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American Pickers TV Show

Posted 12/29/2010 08:07am by InstAppraisal
American Pickers TV Show image

I've watched American Pickers several times on TV.  While I enjoy watching most anything related to antiques and collecting (i.e. Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars, etc.) I just don't care for this show.  The odd duo often find a couple of items here and there that I find interesting to learn about, but the part of the show that irks me is my impression that they are always trying to take advantage of some bumbling old crotchety man who knows no better.

The show reminds me of the worst about collecting - the dynamics that one will often see, though usually in a milder form when going to or participating in a swap meet.  I guess these guys have an actual real business behind them and that they must turn a profit in order to keep the machinery going, but it just seems that they go about the art of the deal in a slimy way.  Again this is only my impression and perhaps you may feel otherwise.  I wouldn't be surprised if the tall skinny chap in the show would try to deal down his own grandma in order to get a better price; a real turnoff of the show for me.  Curious what other people think about these guys.

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Anonymous's picture
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I agree with you about this show.  I don't care for it either for the same reason.  While everyone is obviously in the business of antiques and collecting to make money and how much you make usually depends on how good you are at negotiating, there's just something not right with the way these guys go about things.  If you take another popular show, Pawn Stars, then you'll see plenty of negotiating going on, but they almost always call in an expert to share their opinion on valuation with the person who is the seller.  That's pretty definitely a more honest approach than how these guys work.

Lovejoy's picture
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Submitted by Lovejoy on

In a Pawn shop situation the agreements are laid out on paper, it's pretty much understood they are going to give you a third of Retail value, which is also about where most Dealers offers come in as well.

With Pickers you take your chances, they make a cash offer, which you either accept or refuse. They have no real legal requirements binding them, and it's doubtful one could be sued for knowingly purchasing an item for far less than its value and selling it for thousands as can be done with Dealers.

faithkeepers59's picture
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The show I hate to watch is storage wars,I've bought storages for years and I've never found anything worth 100,000 or 3000,the most I've found was items worth altogether 2,000,I paid 350.00 once for a storage and found nothing but nasty clothes,papers and old food,bought storages about 15 or more years,that show is fake! fake! fake!

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Submitted by Lovejoy on

I agree, unless an owner has died most lockers that are behind on their rent have already cleared out the good stuff. Most of it is what you find in the average basement.

rocklandman's picture
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 100% accurate, I usually go to storage auctions and the crowds after the show hit are increased by 300%, we would get about 5 -10 guys at an auction, but now its usually 30-40 its disgusting, A guy bought a unit with 3 newer suitcases and a old pc tower with monitor for $125.00!!!!  6 months ago it would have went for $20.00, never found anything worth 1000's like these guys portray, its all about the ratings. Thanks guys on TV for killing my livelihood.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I think that the American Pickers show is no different than how people who collect antiques, etc. actually operate.  In the antiques business everyone, even fellow antique dealers, try to "take advantage" of the other guy.  This business is really about knowing more than the other guy and turning your merchandise for some kind of profit.  It's not a game of marbles.  Those who study and learn the most about what something is and what it's worth can yield the most profitable results.  That's just how it is and I don't think there's anything wrong with it.  If you aren't 100% sure of how much something is worth then you shouldn't be selling it.  You always hear the story about the very rare painting bought at a garage for $1.00 that's resold for a million or more.  Such is life, and I don't think the American Picker guys are any more nefarious than anyone else out there who is a professional in the collecting world.  If you don't know what you're doing then you can get hurt, so the morale of the story is to either get your item professionally appraised or learn enough that you are 100% sure you know the value before you sell it.  Buyer beware...

Tina

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Submitted by ulrich on

My family watches and enjoys this show. That said, we are often disturbed by the occasionally overt swindling, but feel that overall they try to be fair while still running a business andd... let's not forget... making "good" TV. Often is seems like Mike and Frank are genuinely surprised by the profit they turn on specifically peculiar items, while they often still make 66 to 100% over what they paid. I am fond of the episode where Frank is adamant to buy the car that turns out to by a more than total loss. They are no better than anyone else and I find this show to be MUCH less obscene than what little I've been able to pallet of Pawn Stars. Now THAT's a hustle.

Joseph's picture
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Submitted by Joseph on

It's funny how we all see things differently.  I find the Pawn Stars guys more honest because if there's an item that has potential to be valuable then they always seem to call in an expert to share with them and the seller what the item is worth.  I've neve seen them try to pull the wool over someone - they call it like it is and if they don't know they find out.  The American Pickers guys might not always know what something is worth, but when they do they try to get things for a bargain and they definitely don't share with the seller what the item is worth.  That's my interpretation anyways.

- Joseph

Lovejoy's picture
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Submitted by Lovejoy on

These shows are all scripted, there is not much reality to them. Of the Picker's shows I've seen I don't know how they are making much of a profit based on what they purchase, they'd have to be sleeping in the van and siphoning gas.

Both Pawn Stars and Pickers also are not very realistic in the amount of times they have to "Call in an Expert", Experts don't work for free, and if you had to call them in that often you'd soon be out of business.

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Submitted by Joseph on

That's a good point about having to call in the experts to the point where it's not profitable.  I'm sure that the Pawn Stars experts do it for free in exchange for being on the show and the potential business that it can bring in for them.  I'm sure that's the case for most of the appraisers/restoration folks, especially the chap that does the Coke machine restorations; for the prices that he charges the Pawn Star folks there's no way that he's actually turning a profit so it's definitely for the free advertising.

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