Mike and Frank of the History Channel’s “American Pickers” ascended on the tiny northwestern Minnesota town of Climax, population 267 as of the 2010 census, in early November 2017 to “pick” John Vraa’s curious collection of “junk.”
The episode, which aired May 21, 2018, was titled “Snow Job,” because the famed picking duo first “faced the frost to uncover a rare pair of trucks on farmer Jim’s spread,” according to a description of the episode.
Mike and Frank that November also visited Elmer Rolloff and his son, Scott, in New Ulm, Minn., on a “rescue mission to help save the remains of a carnival business from Mother Nature,” reads a description of the May 14, 2018, episode, “Space Ranger.”
Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and their crew are returning to Minnesota in October to film episodes for the hit series, and they are looking for leads on large and unique private antique collections to pick.
Perhaps, this time, they will pick an Iron Range location.
The show, now in its 20th season, follows Wolfe and Fritz as they travel the back roads of America, on a mission to meet characters and find “rusty gold” to buy, recycle, re-use and resell.
“Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items,” according to a press release. The duo is interested in finding “extraordinary items and hearing fascinating tales about them.”
They do not pick at retail shops, flea markets, stores, museums, auctions or any businesses open to the public.
Wolfe is owner of Antique Archaeology, which has stores in LeClaire, Iowa, and Nashville, Tenn.
Some of the items the Pickers look for include: Motor scooters and motorcycles; early furniture; radios (transistor/table top); old toys (windup, tin, cast iron); fishing lures and reels; vending machines (soda/candy/gumball); oil bottles and cans; pinball machines; old movie posters; musical instruments; early game boards; advertising items; Airstream trailers; taxidermy animals; early mouse traps; early Boy Scout memorabilia; bicycles; cap guns; old bowls; chairs; cast iron; pottery; pedal cars; wagons; doorstops; shell boxes; decoys.
They also seek: Old signs; toy boats; rugs; lamps; clocks; jugs and crocks; trunks; oil paintings; wagon wheels; old dolls; telephones; graniteware; old bottles; juke boxes; folk art; license plates; BB guns; pedal tractors; photographs; military items; wood carvings; early Halloween and Christmas items; and windmill weights.
Vraa said in a Nov. 26, 2017, Grand Forks Herald story that Wolfe and Fritz “were very generous with their offers and very nice about things. … They kind of wing it, so I had no idea what they were going to grab or talk about or what kind of offer they’d make. And that really is real.”
The farmer and rural mail carrier’s brother, Paul Vraa, had contacted the show about Vraa’s collection of “stuff” housed in a two-story workshop, two homes, several outbuildings, grain bins and a huge machine shed, according to the story.
During another “day-long” visit in New Ulm, Wolfe and Fritz picked from the collection of timeworn kiddy rides Rolloff once set up at town festivals, corporate picnics and events in the area, according to a May 12, 2018, story in New Ulm’s The Journal.
Rolloff said in the article that the show had been contacted by his son, Scott, after learning the Pickers were looking for collections in Minnesota.
So, if you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, this is your chance.
Send your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-OLD-RUST; Facebook: @GotAPick.