Saturday, August 10, 2013


AMERICAN PICKERS,which airs Monday nights on History, is one my favorite current television shows. Judy and I have enjoyed watching the adventures of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz since day one. I have season one on DVD and I read AMERICAN PICKERS GUIDE TO PICKING a while back.

Until this program came on, I had never heard of the term "picker". I wasn't sure what to expect going into that first episode a few years ago, but I was instantly captivated by Mike and Frank and their picking adventures across the country. They're naturally funny guys who know their stuff. I always learn something while watching an episode and I never fail to say "that's cool!" about some treasure they find.

I'm not into motorcycles and cars as much as they are but I do love old toys, movie posters and comic books (all of which they've found and purchased on the show). One episode found them buying a copy of AMAZING FANTASY #15 which featured the origin and first comic book appearance of Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. By the way, I also own an original copy of that comic book.

Judy and I have often fantasized about hitting the road like Mike and Frank and doing some "free-styling" picking. Of course, we've never done it. We do hit the City Wide Garage Sale on a fairly regular basis and we've had some pretty good adventures in antique stores, flea markets and vintage/thrift stores around the area over the years. We've found some pretty good treasures over the years but unlike Mike and Frank, I don't buy stuff to sell. I buy stuff to keep.

Still, it's an enormously appealing and entertaining show. You never know what the guys are going to find next and sometimes what they find really blows my mind.

Like the recent episode where they found and bought six original pieces of art by Bruce Minney for $3,100. The pieces were later appraised at a value of over $5,000. Who's Bruce Minney you ask?

Bruce Minney was one of the greatest cover (and interior) artists for the men's adventure magazines (or "men's sweat" mags) of the 1950s, '60s and '70s. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've seen my posts of these mags, some of which I own. I dearly love this sub-genre of publishing and I was thrilled to see Mike and Frank find those pieces of Minney art. I knew what they were the second I saw them. Mike and Frank had some knowledge of what they were looking at but this was an area of pop culture that they weren't experts in. They were smart enough to recognize good stuff when they saw it and they negotiated a good deal and walked away the proud owners of some fantastic artwork.

I'm sure the Minney pieces have since been sold to hard-core men's adventure magazine collectors who were ready, willing and able to pay top dollar for the art. That's great. The art is now in the hands of people who truly appreciate, admire and respect what they have. The story has a happy ending.

This is the kind of find that all collectors dream of making. An undiscovered cache of some treasure (mags, posters, toys, art, etc,.), that you love is sitting in a warehouse somewhere just waiting for you to find it. Get out there and start looking for your personal "honey hole". You never know what you'll find. 

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