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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • American Pickers look through M.T. Liggett's loot

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  • Sooner, or later, everybody discovers the whirly-gigs of M.T. Liggett in and around Mullinville. American Pickers is no exception.
    Thanks to the help of some local folks, American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz came to Mullinville to do a little picking and record a segment for their television show which airs on the History channel.
    A lifelong American picker, Mike Wolfe has been combing through junk since the age of four.
    Over the years, 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, Wolfe sees potential goldmines packed with rare finds and sensational stories.
    Wolfe spends as much time as he can on the road, usually with Frank Fritz – his friend of 20 years and picking partner–in tow.
    "A picker's kind of like a nomad," he explains.
    Wherever they go, the two guys unearth hoards of unique items and spend some quality time with the offbeat characters that own them.
    What exactly does Wolfe look for? "Anything I can make a buck on," he laughs.
    That could be anything from antique baby carriages and vintage jukeboxes to old cars and scrap metal.
    Wolfe's clients include interior designers, art directors, photographers and collectors. He also owns Antique Archaeology, a specialty shop that sells antiques, vintage items and folk art in sleepy Le Claire, Iowa.
    As Wolfe sees it, pickers do all the dirty work but dealers and collectors get all the credit. But that doesn't mean he's any less passionate about his chosen field.
    "I love to find stuff," he says simply.
    Like his buddy Wolfe, Frank Fritz started picking early; collecting rocks and beer cans as a kid.
    He worked for many years as a fire and safety inspector but always had a passion for antiques and junk.
    These days, he spends all his time on the road with Wolfe, digging for treasure in barns, garages and junkyards across America.
    Even-tempered and affable, he has a way with potential sellers and a knack for putting out fires: Wolfe calls him the bearded charmer.
    Fritz does get a little carried away, however, by anything with an engine, and Wolfe often has to talk him out of buying yet another motorbike for his collection.
    With their complementary personalities and shared love of picking, Fritz and Wolfe make the perfect team.
    Still, since they're both out to cash in on their finds, some healthy competition always comes into play.
    Page 2 of 2 - The only thing missing was Danielle Colby Cushman.
    While the guys are out picking, Cushman holds down the fort at Antique Archaeology, Wolfe's store and base of operations.
    She spends her time talking to buyers, packing up shipments and keeping Wolfe and Fritz in line, while they keep her in stitches with their antics and jokes. Wolfe likes to say she's the glue that holds them all together.

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