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The Untold Truth Of American Pickers | Chaostrophic
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The Untold Truth Of American Pickers I Am Bored

intro
The cast of American Pickers is known for finding treasure inside mountains of garbage. And that’s just what’s happened here: we’ve scrounged through the hidden lives of the pickers—as well as some of those from whom they’ve picked—and the best bits are presented here for your reading pleasure.

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Danielle Colby wears more than one hat

Ever the entrepreneur, American Pickers hottie Danielle Colby doesn’t limit herself to picking through junk looking for treasures. Before she gained fame on the History Channel hit series, she earned a living by working as a burlesque dancer, which she continues to do. But she doesn’t just dance. Her devotion to this art form is such that she’s also produced a documentary focusing on Tempest Storm, a legendary dancer with a decades-spanning career. For a time, she also owned a little boutique of her own, 4 Miles 2 Memphis, which was located not far from American Pickers headquarters Antique Archeology.

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She may also be a tax dodger

Perhaps because she has her hands in so many vocations, Colby’s had a habit of forgetting to give Uncle Sam his cut of the action. Back in 2013, the IRS informed Colby that she owed just under $6,000 in unpaid taxes from her shop 4 Miles 2 Memphis. And that was her first notice. Over the next couple of years, she received at least four more. By 2015, she reportedly hadn’t paid any of the money she owed, which continued to snowball. Let’s hope her other business ventures are squared away.

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They’ve been picking for a long time

The art of finding an item of value in a pile of junk isn’t something that can be learned overnight. It takes years of practice to hone those skills. And Mike Wolfe definitely has plenty of practice: his passion for junk started during his childhood, after he sold a bike he found for $5. From there, he began lurking in alleyways and derelict houses hoping to find anything worth a couple of bucks. He also made a habit of harassing farmers until they let him look through their barns for old bicycles, which he bought for $50 and sold for up to $5,000. Quite the racket.

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Mike Wolfe has authorial ambitions

Like with most vocations, there’s always the danger that it’ll become a lost art. Well, Mike Wolfe has already taken action to make sure that doesn’t happen to picking. First, Wolfe penned Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure, a children’s tome on how to do what he does. Also, he started a website with the same name, providing little pickers with a social media outlet and community to keep them all connected. Looks like Wolfe’s got quite the little empire brewing.

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Mike’s also humble

Despite all the fame Wolfe and company have gained since American Pickers captured American hearts, he doesn’t think they deserve it. (You have to wonder what his co-workers think about that.) According to Wolfe, the real stars are the eclectic characters, like Hobo Jack and Prince Mongo, who allow the pickers to root through their belongings in search of gold. Wolfe goes on to say that viewers remember the people, not what was bought from them, and sums it all up with, “it’s always been an honor that people open their homes and their hearts to us.” Quite the honor indeed.

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Hobo Jack is an author as well

World-renowned hobo and American Pickers regular (sort of), “Hobo Jack” Sophir isn’t any ordinary hobo. He’s published three books as of this writing, churning out the classic Amazing Adventures of the Tramp Prince among other tomes. In addition to his literary ambitions, Backwoods Jack, as he’s also known, fancies himself a musician. Playing guitar and piano by ear, Jack has released five albums. According to his website, since he handles the orders himself, it could take “weeks or months” for orders to be fulfilled. Get your copies now!

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Prince Mongo has political aspirations

Though he only appeared on the show once, Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges is quite unforgettable, as the residents of his hometown know all too well. The Memphis resident not only dwells within a crumbling castle, but he’s also run for mayor numerous times, mounting his first campaign in 1991. The King of Zambodia, which he calls himself despite only being a prince, also made a nuisance of himself when he attempted to give away the castle in which he resided. The only problem was that he didn’t own it. An actual king without a castle—how sad.

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People have tried to cash in on “Mole Man” Ron’s fame

“Mole Man” Ron appeared in one episode of American Pickers’ first season, during which the guys crawled throughout his subterranean lair hoping to find some goodies. The purple-hoodied Marty Feldman lookalike gained enough fame that someone else attempted to cash in on it. In June 2011, an ad was posted on Yard Sales Pittsburgh promoting a sale featuring items from the Mole Man’s burrow. Mole Man himself wasn’t listed as an attendee, but the ad did mention he’d be stopping by from time to time. It’s very possible that almost everyone who went to this sale “just missed him.”

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Frank Fritz may not be the most honest man

One of the criticisms of American Pickers is that they basically rip people off by buying things real cheap so they can sell them for a huge profit, and it didn’t help when Frank Fritz was sued for allegedly swindling a South Carolina man named Jerry Bruce. Bruce needed a polarimeter for a museum he wanted to open and offered to buy one from the pickers after he saw them purchase one on their show; Fritz, in turn, offered to sell it to him for $300 plus shipping. After Bruce sent his check, he never got his purchase, so he took Fritz to court, and Fritz wound up losing the case. Not the best boost for an image problem.

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They’ve franchised out, sort of

American Pickers has proven to be so popular that other countries have attempted to imitate it. Both Canada and Australia have their own versions, and the Canadian show lasted for four seasons—apparently there’s more to the Canucks than frozen tundra and hockey. The Aussie version, called Aussie Pickers, didn’t last as long, only two seasons. However, it received great reviews during the brief period it aired.

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