking for. He says yes, and they take a ride to his property and lo and behold; his stuff is buried in his yard. The first thing they dig up is an old porcelain Esso gasoline sign, but he wants $1200 for it; way too much. But they found a giant Texaco sign that is in better condition than the Esso sign. He said he has an ice cream sign, and they dug it up. Biltmore ice cream from Asheville, N.C. was an enamel, unlike the porcelain gas signs. However, there is no deal for that one. Finally, Mike negotiates and flips a coin for the Texaco sign. If Mike wins, it is $500, if Pete wins, it is $600. Mike won this one and got the sign for $500.
In South Carolina, they found a Texaco station that had lots of history. It was a boat repair place and there were lots of treasures. The man agreed to let them look around. The first thing Mike found was an old scale that took a penny for people to weigh themselves. Mike got it for $300. A movie poster from the 1950s went for $50. They went to another garage behind the shop and found a rusty bed for $200. Frank found a tin toy in its original box from the 1950s. It was a man driving an old car that shook and rattled when wound up. They found lots of soda signs that they got easily. Then a sign that Mike never saw before came up; Pan-Am Motor Oil with a WWI Doughboy in the middle with the words, "Stand Up Under Fire." It was not in the greatest condition, but Mike had to have it. The man wanted $600, but his best price was $450 and Mike grabbed it.
Now that they have another shop in Nashville, they need to fill it with more inventory. And in Nashville, Lauren found someone who knew what it was. It was a megalethoscope from the mid 1800s. A what? An apparatus purchased by the wealthy to display photographs whereas the viewer could get a day and a night view of the same photo. The apparatus displayed photographs treated with egg whites to create a glossy surface. It was invented by Carlo Ponti, a photographer for the King of Italy in the mid 1800s. He applied for a patent in 1862. It used curved photographs. Because it was before color photos were invented, it was painted on the back side of the photo in color and pinholes were put where street lights, stars, the moon or any illumination would be found. When it was lit, the pinholes would light creating a night scene. The particular one they had was missing several important pieces. The value of this one was about $600. Mike won the bet as to what it was, so Frank had to do Mike's laundry, so Frank took it to a Laundromat and asked the woman to put starch in the clothes and not to bother doing a good job. So much for losing a bet on "American Pickers."
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