A lifelong American picker, Mike has been combing through junk since the age of four. Over the years, he’s earned a reputation as one of the country’s foremost foragers, traveling coast to coast in search of forgotten treasures. Where other people see dilapidated barns and overgrown yards, Mike sees potential goldmines packed with rare finds and sensational stories.
Mike spends as much time as he can on the road, usually with Frank Fritz—his friend of 20 years and picking partner—in tow. “A picker’s kind of like a nomad,” he explains. Wherever they go, the two guys unearth hoards of unique items and spend some quality time with the offbeat characters who own them.
What exactly does Mike look for? “Anything I can make a buck on,” he laughs. That could be anything from antique baby carriages and vintage jukeboxes to old cars and scrap metal. Mike’s clients include interior designers, art directors, photographers and collectors. He also owns Antique Archaeology, a specialist shop that sells antiques, vintage items and folk art in sleepy Le Claire, Iowa.
As Mike sees it, pickers do all the dirty work but dealers and collectors get all the credit. But that doesn’t mean he’s any less passionate about his chosen field. “I love to find stuff,” he says simply.
Visit Mike Wolfe’s official site: www.antiquearcheology.com
Like his buddy Mike, Frank started picking early, collecting rocks and beer cans as a kid. He worked for many years as a fire and safety inspector but always had a passion for antiques and junk. These days, he spends all his time on the road with Mike, digging for treasure in barns, garages and junkyards across America.
Even-tempered and affable, he has a way with potential sellers and a knack for putting out fires: Mike calls him the bearded charmer. Frank does get a little carried away, however, by anything with an engine, and Mike often has to talk him out of buying yet another motorbike for his collection.
With their complementary personalities and shared love of picking, Frank and Mike make the perfect team. Still, since they’re both out to cash in on their finds, some healthy competition always comes into play.
Visit Frank Fritz’s official site: www.frankfritzfinds.com
While the guys are out picking, Danielle holds down the fort at Antique Archaeology, Mike’s store and base of operations. She spends her time talking to buyers, packing up shipments and keeping Mike and Frank in line, while they keep her in stitches with their antics and jokes. Mike likes to say she’s the glue that holds them all together.
A mother of three, Danielle is always working on a new creative project, whether it’s painting, designing clothes or selling vintage-inspired gifts online. She feels extremely proud of the “boys” and fortunate to work with such a talented pair.