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The Coca Cola Sign That Fetched An Eye-Popping Price On American Pickers

Season 23 of History's hit show "American Pickers" has seen the series undergo quite the change. Host and creator Mike Wolfe's popular co-host, Frank Fritz, was replaced by Wolfe's brother Robbie, much to the chagrin of some longtime fans. But the 10 episodes that have aired in 2022 have been otherwise familiar to viewers. Wolfe is keenly interested in old signs, and in Season 23, Episode 4, "The King of Signs," he meets his match in a Southern California jukebox repairman named Juan. 

Mike and Robbie visit Juan's home, and once behind his driveway gate, they are greeted by a treasure trove of signs stacked against fences and in makeshift storage buildings. Wolfe marvels, "It's almost like Juan has bought every sign out of Southern California for the last 30 years." Now facing pressure to clean up his property from both the city and his wife, Juan is ready to part with some of his treasures and quickly strikes several deals with the brothers at well over $1,000 per piece. 

One item that fetches even more than that is a large, metal Coca-Cola sign from the 1930s. But just how much did the Wolfe brothers pay for this rare and well-preserved bit of advertising history?

The Wolfe brothers paid nearly $3,000 for the rare soda fountain sign

Mike spots the vintage 1935 Coca-Cola sign leaning against a wall next to an 8-foot fiberglass Tyrannosaurus Rex. Juan leans against the dinosaur and suggests a price of $2,800 for the piece, and Mike quickly agrees. Juan, who wears a vintage shirt advertising the soda throughout the episode, admits that it is the first Coca-Cola sign he has been able to part with. "I don't like to sell any signs, [but] I can use the money now," he says. "I just close my eyes and let it go." The sign is in remarkable condition, with just a couple of small chips and no bent corners or edges or noticeable dents. Mike notes the rarity of the green and gold "Fountain Lunch" banner at the top of the sign which, like the red and white logo and slogan below, has barely faded in almost 100 years. 

The Wolfe brothers are full of respect for their fellow veteran picker throughout the episode, and as he and Robbie load the Coca-Cola sign and their many other finds into their van, Mike's voiceover notes that it was "an unfortunate situation that brought us together today. But working side by side with Juan today, and him knowing that we understand how important this stuff is, I think brought him some closure and hopefully got him a little closer to where he needs to be." The $2,800 they gave him for this one beautiful piece of advertising memorabilia will certainly help.