In American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz travel around the United States in search of old treasures to sell.
While the show has become a huge hit, it has also met several controversies about its production. Allegations such as staged events and ripping people off are just a few that came to the public’s attention.
How much do you think you know behind the scenes? Here, we divulge 15 American Pickers facts most people don’t know.
15. There Are Double-Crossing Sellers
Probably the most notable backlash American Pickers ever received was on their process of negotiation with some of their subjects. People who had the experience of haggling with Frank and Mike shared on online forums how different it was from what viewers saw on TV.
Prior to shooting, the production crew would already settle on the prices of the items. But, once the cameras started rolling, the cast would haggle the prices down, slimming their subjects’ opportunity to make a good profit.
14. There Was a Lawsuit Against Frank
Jerry Bruce is a collector of antiquated farming tools from Greenville, South Carolina. When he saw a polarimeter on one of the episodes of American Pickers, he reached out to Frank Fritz to purchase it.
They finally agreed on $300, which Jerry paid accordingly. Besides a confirmation text from Frank after the payment, he never got the polarimeter, nor did he hear back from anyone on the show. This prompted Jerry to file a lawsuit, which he won.
13. Producers Create Pre-Negotiated Deals
While the program shows that Mike and Frank primarily negotiate the prices with their customers, that might not be entirely true. In most cases, producers have already worked the deals out, including the seller’s item and price.
People who have traded on American Pickers claim the producers, despite having agreed on the prices ahead of time, coach sellers to ask for more money so they can capture negotiations and drama on camera.
12. Producers Do the Picking
American Pickers might have shown its audiences that the onscreen duo is solely responsible for all of their finds, but it is very different in reality. As previously mentioned, producers have already figured out everything before the shoot even begins. Hence, Mike and Frank couldn’t be considered the only “pickers” of potential treasure.
Instead, producers select from a pool of viewer submissions and choose where to go afterward. The two, of course, do have a say about it, but they aren’t the ones pioneering the searches.
11. Planted Items Are Common
Another criticism thrown at the show was how certain aspects of it were staged, particularly the unique items that the duo picks in the episodes. According to some online posts, production crews plant some items ahead for Mike and Frank to find.
Of course, no one from production has confirmed this. Even so, viewers still consider the deed practical and the show entertaining.
10. There Are Lots of Staged Scenes
Because of the predetermined aspects of the show, such as the items and their corresponding prices, it certainly did not come as a surprise that some of the scenes are also staged. In particular, Mike and Frank’s driving scenes raised speculations of many online cynics.
American Pickers make it seem like they are traveling across the country to find treasures in unlikely places. However, their driving scenes are not as organic as they seem to be, with footage suggesting they were just randomly driving on certain roads.
9. Frank Isn’t Really Into Picking
Unlike Mike who has basically lived his entire life as a picker, Frank only got into the business through American Pickers. Frank is likely more invested in picking’s potential as a cash cow, while Mike sees it as a real passion. Although Frank does love to collect rare things and sell them when appropriate, Mike is the one who actually lives for this.
8. Danielle Has a Side Hustle
On the show, Danielle runs the shop for Mike and Frank. When she is not busy working the store, Danielle performs as a burlesque dancer. She considers burlesque as her personal craft and even produced a documentary about it.
Apart from dancing, Danielle also owns a boutique called 4 Miles 2 Memphis. She also picks in her free time, mostly eyeing vintage costumes for burlesque dancing.
7. Danielle Has Tax Issues
Reportedly, Danielle has failed to settle her taxes for all of her sources of income. These notices apparently came while she was on the show.
In 2013, she received her first notice of overdue taxes amounting to $6,000. She left it unpaid, and her debt continued to grow over the next few years. By 2015, reports claimed Danielle had yet to settle her tax issues, although it is unknown if she has already cleared them by now.
6. Hobo Jack is the Jack of All Trades
Hobo Jack is a recurring guest on American Pickers and is a fan favorite. Born Jack Sophir, he is on the contrary, not a homeless person. Sophir actually owns quite a bit of property, and he is seen regularly bidding for items in auctions.
Apart from that, he also wrote a few publications and released music under his own name. They are all available for purchase on his website. He continues to use the name Hobo Jack on all of his work and is reportedly writing yet another novel.
5. The Show Took Advantage of Mole Man
Ron aka “Mole Man” has only appeared in one episode of the American Pickers first season, but he certainly made a mark with viewers. His fascination for underground tunnel-digging led him to great finds, which interested not only the team but also the audience. This eventually made Mole Man’s following grow over time.
Unfortunately, some people saw his fame as a good opportunity to make money. A huge yard sale featuring Mole Man and his collectibles, antique finds, and even autographs was announced. However, it turned out that it didn’t have anything to do with him, and the people who went there for him felt cheated on.
4. There Was a Rumored Cast Romance
Mike and Frank spend a lot of time together, which is why so many people have speculated their relationship. Fans suspect the two to be a little more than just coworkers and are actually in a homosexual relationship.
Sadly for hopeful fans, the rumors pretty much stay just as that. Mike is happily married to his longtime girlfriend, while Frank is said to be in a relationship, too.
3. The Pickers Have a Substantial Net Worth
The American Pickers duo might have donned modest and unsophisticated looks during the show, but don’t let that deceive you. In reality, Mike has an estimated net worth of $4 to 7 million, the highest among the show’s crew. On the other hand, Frank has an accumulated worth of about $4 million.
Both receive a salary of $500,000 each season, on top of the collectible or items that they sell. Moreover, the pickers also have side hustles apart from their time on the small screen.
2. Mike Spent a Great Deal of His Life “Picking”
If you’re wondering how exactly Mike amassed his millions in net worth, it’s because of his longtime passion for picking. His first profit came when he found a bike and decided to upend it for $5. After that, he started working his way up to. The next bike he bought for $50 and upscaled was sold 100 times more than what he paid for.
1. The Show Might Be Ending Soon
Several people who had close interactions with the American Pickers team claim that not only Mike and Frank can be mean to those around them, but that they do not get along well themselves. They argue that this might be one of the reasons why the show is likely ending soon.
While Mike confessed his intentions to leave the show, it was only because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Fortunately for fans, this move has been postponed indefinitely, as Mike continues to appear on the show and introduce interesting picks with onscreen partner, Frank.