I apologize to my foreign followers who are not familiar with the television show. It began five years ago on our History Channel, cable TV. Mike Wolfe (on the left) is the originator of the program which came about from his lifelong (ever since he was 4 years old) of collecting old things which turn out to be highly collectible items in the eyes of those who collect, thus turning a good profit in picking up someone's "junk" for a few bucks and selling it to a collector for many times more. His partner in all of this is Frank Fritz (on the right) who the two have been friends ever since the 8th grade. In the center is Danielle who searches out leads online and through various contacts. The boys travel around the country following up on these leads most of which are old barns, warehouses and people's homes some who are borderline hoarders. Most of the people they visit have either been collecting all their life and need to thin their collection down, or Dad has passed away and the kids are left with all this stuff to get rid of and lastly some are found simply by "free-styling" as they call it - just aimlessly driving the back roads of America until they come upon someone's yard full of junk where they pull in, introduce themselves as pickers from Iowa and hand the owner a list of things they are interested in. As for reality shows, this one isn't too bad. Most reality shows are obviously heavily 'scripted', include a lot of drama and some a lot of fighting and swearing. Because of that, I watch only two so-called reality shows, this being one of them. Okay, on with the show.
Le Claire, Iowa
As I pointed out before, this is the new building on the lot as they needed room to expand.
Additionally they have set up another store in Nashville Tennessee a couple years back.
This 1950 Nash was in place long before the television show began production.
What a cool looking car.
Inside the new brick building it was all nicely done with some of the more collectible items on display. It was more like a museum. Old motorcycles and bicycles are of particular interest to Mike. Frank is more into antique toys, oil cans and old signage. Notice the bevy of t-shits for sale in back.
Von Dutch (Kenny Howard 1929 - 1992) is a legendary artist and pinstriper doing art work mostly on motorcycles, cars, helmets and the like. His work is highly collectible. For example, a 100cc dirt bike that belonged to Steve McQueen with his artwork sold at auction for $43,000. A sign he created for his shop went for $18,720. Or how about his toolbox for over $300,000. So you can imagine the bargain Mike got when he discovered Von Dutch's motorcycle he built from an array of parts from different motorcycle brands then fitted a 36 horsepower Volkswagen engine into all for the price of $21,000...yes, he "stole" it. You can see some pinstriping on the fender, forks and gas tank.
This old Indian, I recall the episode when he found it. I don't remember the price he paid but most would think it outrageous. But you have to consider, it is the only one known to exist.
An old bicycle with a futuristic design. How many are there still around?
That movie poster would fetch a tidy sum.
This I believe is the old Harley Davidson he found long ago minus the engine. It took him years but he finally located the correct engine for it. If I am not mistaken he had to trade a couple incomplete Harley motors from different years in order to strike the deal to get the motor he needed.
Yep, probably not many known exist of this particular model and year.
This is part of the display behind the counter. I forgot to take more pictures for I got caught up in the story being told to a customer buying a t-shirt or two at $25 a piece. The saleslady was telling us about how some people come in with their little kids and don't keep an eye on them. A little girl, not being watched by her parents, wandered into the area you see below, and pulled over a Tiffany Lamp valued at $600! Destroyed. "What can you say?" was what she said to us. Well I would think "You just bought a Tiffany Lamp" for starters. Then there was the little boy who walked up to the typewriter Mike found that supposedly belonged to Albert Einstein. The kid was pounding away on the keys and the parents did nothing. I forgot to take a picture of the typewriter but it was setting on the same level of shelf as those gauges are in this photo, but over on the other end of the display. Well, maybe they should place these kid magnets up high, out of view and out of reach, ya think?
By now I had had enough plus being a little nauseated about the Tiffany Lamp story. I went back over to the old shop in an attempt to decide if I want to buy a souvenir of my visit or not. Just then Mike's younger brother Robbie pulled in. Robbie has been on the show a few times in one aspect or another. We got to talking and when he learned I was from California he asked where I was heading to next. "North of here" I said with no definite destination. Well he told me I must stop by the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Boy, am I glad he reminded me of that. I keep a list of all the motorcycle collections in the country with me when I travel and completely forgot to check on Iowa.
Thank you Robbie.
The ladies were going to load up some boxes in the old Sprinter Van and I offered to help them getting to see inside where many thousands of dollars of collectible junk once traveled.
So I was done. Time to get going.
One last picture and then go check in on Sinbad, have some lunch and move on up the road.
Oh yeah, I bought a small lapel pin (to stick up inside the Little House on the Highway) a sticker (I don't know why) and a magnet which began to fall apart in the Iowa weather two days later. Total $10.50. I sent the magnet back while on the road. A new one was waiting for me when I returned home with a note stating they weren't made for "outdoor use". Odd. I guess it was made for refrigerators only; like wives would enjoy having this on their refrigerators.
I like my National Motorcycle Museum magnet better
and it cost less than the Picker's flimsy $2 postcards which I didn't buy any of.