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The Eye-Popping Offer American Pickers Made For A Rare British Motorcycle

In the often dogged realm of reality television, you might be hard pressed to find one quite as well-loved as the History docu-series "American Pickers." You'd be equally troubled to find one that's been around for quite as long. After all, the series debuted way back in 2010, and it has since aired a whopping 23 seasons of antiquing insanity over the ensuing decade-plus (via IMDb). It's also become a bit of a cultural phenomenon that's done something even series creator Mike Wolfe likely couldn't have anticipated; the show has made antiquing cool.

The ever-enthusiastic host of "American Pickers" has made great sport of digging up long-lost treasures from the basements, backyards, and barns of fellow collectors from all over the country. Over the years, some of the biggest treasures Mike and his various cohorts have picked have come in the guise of classic cars and motorcycles, which are typically uncovered tucked away in overstuffed garages. By big, we're referring both to the actual size of such items, and the often massive sums of money Mike and company are willing to pay for them. This includes the eye-popping sum the "American Pickers" team once offered a man for a truly rare breed of motorcycle that was wasting away in a UK garage.    

The American Pickers gang was prepared to shell out a small fortune for an extremely rare British motorcycle

On rare occasions, the "American Pickers" team travels well beyond U.S. borders in search of artifacts worthy of the famed Antique Archaeology storefront. In Season 10, Episode 4 ("London Calling"), Mike Wolfe and co-star Frank Fritz cross the Atlantic to hunt for treasure in England. The hunt eventually leads them to the door of a long-time collector whose home and garage are all but overrun by former museum paraphernalia.

At the mention of said garage, Mike's eyes literally light up with variously imagined possibilities. Once he and Frank start digging, they uncover a legitimate treasure tucked away inside. This time, the duo's find is an incredibly rare motorcycle called a Turner By-Van. According to historywebsite.co.uk, the By-Van was produced in the late-1940s by the Turner Manufacturing Company as a sort of lightweight delivery vehicle. As the bike's owner notes, it seems the company only made four of them, making his as rare as a potential pick comes.

This fact is not lost on Mike, who promptly offers the owner a whopping 25,000 GBP (Pound Sterling) for the bike, which, according to travelex.co.uk, is approximately $30,000 U.S. dollars by today's conversion rates. Unfortunately for the "American Pickers" team, the owner can't dream of parting with his beloved By-Van, so Mike and Frank are forced to walk away empty-handed. Still, they're clearly happy enough just to have laid eyes on such an unusual two-wheeled treat.