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TV's 'Pickers' planning Tennessee trip

Nathan Baker • May 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Calling all junk collectors and dirty, low-down dickerers — your royalty is enlisting your service.

Antique Americana dealers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the stars of History Channel’s “American Pickers,” are planning another trip through Tennessee in June and are looking for collectors and characters with interesting items.

The popular and pervasive show is in its 21st season and its ninth year. Hosts Wolfe and Fritz criss-cross the country as they quip and haggle, searching for “honey holes” of untouched “rusty gold,” what they call troves of antiques with resale value.

The show has been to Tennessee before — one of the duo’s Antique Archaeology stores is in Nashville — but they’ve picked the Northeast corner only once in 2010, when they combed through an automobile memorabilia collection in Bristol and bought a $2,500 millstone in Johnson County for actor William Shatner’s garden.

In their search for leads, the show’s coordinators are looking for the kind of collectors and collections that will make for captivating television viewing.

Anthony Rodriguez, a show representative trying to get the word out about the impending visit, said unique items with memorable histories are especially interesting to those who watch the show.

If the pair do visit our area, Jenna Moore, director of sales for Visit Johnson City at the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, said catching the attention of national audiences could be good exposure.

“Being featured on the show would give us some great national exposure at no cost to us, and it would give viewers a glimpse of Northeast Tennessee,” she said. “Once they see the mountains surrounding us, how could they not want to come visit?

“Hopefully, a mention on the show would put Johnson City on someone’s radar — they’d do a little research and then come see us!”

Those who think their collections might cut the rusty mustard may contact the show at 1-855-OLD-RUST (653-7878), or by email, [email protected]

Remember, Wolfe and Fritz only pick private collections, so no stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses or anything open to the public.