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American Pickers' Mike Wolfe Battles Regret In His Work More Than You Might Think

It's one thing to go antiquing for fun, but trying to make a career out of it is an entirely different beast. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the folks on "American Pickers" have managed to do, finding incredible success while televising their picking adventures. Beginning in January of 2010, the series has taken History viewers across the United States (except for these specific locations) to dig through garages, sheds, storage units, and more for potentially valuable lost pieces of history. Sometimes they unearth incredible stuff, sometimes they don't, but there's always a good time to be had regardless.

Next to Frank Fritz, who departed "American Pickers" in 2020, and Danielle Colby, Mike Wolfe is one of the faces of the program. Having hosted it since the very beginning, viewers at home have gotten to know Wolfe well throughout his decade-plus-run on the small screen. With seemingly endless optimism and a love for just about all things dilapidated and rusty, he clearly loves his line of work and the sense of adventure that it continues to bring. As it turns out, however, the life of a picker isn't all sunshine and rainbows for Wolfe, as it has a more disappointing side that some folks likely don't consider.

In reality, Mike Wolfe has a lot of regrets to wrestle with away from the bright lights of "American Pickers." Here's why his job makes him feel this way.

Wolfe regrets letting certain pieces go

At its core, "American Pickers" is primarily about one thing: money. What is an object worth? What would one have to pay to restore it? How rare is it? Questions like these whiz through the heads of Mike Wolfe and the rest of the team. After all, they're trying to sell their buys, not keep them — despite how much they want to. As Wolfe told StageRightSecrets, he wishes he could keep most of his finds and regrets letting some of them go. "I love it all. That's my problem. But that's also a good thing too because then you're able to buy more than just one thing. You're not pigeonholed on what you buy," he explained.

Wolfe is a businessman at the end of the day, so he sticks by this rule for the sake of his business, Antique Archaeology. Although, that doesn't mean he won't bend this rule from time to time by taking the odd find home with him. Still, he doesn't do this without some kind of caveat. If he wants to take a pick back to his personal collection, it must have a function. "If it's at home, it has to be practical," Wolfe told People Magazine in 2015 (via Antique Archaeology). He uses the example of a Victorian-era couch, which may look nice and have a fascinating history behind it, but if it's not comfortable, it's not worth lugging home.

So long as "American Pickers" is on the air, one has to imagine that Mike Wolfe will continue to, regrettably, let fascinating artifacts slip through his fingers. At the same time, you can rest assured he'll keep a few good ones for himself.