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American Pickers' Mike Wolfe Once Took A Pricey Gamble On A Set Of Damaged 1940s Coca-Cola Signs

For the vast majority of people, antiquing is a mere hobby. It's something fun to do during a weekend with friends and family, but not much more than that. On the other hand, for the "American Pickers" team, it's a way of life. The folks on the show — known professionally as "pickers" — have built their lives and careers on going from odd place to odd place, digging through mountains of stuff in hopes of finding a small handful of worthwhile pieces. With any luck, they'll have some value so they can resell them for a profit.

Seeing as the likes of Mike Wolfe and Danielle Colby have made a profession out of digging up pricey antiques, it's no secret that the practice isn't all fun and games for them. After all, they run a business, and if they're not making money, they won't be able to stay in business and continue pursuing their unique line of work. In order to make money, though, they need to know what they're buying. For the most part, the hosts of "American Pickers" are pretty well-educated on their finds, but that's not to say they don't take some risks now and again.

For example, Mike Wolfe once took an expensive gamble on some severely damaged Coca-Cola signs from the 1940s. Here's how they came into his possession.

Wolfe was willing to drop thousands on these signs

In the Season 23 installment "The Alabama Slamma," "American Pickers" staple Mike Wolfe picked up eight antique Coca-Cola signs from the late 1940s. They all seemed to have their original wood frames, and most lacked serious damage, but there was one big problem: one of the previous owners covered them all in black paint. Some were still pretty much coated in it, while others had begun to peel, but in Wolfe's eyes, despite their condition, they all had potential. Having paid big money for Coca-Cola signage before, he dropped $4,000 for all of them, hopeful to restore them to their former glory.

Given the shape they're in, surely it would take no shortage of paint remover and patience to get them all back to where they were decades ago. This process would likely cost Wolfe a few bucks, but once the signs were all back in tip-top shape, it stands to reason he could make a pretty penny off of them. Coca-Cola is one of those brands that people love buying up trinkets, bottles, and, of course, signs of, as evidenced by the bustling Reddit community dedicated to such collectibles. Who knows, maybe someone in that subreddit will come to own one of these signs down the road.

Some might look at this bundle of Coca-Cola signs and see a lost cause, but not Mike Wolfe. He sees dollar signs, and it's that way of thinking that has helped "American Pickers" to thrive for over a decade.