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American Pickers Paid $260 Apiece For These Coopered Columns

Two of History's most successful series over nearly the past 15 years  — "American Pickers" and "Pawn Stars" — largely concentrate on discovering treasures from the past. But while "Pawn Stars" often finds Rick Harrison buying specific historical items that will be recognizable to potential customers, Mike Wolfe from "American Pickers" is open to purchasing things of all types — so long as they have storied histories — including decorative, outdoor architectural structures.

Such was the case in Season 23, Episode 15, titled "Flea Market Junkie," where Wolfe unearthed a pair of coopered columns in Lafayette Parish in Louisiana. The columns, which are wooden, are cylindrical in shape and hollow in the middle since the column is assembled via glue and nails to hold it together. However, Wolfe's colleague, antique expert "Jersey" Jon Szalay, pointed out how the ornate coopered segments were starting to come apart, which is something that Wolfe wanted to prevent from happening.

"When you're a collector, you appreciate properties with so much story and history," Wolfe said. "This is the way you find stuff like this. You want to pull it out, you want to preserve it and you want to resurrect it."

Wolfe offered the owner of the columns, Mary, $225 apiece, while Mary countered with a $260 price tag, which the picker accepted. After all, Szalay estimated the columns were assembled in 1880. Later in the segment, Mary noted how she previously appraised antiques for insurance purposes, so she had a good idea of what the items she was selling were worth.

Mike Wolfe says the columns will 'outlast us all'

Perhaps another reason Mike Wolfe didn't hesitate to take Mary up on her asking price is because the coopered columns were constructed with Cypress wood, which is known for its rot-resistant resiliency. "The fact that [the columns] are Cypress, they're going to be around forever," Wolfe said during the "American Pickers" segment. "These things are like [legendary Rolling Stones guitarist] Keith Richards. They're going to outlast us all."

While Wolfe has picked a myriad of items since "American Pickers" kicked off in 2010, he clearly displayed on the "Junk Market Junkie" episode that he has a special affinity for building items. "Anytime we find anything architectural, especially wood, we both geek out on it," Wolfe noted, referencing himself and "Jersey" Jon Szalay.

Mary was happy with the sale because Wolfe and Szalay could make the columns "beautiful" and "be what they were meant to be" since she wasn't able to herself. In addition to the coopered columns, Mary sold Wolfe a wooden vintage screen door and some wooden door frames with brass accessories attached to them for $275 total. While Wolfe and Szalay knew the doors were no longer functional, they saw value in them as decorative pieces.