American Pickers is one of a cluster of programmes that follow a recent television trend. The best way of describing these programme would be Mantique, Mantiques are basically antiques and vintage items with man appeal. This is quite America specific but good examples of mantiques include pin ball machines, guns, old signage, anything car or motorbike related, and anything slightly rusty round the edges! Other mantique programmes include Storage Wars, Pawn Stars and Auction Hunters which are basically about any old tat but feature mantiques heavily.
The king of its genre to me would have to be American Pickers. The series follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they search the back roads of America for what they refer to as ‘rusty gold’. Basically they drive around in their van looking for the houses of hoarders, searching through the hoarders ‘collections’ until they find that one amazing thing for their shop Antique archaeology. It’s worth noting that American hoarders aren’t quite the same as English ones, this is because the kind of hoarders Mike and Frank visit have barns, sheds, trailers and massive amounts of land to fill with what appears to be mostly scrap metal!
The programme is brilliant on so many levels, firstly you have the friendship and constant banter between Mike, Frank and Danielle who works in the shop. Then you get to see some really interesting parts of America and it gives you a whole different impression of the country. There are also the people who Make and Frank go to pick from, these people are real characters with amazing stories to tell. But the best part is some of the amazing things they pick up. I love old things and I think I would do just about anything to do their job sometimes. I love the moments when they pull something really amazing out of a pile of old junk.
Mike and Frank have an amazing knowledge of antiques and collectables, which makes the programme so much more interesting. A highlight for me is Mikes passion for vintage bicycles check out the video below for one of my favourites.
If you like old stuff, especially searching for it like me, then this is the programme for you. WARNING: This programme may give you the urge to fill your house with rusty gold. This urge must be resisted as with mantiques less is more!
Find out more about American pickers on the History Channel Website