After a couple of reruns, American Pickers returns with a new episode. This week, Mike and Frank are picking Missouri.
The show starts with the guys on their way to a property with plenty of dilapidated structures — their favorite kind of pick — when Danielle calls to tell them about a chance to buy a (surprise!) motorcycle. This is not just any motorcycle, though, it’s a rare 1937 Harley Davidson Knucklehead. Mike and Frank debate whether they should turn around, but decide to “power pick” the property they were originally planning to visit.
They arrive at the property, and the owner, David, shows them around the six outbuildings he inherited. Mike finds a VW Beetle with a bar set for $25 and a really cool train motion light from 1966 for $17 — an absolute fire hazard. Frank wants to leave but Mike wants to make sure they don’t miss anything good, and the two bicker like an old married couple about whether they should stay or go. Frank wants to go look at the Knucklehead, but then he finds a huge Kawasaki motorcycle sign for $30 and is fine with staying just a little longer.
In one of the buildings, parts of the exterior walls are patched with old Town Crier Flour signs that Mike and Frank dutifully pry off, exposing giant holes to the outside. Frank gets an old rocking chair for $130 and a large Western Union clock for $85.
Finished with the pick, the guys drive 50 miles in search of the elusive Knucklehead. The owner of the Knucklehead, another Mike, is an ex-pawn shop owner, among other things, and wears bling on his fingers while handcuffs and a sidearm hang off his belt — not someone you really want to start haggling with. Mike and his wife are looking to downsize and want to unload some of his “mantiques.” Frank breaks the ice with a vintage Stop sign for $100, and Mike pops for a huge Jeep sign for $100.
The group walks down the street to an old theater that Mike and his wife converted to a restaurant. Picker Mike finds a pretty sweet Hula lamp from the 40’s and buys it for $150, and Frank gets a Victrola record puzzle for $20 and a giant 3 liter bottle of hot sauce for $30 for his personal collection.
Picker Mike finally finds the elusive red Knucklehead, sitting in the middle of the restaurant. He gives it a thorough inspection and impressed me with his knowledge of all the parts and whether or not they were original to the bike. He determines that some parts are not original but are still pre-1940. Mike vs. Mike duke it out for an agreeable price, which ends up being $20,000, the top of Picker Mike’s price range. As they’re wheeling the Knucklehead out the door, Frank sees a yellow Kawasaki chopper he wants, but it’s not for sale. They call Chico, the owner, and for $2,500 Frank gets to load it in the van, too.
Mike and Frank take the Knucklehead to be appraised. Jim looks it over and offers him $25,000 on the spot, without even firing it up. Mike is already too emotionally attached to the bike and doesn’t sell it. I’m not sure this was a pick for Antique Archaelogy as much as it was a pick for Mike’s personal collection. Of course, how many collector/sellers haven’t been there before?
The guys aren’t done yet and visit a home off the beaten track and find Darlene, who’s father was a picker. Mike exclaims, “Junk! Dirt! Rust! Cobwebs! We love that stuff!”
They dig through buildings and basements and find an antique medicine cabinet for $60, and a neat old railroad cart for $60. This episode’s “Mike and Frank play nice with old people” moment has them meeting Darlene’s mom, who performed on horses and still had some ornate saddles and photos.
Mike finds a mid-century strap chair, possibly Knoll, and plays a round of Rock ’em – Sock ’em Robots (yea! Pop culture!) with Darlene to determine the final cost — $165. $10 more was thrown in for the Rock ’em – Sock ’em game.
Mike and Frank return to Jim’s motorcycle shop to see what he found out about the Knucklehead. It turns out that the bike was restored back in the 90’s by Jim at his shop in California! I love the stories behind antiques and this is a great one. It truly is a small world, and when you deal with rare items, the provenance only adds to the charm. Mike and Frank take their new toys for a spin as the credits roll, doing their best impression of Junior and Senior Tuttle from that other network.
This show was a bit different in that the pickers bought some big ticket items. I wonder if the Hollywood effect is going to take place, and we see Mike and Frank start to drop larger and larger amounts of cash on items that most of us collectors could never afford. It will be interesting to see what happens. What do you think? Anyone else tired of motorcycles yet?