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The Biggest Payouts On American Pickers

American Pickers, in particular Frank Fritz and show creator Mike Wolfe, has come under some harsh criticism. They've been accused of convincing sellers they own a bunch of junk, buying it on the cheap, then turning around and selling said "junk" for a huge profit—but things don't always work out that way. Here are a few times the Pickers parted with quite a bit of cash.

Sideshow banners: $5,000

In 2010, Wolfe and Fritz found themselves at the remains of an old amusement park, where they found some old, worn out sideshow banners. According to Lehigh Valley Live, the pickers paid their guide, Neal Fehnel, $700 for the lot of them, which turned out the be only a fraction of what they were worth. An appraiser later told them that just one of the banners was worth $5,000 or more. The Pickers later went back to the park and gave Fehnel $5,000—a nice gesture that's a rarity on the show, and the only one on this list.

Back taxes: $11,973.42

Not all of the American Pickers' payouts are for junk they find on people's property. Picker Danielle Colby had to make a big payout because she forgot to cut Uncle Sam in on her business endeavors. According to Radar Online, Colby failed to pay retail taxes for some of the items she flipped in 2013 and 2014. Not only was she hit with a bill from the IRS, she also had several liens placed on her business, 4 Miles 2 Memphis. As of August 2015, she had yet to pay up. Maybe she didn't realize you can't pick...and choose when you want to pay taxes.

A polarimeter: $1,000

In 2014, Fritz had to pay $1,000 for a polarimeter he already owned after he broke a contract. According to USA Today, Fritz agreed to sell the polarimeter for $300, plus shipping to Jerry Bruce of Greer, South Carolina. Fritz happily accepted the money, but he allegedly reneged when it came time to ship the part, which is when Bruce filed a $7,500 suit against the TV star. Fritz never showed up for his court date, and as a result, the judge ruled against him. But while Bruce didn't get the money he sought, he did get a nice $1,000 payout. Some of these Pickers seem to have a problem giving up products and money.

Photobooth and jukebox: a taxidermy elephant head, plus $1,000 in shipping

In one of their stranger transactions, the Pickers once traded a taxidermied elephant's head to get a photobooth and a jukebox from Jack White of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs in 2012. The bizarre trade occurred when White was trying to talk down the price of the head, which he was buying from them. In order to get the price he wanted, White threw in the photobooth and the jukebox, which Fritz and Wolfe coveted greatly. According to the Huffington Post, White is noted to have said during the deal, "I've never hunted—I don't think I ever could—but I really do love animals and I love the majesty of taxidermy." There's nothing more majestic than a severed head, is there?

A Lionel train set: $8,000

In the 2012 episode "Trainwreck," the Pickers paid and lost pretty big for a toy train. While picking their way through someone's mountainous old toy collection, Fritz found what he thought to be an original, unretouched Lionel Train set, comprised of four cars and an engine. He forked over $8,000 for the train and ran to auction with it. But lo and behold, they didn't get too big of a payout for the miniscule locomotive: the train sold for only $3,400 because their assistant never set a reserve for it. Whoops.

Five motorcycles: $62,000

In 2014, the pickers found themselves in Springfield, Massachusetts, haggling over the price of a motorcycle collection with brewery-owning brothers. Busy as they were with their enterprise, the sibling brewery owners had no time to restore the bikes, mostly Harleys and Indians, so they agreed to sell them to Fritz and Wolfe, hoping to use the money to upgrade their business. Fritz and Wolfe spent a combined $62,000 on the bikes—the most money they've ever been willing to part with. The brewery owners must have gotten them drunk before they made the deal. It's the only explanation.