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A lifelong American picker, Mike Wolfe has been combing through junk since the age of four and he's earned a reputation as one of the country's foremost foragers, traveling coast to coast in search of forgotten treasures. Where other people see dilapidated barns and overgrown yards, Mike sees potential gold mines packed with rare finds and sensational stories. And in the last three years, he's turned that rusty gold into a television phenomenon with his "American Pickers," History's runaway hit, one of the top three shows on all of cable TV and the series that started a whole new programming genre, "artifactual entertainment."
He also owns Antique Archaeology, the specialty shop selling antiques, vintage items and folk art that is itself a character in "American Pickers" and has put sleepy Le Claire, Iowa on the map. Its sister store in Nashville opened last year and is now a destination for shoppers, designers, tourists and music producers in search of the perfect backdrop for new videos.
In the fall of 2011, Mike (with series co-stars Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby and writer Libby Callaway) wrote American Pickers' Guide to Picking (Hyperion). Seeing it become a hit with his vast audience gave Mike the impetus to bring his dream project to life, and his next book, Kid Pickers, will be published by Macmillan in the spring of 2013. Its website, KidPickers.com, was just launched this spring, and it not only sets the stage for the new book, it brings picking to the lives of kids everywhere and allows them to "show and tell" their adventures and treasures via social media. With Kid Pickers, Mike brings his life full circle, from where he began as a child himself to spreading the joy and adventure to the next generation of pickers.
Though he now oversees an expanding entrepreneurial empire including retail stores, books, design and manufacturing businesses, websites, TV development and even music, Mike still spends as much time as he can on the road.
"A picker's kind of like a nomad. Wherever he goes, he unearths hoards of unique items and spends some quality time with the offbeat characters who collected them." And what exactly does he look for? That hasn't changed: "Anything I can make a buck on."