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American Picker's Mike Wolfe Reveals His Thoughts On Collectors Vs. Hoarders

Though behind-the-scenes issues have clouded the conversation around "American Pickers" of late, the series remains one of the biggest reality hits History has ever aired, even if the series' ratings have reportedly dipped in the absence of longtime co-star Frank Fritz. Indeed, the ongoing adventures of renowned antiques "picker" Mike Wolfe continue to thrill viewers who just can't get enough of his uncanny ability to find treasure in other people's trash.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of "American Pickers," the series follows Wolfe as he drives across the country in search of potentially priceless artifacts normal folks are hiding away in their barns, garages, and backyards. As you might expect, some of the "treasures" Wolfe finds on the road are in better shape than others. So too are the locations Wolfe visits from one episode to the next, with the antiquing guru "picking" from a mix of proper collectors, and folks who more resemble hoarders. And as it happens, Wolfe himself has some very specific opinions on the often fine line between the two.

According to Mike Wolfe, it all comes down to pride

Mike Wolfe was asked about the difference between being a collector and a hoarder in the early days of "American Pickers," telling an interviewer from Southeastern Antiquing and Collecting magazine in 2011 that the difference is subtle but vital. In doing so, he even offered another reality series as proof of his own theory on the subject. That series was, of course, the A&E hit "Hoarders." And in referencing what he'd seen on that show, Wolfe first noted the obvious similarity between collectors and hoarders, stating, "I watched Hoarders last night. The hoarder talked about the thrill of hunt, that they were excited to find something on a hunt. That's the same thrill we get."

Wolfe was quick to argue, though, that there is one sizable difference in how hoarders and collectors ultimately feel about their finds. He said, "But the people we come across are collectors; they are proud people who are proud of their collections. On Hoarders, no one was proud. Even when you look at collections that are stacked on top of one another, the collectors are still proud of them. That's the separation between a collector and a hoarder. A hoarder may start out proud, but they aren't in the end."

So in Wolfe's estimation, "pride" is the major separator between collectors and hoarders.