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Mike And Frank's Network Gives Them A Major 'Jumpstart' On Finding Treasure For American Pickers

In many ways, "American Pickers" keeps it old school. Nowadays, antiquing can be a rather impersonal process, but in days past, the only way to locate antiques for either retail or resale was to go to the store or warehouse and put the time and thought into some serious rummaging. Today, as with everything else, it can be done through the click of a mouse or a tap on the screen of a mobile device. 

Attitudes about antiques and heirlooms are changing, not just with the internet but also in terms of how tastes and consumer trends change over time. Regardless of whether this means fewer antique dealers hitting the road to sift through various storage spaces around the country, Mike Wolfe and Danielle Colby of Antique Archeology definitely are. 

"American Pickers" has made clear how much of the world of antiques still relies on the old infrastructure of brick and mortar. This makes sense, of course, given that all of the decades-old furniture, classic toys, and other knickknacks have to be stored somewhere. There's no denying that residential sheds and basements contain untold amounts, too. Hence, the whole premise of the show. 

How exactly do the pickers know where to look? Plenty of moments on the show have seen them behind the wheel of their truck, saying they've gotten a hunch about a certain town. While any reasonable viewer will guess that moments like these are mostly embellished for the camera, the pickers do need to know where to go and why.

A network that goes way back

In a 2019 interview with Hollywood Soapbox, executive producer Michael Swanhaus answered a question about how exactly the Pickers know where to look. "Mike and Frank have been in this business long before the show started," replied Swanhaus, "so they have a huge network of resources that, combined with the success of the show, gives them a great jumpstart on researching where they want to travel to next."

Swanhaus didn't provide much more information. This list of contacts also may have shrunk after disagreements between Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz led to the latter parting ways with the show in 2020, the year after this interview was conducted. Given that the two met more than 40 years ago and considering how long both had worked in the antique business, the list could be significantly smaller. Then again, with how long Wolfe and Fritz had known each other and worked together, there was likely a lot of overlap between their Rolodexes. Nevertheless, their networks are extensive.

We've been introduced to plenty of memorable and eccentric characters over the years. Even setting aside celebrity fans like Dolly Parton and Jack White leaves the likes of Prince Mongo and Hobo Jack, both of whom have helped point the pickers in the direction of some solid finds.