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The Broken McCormick Sign American Pickers' Mike Wolfe Got For $600

One of the essential points of a show like "American Pickers" is that much of what may seem like old junk actually carries with it a fascinating moment in history. And quite often, we find that something that was being saved by a person for sentimental or memory value is also of broader significance, with the personal and historical coming together. 

This was the case during Season 23, Episode 14, when Mike Wolfe was traveling through rural Louisiana and stopped at the property of a grandfather-grandson duo named Wes and Austin. As we learn in the episode, their family used to run a kind of general store, one they were looking to revive. They also owned a former pool hall that was filled with old, 20th-century Americana that any fan of the retro would be keen to own. 

One of these items may take viewers by surprise. It was first shown to us when Mike pulled out a sign that simply says "McCormick." What made it interesting was that each letter was wooden, cut out by hand, and attached to a wooden base. Past that, it didn't really seem all that unique, let alone valuable. It was even missing part of the third "C" in "McCormick." But Mike ended up paying a fairly substantial $600 for the item. 

The sign was for a once-iconic tractor company

While audiences might have believed that Mike Wolfe was about to purchase a sign having something to do with a popular line of spices, he made it clear to the camera that this sign was only one part of a much larger sign for an all-but-forgotten player in American industrial manufacturing. "McCormick-Deering was a line of tractors produced by International Harvester," Wolfe said. "These signs are what hung inside the dealership." During its 150-year history, International Harvester was ubiquitous in American farming equipment, making not just tractors and threshers, but commercial trucks, sport-utility vehicles, and even motorhomes before dramatically declining, beginning in the 1970s. 

Sure enough, Mike soon pulled out another part of the sign, spelling out the word "International." As it just so happens, it had the missing piece from the broken "C" laying on it. Soon, after all the pieces were assembled, they were laid out on the ground in what might have been the order they appeared in a dealership, reading "McCormick-Deering International Parts Service." One has to admit, laid all out, in its full condition, the sign looked pretty slick. 

According to Wes, these pieces came from a local International Harvester dealership, certainly long gone by now. "Wes and Austin are moving history forward in a couple different ways," says Mike. "One, by collecting things, preserving them, and moving them forward. And two, by reimagining their family store again in this small town."