There are indeed so many reasons to go on vacation. Some travel to see the sights, some travel to just lay on some deserted beach soaking up the sun and drinking cold drinks and eating shrimp cocktail, and as much as can be ingested at that. And to that we say: all the power to those who travel for such reasons.
But there are a few who travel for other reasons altogether, but one in which we want to direct your attention to is traveling for the reason of discovering the long lost treasures of this earth. And no, this time we aren’t talking about the lost treasures of Egypt and King Tut’s Tomb, or the Dead Sea Scrolls, or even Noah’s Ark, which has been said to have been found in the mountains of Ararat.
The treasures we’re talking about here are those treasures that most of the world throws away. That’s right, that old beat up Chevy, or Uncle Ned’s old motorbike; maybe even some old posters. Most people throw this stuff away without a single thought.
Well, people like Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of the hit reality show, American Pickers, travel specifically across the States and at times the world in order to find the things that most throw away, and you won’t believe what they pay and eventually sell some of these amazing items at! We’re talking old tools, some pretty rare cars and bikes and even guitars played by famous musicians.
So join us as we take a drive down that dirt road and dig through the junk, you’ll never know what we can find.
33 ONE OF THE ORIGINAL YODA PROTOTYPES
The gentlemen also received a call from a woman who was in the possession of some original Yoda dolls.
As it turns out, they weren't Yoda dolls at all, but rather were the prototypes used for the prophetic creature in the Star Wars franchise of films.
Mike and Frank were on the scene in a hurry and they quickly appraised the dolls there. They made a call into the man who actually made the prototypes, Mario Chiodo, and after he told them that he always glazed the eyes over after finishing a particular prototype, the Pickers knew which doll to purchase, as the eyes of the particular one they were looking at were indeed glazed over.
They paid $6 250 for it, according to noteabley.com.
32 LAUREL AND HARDY MASKS - CALIFORNIA
Don't worry, you're not seeing the ancient comedic ghosts of Hollywood. It's Mike and Frank, and they're kidding around in only ways that they can. They're wearing some pretty rare masks that they picked up on their tour of California, looking for some pretty serious old time Hollywood memorabilia.
Their tour of California was indeed fruitful as the acquirement of these masks prove. The masks are now at Mike's store in Nashville, Antique Archaeology. Laurel and Hardy were a slapstick duo active from 1927 through to 1955.
31 LIONEL TRAIN SET
Although the Pickers get quite excited about real vehicles, if you've seen episodes, you'll know that Mike and Frank have also been known to get quite happy when they come across old toys.
And they have good reason to get giddy at the mention of old toys, especially when some Hot Wheels memorabilia and miniature die-cast items have been known to go for $140 000!
As it turns out, this particular train set wouldn't be that expensive nor worth nearly as much, but was still an epic find. He paid 8 Grand for it and could only sell it for about 3.5 according to noteabley.com.
30 THE INFAMOUS AEROSMITH VAN - CHESTERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
Aerosmith, the legendary rock group, has been together since that late sixties. Their first album, Aerosmith was released in 1973 and since then, they have been a dominant force in the world of rock music, having enjoyed much success and number one hits over the years.
But things were not always so glamorous for the band, as in their humble beginnings, the band once traveled in a tiny van, and yes, all 5 members and at times some friends were on board as well.
Well, after forty years, the Pickers found the van and it was still in Massachusetts, where the band initially got its start, and after 40 years!
29 CHET ATKINS GUITAR
Chet Atkins was known as "Mr. Guitar". We hope that tells you 1) that he was an authority in the world of music--particularly guitar music-- and 2) how much this find was worth, not only monetarily, but in overall historical worth as well.
Born in 1921, he wowed the world with his dominance of the fretboard and his music touched the masses and even inspired many greats that would follow.
The Pickers had found this guitar as well as some other equipment and had it in stock at their Nashville location. When Black Keys guitarist, Dan Auerbach heard about it, he just had to have it and paid 10 Grand for it, according to noteabley.com.
28 DENTIST'S MOLDING TOOL
Some of their picks have indeed been quite unsettling. After all, when these guys dig, they dig relatively deep. And when we say unsettling, we probably mean downright creepy.
Just take a look at this old molding tool used by dentists in another era. It looks more like a tool used to convince children to eat their veggies instead of a dentist's tool.
Yeah, I'm sure some parents would get a good laugh, but let's just see if the tables were turned, would the parents find it funny if kids all over the globe replaced the dentures in their bedside glasses of water with one of these tools in the dark of night?
27 ROYAL PIONEER
The interesting thing about vehicles to remember is that there are only so many produced. Especially for companies that are at the start of their time in business. They often try models out and make a few to see which ones the market will eat up and which they'll reject.
Well, in the case of Royal Pioneer, they never made it past that initial period, as they only constructed 500 of this model. Talk about rare!
Now this one sure beats the price of that table and chair set you found in New England, doesn't it?
As it turns out, the Pickers paid 55 Grand for this, but there is another that recently sold at auction for a whopping $92 000!
26 HOMER TATE'S "WOLF BOY"
Homer Tate has gone down as the artist of the macabre. If his work is looked back on, many will see that his fascination of all that was creepy and disturbing comes through in all the pieces he left behind, and he did leave quite a few behind after his passing.
According to antiquearcheology.com, he started creating his art rather late in life, creating pieces using the platforms of papier-mâché and others. He put together some odd pieces, much like the one pictured here, which has been named "Wolf Boy"--a rather appropriate name if you ask us.
The Pickers found him and other artifacts among some circus sideshow artifacts.
25 2 RARE NASH-HEALEYS - NORTH CAROLINA
Now as we've said, their finds are pretty much always fruitful. These guys know how to haggle and at the same time, they were blessed with eyes that could see quality from a mile away. That's why their pay-offs are often so extensive.
Case in point, not one but two Nash-Healeys!
They were found at an old AMC dealership in North Carolina and when they saw them they got a tad giddy, but who can blame them? They walked away paying about $46 000 dollars for both cars! These cars are not seen much, so they were a rare treat indeed.
24 RICK NIELSEN GUITAR - AN ACT OF KINDNESS
Cheap Trick, the rock band, formed way back in 1973. They established themselves as Rock legends and have contributed some excellent art to the world of rock music, stuff that still gets a lot of air time at local Rock stations in this day and age of millennials, step music, social media and well, you catch my point, I'm sure.
Rick Nielsen, the lead guitarist and backing vocalist is one of the big reasons the band are such legends and his guitar playing is undoubtedly why. Like Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Edge (U2) and others, he has written guitar music that complements the song and not his ego which is a big reason why he is appreciated by legions of fans of the genre.
The Pickers went out to his warehouse location and according to noteabley.com, they wanted one of his famous checkerboard guitars. He pretended to haggle with them, turning down all their offers, but in the end, he gave it to them for free!
23 JELLO CART - LOUISIANA
Nowadays, kids can run down to the local corner store for iced treats and sweets when they're playing outside on a hot day during the summer months, but back in the earlier portion of the 20th century, children relied heavily on the ice cream man and listened carefully for his chimes to carry across the wind to their little ears. Back then there was probably no sound that brought more joy to the hearts of little city kids.
Although this particular wagon wasn't an original ice cream wagon from the era, it was used in advertising by the Jello Corporation.
The Pickers found it and sold it back to the Jello Museum.
22 ZUNDAPP RS 7450 MOTORCYCLE - GERMANY
Most of the things that Mike and Frank find are indeed pieces of junk, literally ... at least to the untrained eye. But for these two men, looking for things of value amidst the heaps and heaps of junk they go through each time they go out picking, is not something they're just good at. It was something they were born to do, as they so often prove.
On a trip to Europe, the boys discovered this awesome motorcycle that at first didn't look like much.
They knew they had found something of value though, and after paying out $10 500 for it and paying an extra $1000 to have it shipped back to the states, they made a whopping $18 000 on it after restorations.
20 VON DUTCH MOTORBIKE - CURRENTLY ON DISPLAY ALTERNATELY AT THE NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM & MIKE'S ANTIQUE ARCHAEOLOGY NASHVILLE STORE
As far as motorbikes go, this one is a rarity indeed and a treat for any motorcycle enthusiast. And as we know Mike, he definitely is an aficionado of two wheeled monsters of the road. He has collected quite a great deal of them and has restored them, selling some, but also keeping some for himself.
What makes this particular bike quite rare is the fact that it was built using a combination of Volkswagen parts (bike parts are very rare from that company), and of course parts from the epic and renowned motorcycle company, Harley Davidson.
So we can understand Mike's willingness to spend $21 000 for this antique.
19 LAST SUPPER CIRCUS BANNER
Back in the day, the circus scene was the place to be for all that was zany and fun. Albeit, the internet has now taken the cake for those in search of the weird and the macabre, you can creep yourself out watching any number of YouTube videos on a dark night as you drink Red Bull and plan on skipping work the next day. But when the 20th century was at or just passed the midway point, the circus was indeed your source for the macabre and some of the weirdest things you've ever seen.
Signs would be posted in town ahead of the circus' appearance and citizens would gear up to see the bearded lady, the elephant man, or even the world's smallest dog. This particular poster was a rare find indeed and when he saw it, Mike decided he needed it.
17 HARLEY DAVIDSON AND INDIAN MOTORCYCLES - SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS
Few others out there can walk into an establishment and drop any amount of money required for 5 bikes, and not just any bikes, but motorcycles that have a rich history all their own.
But after making quite the name for themselves as collectors and dealers of the rarest antiques this world has to offer, they've also developed some pretty deep pockets.
Perhaps no other motorcycle companies carry the heft that Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles have carried on their shoulders over the long years that the companies have been producing motorbikes, and it was for this reason that Mike and Frank spent a whopping $62 000 when they came across 5 of these bikes at Paper City Brewing in Springfield, Massachusetts.
16 DODGE A100 HOT ROD
We know there are a lot of vehicles on this list (and there are still so many more you haven't seen yet), but it just so happens that vehicles are a definite hot commodity when it comes to antiques. And the older and the more rare they are, the more expensive they'll be at auction after restorations of course, and this model here was no doubt a lucrative investment.
Of course the acquisition of this doesn't come without a little humor involved, as is notable with the Pickers.
As it turns out, Mike wasn't able to test drive it, as he was too tall, so he had to trust Frank to let him know how well it drove. Good thing they trust each other. Regardless, it now sits in their collection.
15 AUBURN PHAETON (1935) - EPIC BARN FIND
The above picture is a rather accurate representation of what the car looked like after Mike and Frank restored it, but it sure didn't look like that when they found it, that's for sure. Covered in dust and a tired old shade of black was more like it.
The countryside in the beautiful United States is full of treasures, both hidden and out in the open. But within the barns that line the deserted roads, you'd be surprised at what is hidden beneath the clutter. Enter Mike and Frank. They found this classic car in a barn and dropped just over $26 000 for it. After restorations, the car is now worth a whopping $45 000, so it pays to sift through the clutter, eh?
14 VINCENT MOTORCYCLE
And staying with the whole vehicular theme, the boys also uncovered a pretty rare bike in the form of this old Vincent bike and the rarity of it is quite astounding, as there weren't that many of these bikes actually manufactured in the world. And the number that are left are obviously even lower than that, so this item was no doubt a rarity of epic proportions.
You wouldn't know it by the price he paid for it, though. He only spent 10 Grand for this bike and sold it for a $2000 dollar profit! It's definitely jarring, but what's even more of a shock is that Mike didn't keep this one for himself.
Looks like he had other bikes on his mind, as you'll soon read.
13 SHATNER'S MILLSTONE
Well, by Shatner, we mean none other than iconic cinematic legend, William Shatner. Yes, Captain T. Kirk himself of Star Trek fame and notoriety.
Well, when he's not starring in epic TV shows and films, he enjoys a quiet day in the garden, so it seems, because he actually approached the Pickers to find him something for his home garden space, specifically, a millstone.
A millstone is a grain grinder circa the earlier centuries of civilization. There were two placed together, a stationary piece and a movable piece, the grain placed between and the movable piece was turned thus grinding the grain.
As it turns out, the Pickers found one for good old William, but it actually cost a pretty penny, $2500 pennies to be exact. Maybe next time Captain Kirk can get a food processor at Walmart.
11 MERZ CYCLE CAR - EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Back in 1914 this car wasn't as expensive as some would think, only 450 bucks! Okay, okay, back then that was definitely a decent amount of money, but still, thinking of what cars go for in general, it seems like peanuts.
Believe it or not, Mike and Frank found this old boy sitting in someone's private garage and collection of old goodies. They paid $35 000 for it. Talk about inflation!
Just goes to show you how you can find the rarest of things hidden at the back of somebody's garage and go figure, they probably don't even know what they're sitting on. All those antiques passed down from your grandparents might be worth something, if you can part with them, that is.
10 SIDESHOW BANNERS - BUSHKILL PARK, EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA
The Pickers went to Bushkill Park in Easton, Pennsylvania just knowing that what they would find would be worth the trouble of the trip. How did they know? Well, because of their destination of course, an abandoned amusement park.
Now such a location can indeed be creepy, but not for these guys, as they went in with broad smiles and their hearts beating a mile a minute wondering at just what they'd uncover; just what had been left behind when the park was abandoned all those years ago?
Well, the trip was well worth it, as they found a bunch of sideshow banners worth anywhere from 5 to 6 Grand.
9 HARLEY DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD
Again, this brand of motorcycles needs to be mentioned, as they are definitely one of the big three out there in antique motorcycle fabrication (Harley Davidson, Triumph and Indian). In fact, they're one of the only ones left to our knowledge,if not the only one left.
In actuality, they are the only functioning brand, as Triumph is defunct and Indian only exists as a brand, so just to further prove the worth of this specific Harley here.
He heard of one on the market and quickly headed out to haggle. He got it for 20 Grand.
8 ELEPHANT'S HEAD
The White Stripes formed in 1997, 20 years after Aerosmith's first album, who we mentioned earlier and 20 years after the formation of Cheap Trick, also mentioned here. But the fact that they were so young compared to these other two bands, didn't change the fact that the influence of the classic rock and garage sound that reverberated from the latter two's music inspired this duo from Detroit so thoroughly. The duo is known for impressively aggressive and expertly played rock and they were only two people! A drummer (Meg White) and a guitar player, singer (Jack White).
One of their albums, Elephant, had many pictures of a fake elephant's head within the booklet sold with the record.
As it turns out, Mike and Frank got their hands on it as well as many other personal items of Jack White's and when he heard about it, he went to their location in Nashville and worked out a deal to get that stuff back.
7 FORTUNE TELLING GYPSY GRANDMA - LOUISIANA
If any of you ever watched that movie Big, with Tom Hanks, then this particular piece found by the Pickers will definitely take you down memory lane.
In the film, the main character, played by Hanks, drops a coin into one of these machines, only larger, and the figure inside was of a man and soothsayer rather than a gypsy woman. In the film the character was granted a wish by what looked like an arcade game or carnival game, and he wished to be older. His wish was granted and the fun only begins there. It was an epic film and we recommend it.
Well, while at a Louisiana warehouse, the Pickers found Gypsy Grandma over here and according to antiquearcheology.com, she was constructed in the 40's and 50's. Only she told fortunes and didn't grant any wishes. Good thing, or the Pickers would probably have wished for all the antiques they could carry.
6 OPTICAL ANTIQUES - FLORIDA
While scavenging in Florida, Mike and Frank came across some interesting items in a retired eye doctor's office. Included in the treasure trove of antiques were optical equipment from another era, glass eyes, old frames and even some lenses along with boxes full of other goodies.
The find was definitely an odd one, but it just went to show viewers that these men don't always look for what's in favor, as the oddities they find are just as popular as the "normal" stuff they find, if not more.
If they haven't placed these items yet, we're sure it won't be long. Interested? Go on down to Nashville and see for yourself. Pun totally intended.
5 "DOLLYWOOD" ACCESSORIES
Perhaps no voice and no face is more synonymous with the world of country music. Dolly Parton's voice and adorable personality won the hearts of many all over this world and her success is not only merited, it was to be expected. What else could she have done with that voice and musical talent?
Dollywood is the biggest tourist attraction in Tennessee, so if you're ever in Pigeon Forge, be sure to stop on by. Dolly still appears as well as members of her family, so it's well worth the trip.
While designing her new ride, FireChaser Express, Dolly actually hired the Pickers crew to find rare items to adorn the new ride, which they did.
4 ACE MOTORBIKE - FOUND IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
This entry is a pretty important one, as it was the most expensive find ever on the show. Actually it was the most expensive find either of them have been a part of. To watch the episode that this item is featured on is to watch a clinic on just how to haggle your way to getting exactly what you want, in terms of antiques that is.
And it should be no surprise to you that the item in question is a motorbike, and no not a Harley, not an Indian, but a bike that is so rare, it had the pickers spending way beyond their budget, all the while not batting an eye, because they above anyone else knew just what they were getting.
They found not one but three Ace Motorcycles (a rare brand indeed) as well as a few parts for nearly $100 000!
3 LEATHER LICENCE PLATE
A leather license plate is a rare item as well, as they don't make 'em like that anymore, that's for sure. But in the early portion of the 20th Century, they were pretty much a staple.
The specific plate that Mike purchased for 1 Grand was originally for an Oldsmobile and that fact got him a little more than excited to haggle. He proudly walked away with the item, despite having paid as much as he did.
Auto enthusiast Jay Leno also notable has an impressive leather license plate collection, as can be seen on his show, Jay Leno's Garage.
2 TETHER TOY CAR
As we mentioned earlier, toy cars can indeed go for a lot of money. There are notable Matchbox and Hot Wheels collections valued in the millions. In fact, the biggest collection is in fact 3.5 million dollars worth and counting. A single car--a 40th anniversary gold-plated issue--is worth $140 000.
This particular find is nowhere close to that, but rather special just the same.
Tether cars are from the 20's and 30's and they actually had real engines in them. The name "tether" actually comes from the fact that they were tied to a pole and because of the engine,they could go round and round.
Mike and the gang dropped just over a Grand on the miniature speed demon.
1 OLD SCHOOL BATMOBILE - CALIFORNIA
The iconic Batman television series is still a respected show, even by today's standards. The show was a classic and not only for fans of the superhero genre, but also for automotive enthusiasts like Mike and Frank.
They went out to see George Barris, who designed the custom Batmobile used by the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder in the TV show. They haggled and haggled, but couldn't get the car. That's right, this one here is the item that got away. But fret not, the boys had fun regardless and they did get to sit in the car!
George Barris passed on in 2015 and the car went up for auction, selling for an astronomical sum!
Sources: antiquearcheology.com; wikipedia.org; noteabley.com