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Mike Wolfe picks his way across the country for the love of junk

February 20, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Mike Wolfe of "American Pickers" will appear at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show this weekend.
Mike Wolfe of "American Pickers" will appear at the Los Angeles… (History Channel )

Mike Wolfe will tell you he's been a "picker" for just about forever.

"When I was 5, I had my first big score when I found a pile of old bicycles in my neighborhood on trash day," Wolfe of "American Pickers" TV show fame writes on his website. "And I was always bringing home old bottles and other random stuff. I never thought of it as junk: to me, it was beautiful."

Now the former competitive cyclist wants to encourage children to get into the act. "Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk Into Treasure," written by Wolfe and Lily Spengelmeyer, will hit bookstores in April. Before then, Wolfe will appear at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show at the L.A. Convention Center on Sunday to talk about picking and the business he runs called Antique Archaeology.

Wolfe is one of the guys who created and brought History Channel's "American Pickers" to the American consciousness. In the TV show, he and buddy Frank Fritz scour the country, foraging through barns and ranches full of junk for hidden gems they can resell for profit. And more than 5 million viewers tune in each week to watch what they find and haul away.

And he travels, a lot. Entrepreneur magazine in a profile on Wolfe dubbed him the "new American idol," noting he hits the road every two weeks to film the TV show. He's also dedicated to being a businessman who specializes in selling his antique finds and telling their history.

"I have the best job in the world. I get to travel the country, constantly meet new people, and, almost every day, I get to experience the magic feeling that comes when I pick something truly amazing," Wolfe writes.
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