Last night's History Channel episode of "American Pickers" was titled "Enter the Negotiator," starring Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe. These professional pickers travel across not only the United States, but over the world picking through treasures covered with dust and rust from age, and love every minute of their hunt as cobwebs and dead animals don’t scare them.
As the episode begins, the guys are in Vermont, on the last leg of their East Coast trip, and it is cold out. As they drive up on the property of a man who is ready to sell his collections from years ago. Dan was a man of few words. However, soon he told them he had been collecting engines since 1982, when he bought his first one. Now he has barns full of engines.
He had a bicycle crate, early packaging for shipping them to their destination in one piece. They could not meet on a number, but Mike put it aside for later and meanwhile; Frank found a gauge with the G.E. logo on it from way back that measured amperes on some old machinery. He got it for $40, and broke the ice. Mike found an old horn that could be used on a car or a bike, and Mike got the crate and the horn for $375.
When they entered his man-cave, one could see that he loved everything in there, as it was pristinely kept and looked like a showcase, of relics from yesteryear. Then Mike spotted a Moxie sign. Moxie debuted in 1876, when its creators claimed it was an effective cure for insomnia, nervousness and even paralysis. The secret ingredient was reportedly an extract from a rare South American plant, which also gave Moxie its bitter taste. Later, it became a soft drink, which was regional to New England. Mike offered $800 for the sign, but Dan told him he really did not want to sell it, especially for that price. Dan’s poker face did not give them any indication when they put prices out to him. Frank found Vermont Maple Syrup cans he got for $20, and felt that the trip was now complete. As they were leaving, Mike offered $1,000 for the Moxie sign, but no deal.
Back in Iowa, Mike had a lot to do in the shop, so he sent Frank and their friend Dave, the motorcycle expert to Florida to see Pat Regis. The guys picked from him before, when Mike spent $55,000 on a 1910 Royal Pioneer in the episode titled, “The Royal Risk.” Both guys were happy to be in Florida, as the cold weather in Iowa was getting to Dave. They are looking for a cycle car that Pat has told them about.
Before Frank left, both he and Danielle told Mike to look for a new van. The one they have now had almost 300,000 miles on it and has broken down a few too many times. They want something that is considerably bigger and can hold much more stuff as they trek across the country.
When they first went in, they walked into his warehouse/mess, and asked if anything there was for sale, each piece they found was something Pat loved and did not want to sell. Finally, Dave got a set of bookends for $200, and broke the ice. Frank found a chocolate mold that Pat gave him, and he bought a Longines watch sign for $150. Dave found an ancient fireman’s helmet with an eagle on it, that Pat paid $450 at auction, in a broken condition and sold it to him for the same price; Dave was very happy, but Pat confessed to the camera that he had better ones at home.
When they finally asked Pat about the cycle car, they could not imagine where it could be, but Pat had a secret room with tons of more stuff. Sure enough, hidden under lots of things, was the 1914 Merz cycle car. Back before WWI, people could not afford a motorcycle, much less a car. So Merz combined the best of both worlds and created a cycle car in the United States. Dave knew the tires were not original; the hood ornament and headlight were missing; the paint was redone, but the guts were there. Pat’s bottom line asking price was $37,500, and knew there was only one other in existence.
Dave called Mike, who would not spend more than $35,000, as they dickered from $30,000, they did finally settle on $35,000 with a money-back guarantee, which is totally unusual in the picking world. Pat agreed he would clear it out and ship it to them. As they left, they were very happy they accomplished the task at hand.
Back in Iowa, Mike is having a difficult time choosing a van, then he remarked that he dated his wife 20 years before marrying her. When Mike’s brother Robbie came in, Mike explained his dilemma, and Robbie will save the day. A few days later, Mike called Danielle from the Bluetooth in the new 2015 Ford Transit. She nearly dropped when she saw the van, already carrying their Antique Archaeology logo.
Before returning home, Dave and Frank went to a lead Danielle gave them in Florida to a lady named Gail. Her late father was a policeman, and she is ready to sell some of his stuff. When they got there, they found plenty of stuff. Her father was a police officer in Springfield, N.J. for twenty-seven years. They bought an old metal toy, a toy boat that could be used with electric or steam, they also purchased many small items, but had a great time and were welcome back anytime on this episode of "American Pickers."