One of the most successful TV shows right now is American Pickers. It has been on the air for almost 10 years and helped the History Channel receive some of its highest ratings. The show basically focuses on two guys, going around the country picking antiques. They go through attics, basements, garages, and even storage sheds to find anything from that past.
The show followed Mike and Frank as they travel throughout the country, buying antiques from people’s private collections. What’s so fun about watching the show is that you never know what treasures you might find. The show is full of peculiarities, but I’m not only referring to the artifacts. The show also has its secrets you never knew about the cast and crew of this hugely successful series. Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes? Here’s the truth about American Pickers.
Frank recently left the show – his last episode aired in March 2020, and the show went on without him. His leaving was a mystery for a while, but only recently did we learn that he left due to “a little back surgery” and then “the pandemic came.” Frank Fritz says he hasn’t spoken to Mike in two years: ‘That’s just how it is.’
Either way, he and Mike made a real impact on viewers during their time together. Let’s take a look…
They Don’t Always Play Fair
Mike and Frank, the show’s main guys, seem like fair businessmen. They never really want to seem like they’re giving someone a bad deal or taking advantage of their naiveté.
But things aren’t always what they seem, right? Apparently, it’s typical for the crew to agree on a price with the guest, and Mike and Frank start to haggle them down once the cameras start rolling. But that’s made for TV drama, I guess.
The producers are really the Pickers: It looks like Mike and Frank are running the whole operation, but in reality, the producers are the ones who scout out locations and negotiate deals.
People who have worked with American Pickers claimed that the producers actually work out prices with the guests ahead of time. They agree on a price and then tell the seller to ask for more money so they can capture all the negotiations (the interesting part) on camera.
Frank Dealt With Some Legal Issues
There was a point when Frank got caught in some legal trouble over an old piece of farm equipment. Jerry Bruce of Greenville, South Carolina, saw a polarimeter during an episode.
He wanted to buy it, and he and Frank agreed on a price of $300. Bruce paid for the antique, but he never actually received it. It turns out that Frank never cashed his check, but it was enough for Bruce to take him to court and win, too.
Danielle’s Burlesque Career Created a Scandal: Danielle is the team’s right-hand lady, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have her own side hustle. Before and during the filming of the show, Danielle had a career as a burlesque dancer.
She owns her own burlesque boutique called 4 Miles 2 Memphis. You could say that burlesque is a vintage art form, so it kinds goes nicely with antique picking….in a way.
Big-Ticket Items Are Planted
Staging is a real issue for almost all reality shows. Many people have claimed that ‘American Pickers’ places big-ticket items in their guests’ homes, garages, and storage units to make everything just a little more interesting.
Is it true? Well, people who had firsthand experience with the show confirm these claims.
Hobo Jack is a Successful author: Hobo Jack is a recurring guest on the show, and he’s quite a fan favorite. Did you know that he’s an author who published multiple successful books? He also released several albums that are available to buy on his website.
Mike has written some books too, but Hobo Jack got most of the attention. At least Mike gets to be a star on a TV show.
Danielle’s Tax Problems Were an Issue
Danielle makes a pretty penny from her work on the show and as a business owner, but she “forgot” to give the government their share of her earnings (in other words, taxes). Lady, we all have to pay taxes. In 2013, she received her first notice of overdue taxes. According to the IRS, she owed them almost $6,000.
Mole Man was exploited: Fans of the show will remember Mole Man. He only appeared in one episode, but he became an instant fan favorite.
Someone decided to jump on Mole Man’s success and use his name to sell a few antiques. They advertised a sale that would include multiple authentic Mole Man items, including autographs, antiques, and more. But the thing is Mole Man had nothing to do with the event.
Frank Isn’t Much of an Antique Enthusiast
Mike Wolfe is committed to the picking lifestyle as he eats, sleeps and breathes antiques. But Frank? Well, he just isn’t as interested as Mike is.
He wasn’t a professional picker before the show. He is indeed a collector, but he cares more about the money than the journey.
The show might end soon: A lot of people who got to meet the American Pickers team said that Mike and Frank weren’t so friendly with each other. Their mutual dislike for one another might cause the show to end.
Mike confirmed in an interview with an Iowa news station that the show might be coming to an end. He also said that he would like to spend more time with his family.
Fan Theories About Their Relationship
While it should be noted that these are just rumors, some fans have theorized that Mike and Frank are in a romantic relationship. Whereas Mike is married and he’s spoken about his wife many times on the show, Frank is quiet about his personal life.
But the two are not romantically involved, even if it seems like they have great chemistry on-screen.
Their net worth: The guys may give off an “everyman” vibe, but they’re actually quite wealthy. Mike is the wealthiest of the crew by a significant amount. He has multiple investments outside of the program, and he’s gotten really good at the whole antique selling thing.
As for their paychecks, both Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz receive $500,000 each season.
American Pickers is a reality show, so that means there’s going to be a bit of acting involved. Many of the driving scenes are staged. There are times when they don’t even get to their filming locations.
It’s B-roll footage made to set up the story. The banter isn’t scripted per se, but it’s not natural either.
Mike’s a long-time picker: Mike Wolfe is good at picking due to years of practice. His passion for junk started when he was a kid when he found an old bike and sold it for $5. Then he started to look for more bicycles, and the hobby began.
For instance, he bought a bike from a farmer for $50 and sold it for $5,000.
Mike’s an Ambassador for Operation Smile
Mike’s daughter Charlie was born with a cleft lip and palate, which is a birth defect that didn’t allow her mouth area to join together properly.
Charlie received amazing medical care, and luckily, Mike was able to pay for her surgery. Mike decided to become an ambassador for Operation Smile, which is an organization that provides free surgeries to children around the world who are afflicted with the same condition as his daughter.
The show has a theme song: Jared Gutstadt already created a theme song for History Channel’s show ‘Pawn Stars’ called ‘Jingle Punks.’ He was asked to put a song together for ‘American Pickers’ that would “sound like The Band meets The White Stripes meets seventies-era Rolling Stones.”
The melody that he ended up coming up with features part of a song by the band Reckless Sons.
Mike’s Looking To Branch Out
Mike doesn’t only invest in property and corporations; he is an entrepreneur in his own right. He opened a second location of his retail store, Antique Archaeology. He also launched his own fashion brand, and even pitched a scripted sitcom to TV networks that were to be “a workplace comedy set in an antiques and collectibles shop.”
Apparently, CBS bought the pilot, but I doubt it’s going to be made anytime soon.
Not only Americans are pickers: The show has become so popular that other countries tried to make their own versions. Both Canada and Australia have their own versions of the show. The Canadian one lasted for four seasons. Aussie Pickers didn’t last as long, though.
The show also airs in Spain, Israel, Romania, and the UK.
Much of the drama in this show comes from Mike and Frank arguing with the guests about pricing, but not many of the prices are even debatable. The producers determine the prices before shooting, letting the buyers and sellers make a deal with Mike and Frank.
And most of the time, the deals favor the pickers.
So is it real or fake: It’s pretty safe to say that a lot of the show is fake. You kind of need to be skeptical when you’re watching reality TV, but does that really matter?
Even if the scenes are staged and the items planted, there’s no faking the history of some of these items. At the end of the day, it’s really all about the antiques.
Mike was worried about something in particular. Maybe not worried, but concerned that kids wouldn’t want to follow in his footsteps and pick, refurbish, and sell things. So he came up with a clever idea.
He decided to write a book called Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk into Treasure. It sounds like a smart idea!
Mike and Danielle are friends: Mike and Danielle are longtime friends. They didn’t just get together for the show, which makes it an even better story.
“I was looking at a lamp and picked it up and put it down to see how much money I had,” Danielle said. “Mike scooped it up behind me. He said, ‘The time to buy it is when you see it.’”
Mike and Frank are usually clever buyers most of the time. When it comes to finding heirlooms and collectibles, they typically only spend around $25 and can get up to $60.
But that number went up substantially in 2017. The duo bought their most expensive item yet: a $90,000 1930 motorcycle.
A new target audience: There are people that watch a show because they know exactly what they’re going to get. Producers and continuously give them what they want, appealing to the target audience.
But one time, Frank and Mike reached out to others when they bought the original Yoda prototype which Mario Chiodo made. They paid $6,250 for it.
Dolly: American Pickers gained a lot of attention, and not just from viewers. Celebrities began to watch the show, which included the likes of Dolly Parton.
Parton contacted the Pickers for them to come and buy some of her stuff. And she and Danielle even became friends.
Frank Got an OWI
Frank Fritz is an auto enthusiast. But he lost his license after an incident on July 2017. He was driving his truck the wrong way on Interstate 80, in Iowa, when he was pulled over by the police.
They found alcohol and Xanax in his system. He later pled guilty for an OWI, Operating While Intoxicated. The good news is no one was hurt, and Frank signed up for a substance evaluation program, apart from probation and court fees.
Danielle’s other passion: One of Danielle Colby’s favorite things to do is look for vintage costumes that were worn by dancers and actresses in the 1800s. It’s extremely niche, making any of those finds a true treasure.
Colby has found “a very rare costume from Lillie Langtry of the 1890’s” as well as “an original early Mata Hari stage costume from 1920-20 and a banana skirt believed to have belonged to Josephine Baker.
In season 19, the crew came across a piece of rock and roll history in the forest of Massachusetts. The team connected with a man who found a van that once belonged to the band Aerosmith in their early touring days. Guitarist Ray Tabano, one of the founding band members, confirmed that the 1964 International Harvester Metro van was indeed authentic. They used it to tour in the 1970s. The owner of the van is a man named Phil, who sold the van to American Pickers for $25,000.
Chet Atkin’s guitar: Another piece of music history was seen when they got their hands on a guitar that belonged to one of the greatest country guitarists of all time, Chet Atkins. His guitar made it into Mike and Frank’s shop. Black Keys’ guitarist Dan Auerbach had his eyes on it. Auerbach paid $9,500 for the 1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 guitar. Basing the shop and searches in the Nashville area gives the pickers a good chance of finding music history in their own backyard.
Before License Plates Existed
Part of the journey of finding antiques is uncovering and revisiting history. Frank and Mike met Toney Thomas, a car enthusiast who had more than a couple of antiques that they wanted to get their hands on. Thomas, a Michigan resident, showed them a pioneer license plate from 1908, which was made of leather. Before vehicles had issued license plates made of metal, car owners were given a number and simply told to make it visible on their vehicle. An owner of an Oldsmobile created a plate from leather. The pickers paid $1,000 for this unique find.
Balloons the Clown: What do you do when someone called “Balloons the Clown” calls you to take you on a tour of an abandoned amusement park? Sure, you might run away from the phone. But if you’re a picker, you go. Mike and Frank went with Neal Fehnel to an abandoned amusement park he purchased in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Bushkill Park was open from 1902 until 2004, and it had the oldest fun houses in America. Fehnel bought the park and tried to keep it operating. The pickers bought an old slideshow banner for $5,000.
1939 Tether Model Car
In the 20s and 30s, Americans were slowly beginning to buy cars and were fascinated with the automobile in general. It was a time when people bought tether model cars, small model racing cars which were powered by mini internal combustion engines and tied to a tether. You would use a remote, and the car could reach up to 150 miles per hour. Mike paid $1,100 for the model car, which is a great find for any auto enthusiast.
The Vespa Dealer Sign: First made in Italy in 1946, Vespa scooters reached America around the same time. It was a cheaper mode of transportation in post-WWII. Vespas were also romanticized in the movie ‘Roman Holiday,’ showing Audrey Hepburn riding one through Rome. And John Wayne rode one around the sets of Hollywood. When in Florida, Mike came across a vintage Vespa dealers sign from the 1980s. Mike is a fan of Vespa and picked it up for $450.
1910 Royal Pioneer Motorcycle
Motorcycles used to look very different than they do today. Mike found a Royal Pioneer motorcycle from 1910. The manufacturer only released a limited number of these models, due to a massive fire that took out their business. Mike found one of the 500 that were made and agreed to pay $55,000 for the model, which was considered luxury at that time.
William Shatner asked for a favor: When William Shatner asks you for a favor, you answer. The actor wanted something very specific for his garden. What Shatner wanted was a historic milestone, which is a rock that was smoothed down and shaped into a circle. Its purpose was for grinding grain. The Pickers were able to locate a millstone, but the owner wasn’t going to sell it for cheap. They had to pay $2,500 for the stone, which the owner said could sell for at least $3,500.
A Jell-O Wagon
Jell-O has a long history in America and was once “America’s Most Famous Dessert.” Nearly every home in the country had Jell-O in their pantry in the ’50s. The brand used plenty of advertising campaigns to sell their product. The Pickers found and purchased an original Jell-O wagon for $6,500 which Danielle saw in a barn in Louisiana. The Pickers then sold it to a museum in Le Roy, New York.
Three Ace Motorcycles: Mike and Frank were definitely game for purchasing rare Ace motorcycles, even if it was going to cost them. While in the Pacific Northwest, the two met up with a car collector and found three Ace motorcycles. Ace Motor Corporation made motorcycles from 1919 until 1927. Very few of the luxury four-cylinder motorcycles are still around. The Pickers paid $90,000 for three, which is one of their biggest purchases to date.
Handmade Wood Model T
It’s rare enough to come across a Model T, but have you ever seen a wooden one? This man was in possession of a Model T car that used to belong to his father. He was clearly a skilled craftsman who hand-whittled the wood to customize the car. The car was so beautiful that the crew all agreed that it belongs in a museum, rather than a garage. So they helped get his father’s Model T into a museum.
1954 Nash-Healey Model: It’s always fun to come across a rare vehicle from a now obsolete automaker. The Pickers went to an old AMC dealership in North Carolina and came across two Nash-Healey model cars from 1954. Nash Motors was a part of American Motors from 1954 to 1957 and partnered with British sports car manufacturer Donald Healey to make this specific model. Only 506 of them were created, and the Pickers purchased two for a total of $46,000.
$12,000 for a Cyclecar
The Cyclecar was made in the 1910s and 1920s as an affordable vehicle. It holds an important place in history, but it was phased out when economic cars began to hit the market. The Pickers found this Cyclecar, made in London by the St Mark’s Engineering Co. It was built with a 1169cc Henderson engine. They bought this piece of history for $12,000.
Zundapp RS 7450 Motorcycle and Sidecar: On to Europe, Mike and Frank found a vehicle right out of World War II. The German-designed Zundapp RS 750 may look like a piece of junk, but it surely is a relic from another time. The bike and sidecar cost the duo $10,500, but they made their return. After paying $1,000 to ship it over to America, the Pickers made a nice profit off. They flipped it over to a vintage motorcycle shop in Georgia for $18,000.
Lionel Train Set – $8,000
Mike and Fritz don’t always come out on top. In season 7, Fritz thought that he came across an original Lionel Train set in perfect condition. He even shelled out $8,000 for it. But when the boys took it to an auction with the hope to flip it for a good price, they discovered that the train had replacement parts. They were only able to sell it for $3,400.
An elephant head-$9,500: After opening a location in Nashville, Tennessee, the Pickers did a little business with one of Nashville’s most famed residents: Jack White You know Jack from his former group The White Stripes, where he recorded an album called Elephant. The Pickers sold Jack White a taxidermy elephant head for $6,000 aside from another $6,000 worth of White’s personal antiques. They bought the head for $9,500.
1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 – $26,500
Although the Auburn Phaeton 653 didn’t look so hot when they bought it, it’s still a valuable car. The duo bought the car for $26,500. Mike and Fritz then paid another $1,000 to ship it and another $10,000 to repair it. The car is valued at $45,000, which means they got a $7,500 deal on it after everything.
Motorcycle Collection: Mike and Frank were in New England when they decided to make a stop at Paper City Brewing in Springfield, Massachusetts. Jay Hebert, one of the co-owners of the brewery, had a huge collection of motorcycles that the Pickers wanted to look through. They eventually found five that they loved, some Harley-Davidsons and some Indian bikes, which were produced in Springfield. They paid $62,000 for the vintage collection. The Heberts used their profits to improve their brewery.
Dodge A 100 Hot Rod Truck – $12,500
Sometimes the coolest vehicles Mike and Frank find are not suitable for either of them. When they found a bright orange Dodge A100 Hot Rod truck, Mike sat out on the test drive. Because of the low roof, only the smaller Frank could sit in the driver’s seat. The truck was sitting in a collector’s garage, and the pickers wanted to take it home. It cost them $12,500 to call it their own.
Von Dutch XAVW Motorcycle-$21,000: Some picks are too good to give up. When Mike found a custom-made Von Dutch XAVW, he had to add it to his personal collection. The bike is a combo of Harley-Davidson and Volkswagen parts. Mike paid $21,000 for it. The bike is actually so rare that it’s been placed on display in the National Motorcycle Museum and in Antique Archeology’s Nashville store.
Polarimeter – $1,000
When it comes to antiques, lawsuits happen here and there. Fritz found himself in a lawsuit over a misunderstanding with a customer. A South Carolina man spotted an antique polarimeter on an episode, and he reached out hoping to purchase the item. The man sent Fritz $300 for it, but he never got the item. Fritz didn’t show up for court, either. The judge forced Fritz to pay the man a $1,000.
1984 airstream trailer-$8,000: The Airstream trailer is one of the most recognizable trailers in the world and has been around since the 30s. With its round shape and polished aluminum exterior, they’re in high demand. The Pickers picked up an Airstream trailer for $8,000 but spent an additional $3,000 in repairs. They no longer have the trailer as they sold it for $5,000.
Last Supper Circus Banner – $2,000
Most circus banners feature bearded women and fire breathers, right? On one occasion, the pair found a special Last Supper-themed circus banner. The circus included animatronic figures akin to Chuck-E-Cheese to remake Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper masterpiece. Mike felt that he had to add it to his collection and paid up $2,000 for the banner.
Checkerboard Rick Nielsen guitar-$0: One of the Pickers’ greatest bargains was when they took home one of Rick Nielsen’s guitars. Nielsen is the lead guitar player for Cheap Trick. And they didn’t even pay a dime for it. Nielsen opened up his warehouse to Wolfe and Fritz. They fell in love with a white and black checkerboard pattern guitar. Nielsen turned down their offers over and over again, including an offer of more than $2,500. In the end, he donated it to their store on the condition that he could play it whenever he visited them.
$90,000 Worth Of Motorcycles
At the start of season 17, the Pickers put up their largest purchase. In the episode titled, “The $90,000 Question,” the duo found three rare four-cylinder Ace motorcycles with the help of a car collector. Even with the high price, they decided they had to have them. They paid $90,000 for it, but they came home happy campers.
Let’s see what restrictions the cast of American Pickers has to obey…
They have to find authentic Americana: American Pickers is a show all about American-made treasures from the past. And one of the fascinating parts of the show is how much American history is tied into every item the Pickers find. The show allows them to learn about things they never learned about in school. Mike Wolfe stated that not only does he love teaching viewers about American history, but he also loves learning himself.
They Can’t Buy Emotionally
This is a general rule for all “pickers”: if you buy emotionally, you will often lose money as the seller will raise the price. Mike and Frank readily admit this quite often on the show. It’s always interesting to see how the Pickers contain themselves when they see something that makes their heart beat fast.
The key is for them to step back and calculate the potential profit margins objectively. This is why you see Mike and Frank step away from an item if they see the buyer is ready to fight over the price.
They cant spend on items that have lots of replacements parts: It’s so important for the Pickers not to buy items with too many replacement parts because it lowers the value of the item. So it’s one of the first things they look out for before buying something. The rare exceptions include items that have a replacement part that’s also an antique, such as dated car engines.
They Need to Spend As Little Money as Possible
Mike and Frank are no strangers to forking over the cash in order to purchase an item they really want. But as you’ll often see, Danielle has to come in as they can’t spend too much money. The more money they spend, the less chance they’ll have at getting a profit. You don’t usually see Mike and Frank spending thousands of dollars on one item.
They can’t swear or show inappropriate images: No biggie here! It’s illegal to air any sensitive material that could get the network in trouble. Even if they come across something really cool, if it doesn’t meet the guidelines, they simply can’t show it. There was an instance were the Pickers showed some WW2 art that was considered offensive by some, but it was handled tastefully.
They Can’t Go Back on Their Word
This is what happens when the Pickers do go back on an agreement: they get sued, and it looks bad for the network that pays them. Simple enough! It’s what happened to Fritz when he went back on a deal with auctioneer and collector, Jerry Bruce. In his complaint, Bruce alleged that their contract was breached and court records show that he suffered $7,500 worth of damages.
They can’t buy any reproduced items: American Pickers differs from other antique shows and antiquing because they don’t always follow the “100 years or older” rule. They almost never buy something that’s been massively reproduced. Why? Because it destroys the value of the item. The idea is that every item they find must be vintage and collectible.
They Can’t Pay Full Price
Though it’s something that American Pickers gets criticized about, Mike and Frank have to buy a product as low as they can go because eventually, they have to pay for repairs, cleaning, and shipping. There’s no business model for pickers paying the full retail price, no matter how rare.
In addition to Mike and Frank, there is one person on the show who is a fan favorite. Viewers fell in love with Danielle Colby, the talented and creative store manager. The Iowa girl is filled with spunk, confidence, and an incredible assortment of tattoos. Still, it’s her sense of humor and positive attitude that draws people towards her. But who is she? Where is she from? And how did she get the coolest job ever? Here’s everything you need to know about Danielle Colby.
Managing the shop
Danielle Colby is the manager of the antique archaeology which proved a huge responsibility. She usually takes care of everything including business plans. She also gives the guys a budget on how much they can spend while they are out on the road. In addition, Danielle is also in charge of choosing the items with antique collectors all over the country. She then finds a buyer to sell the items too. It’s not an easy task, but she’s doing a great job.
Danielle and Mike’s relationship: So, of course, everyone wants to know if there is anything romantic going on between Danielle and Mike. They are always together and seem to be VERY friendly with one another. However, the pair are only best friends. Mike is more like a brother to Danielle at this point. They have known each other for over 20 years. When you know someone for that long, I guess you you grow that kind of ‘sibling’ bond.
Her Actual Husband
Although she was never romantically involved with Mike, Danielle did have a string of her own relationships. She used to be married to Alexandre de Mayer, a French designer. Unfortunately, the two split shortly after the wedding. She then married a man named Kevin Colby, and the couple had two beautiful children together. Sadly, her fame caused too much pressure on their lives together, ultimately destroying their marriage.
Kids: Colby has two adorable children, a boy, and a girl. She had them in the mid to late 2000s with her husband at the time, Kevin. Apparently, Colby is a big kid-fan and regularly takes pictures with kids who look up to her. She is a firm believer in trying to instill confidence and self-worth into her own two children. However, she hopes to instill self-pride in all her younger fans from all over the world.
You know what they say, ‘the body is a canvas.’ This is definitely true when it comes to Danielle. She obviously loves getting tattoos and currently has over 30! However, every single one of her tattoos represents something special to her, a place, a moment, or even a person. Danielle has two favorite tattoos! They are the ones her kids got to draw for her on her hands.
Highly successful show: It turns out, America Pickers is one of the most-watched shows in America! It’s been breaking records all over the place! For some reason, people just seem to connect to Mike and Frank. Is it their Midwestern manners? Maybe their incredible chemistry? I personally think it has something to do with the cool office manager, Danielle.
Punk Rocker at Heart
Danielle is really into punk! She loves the lifestyle and also the music. She said that the Irish band, The Pogues, is what really got her into that genre. She’s been hooked ever since she heard them. Danielle mentioned she loved a few bands such as The Flaming Lips, The Dead Kennedys and Against Me; She actually wore their t-shirts in one of the episodes.
Strange love for bugs: Danielle Colby is an entomologist and entomophile. What does that even mean? It means that strangely, Colby really loves bugs and learning all there is to know about them. Most women like to live their lives completely free of bugs and all crawling insects. Colby has a strange inclination toward them and is interested in how they help balance out the ecosystem. She loves them so much that she even has a tattoo of a fly on her arm.
Danielle Colby has done a lot of adventurous things in her life. One of the most daring was being part of roller derby. Danielle loves the idea of women’s strength in a female sport; she decided to form a team with a bunch of other Irish women. They named their team the Big Mouth Mickies and played competitively for three years. Unfortunately, Danielle suffered and injury and was forced to stop competing.
Burlesque: One day, while Danielle Colby was living with her family in Chicago, she decided to go check out a comedy show with Margaret Cho. In the show, there was a burlesque dancer named “Satan’s Angel.” Danielle instantly fell in love with the classy art of burlesque and wanted to learn how to do it herself. She was quickly captivated by the art and quickly advanced.
Danielle has an idea of having a whole burlesque show and decided to run with it. She decided to involve a bunch of her friends and family. Once she got her sister involves, she assembled everyone else. Danielle mostly picked the girls from roller derby. The ones on her team as well as another team, The Quad City Roller. Together their burlesque squad was formed, Le Mustache.
Modesty: It was a little bit difficult for Danielle to get girls to join her burlesque group. The main issue was that many women felt very uncomfortable showing off so much of their bodies. When her sister first joined, she said that she wanted to be the “modest one” and not show off her whole body. Eventually, all the women in the group wanted to be the “modest one.” Danielle decided that during practice, she was going to get everyone comfortable with their bodies. That way, no one would be the “modest one.”
People wonder why Danielle hasn’t posed for a very popular magazine that features the proud punk woman with little to no clothes. When asked about this, here’s her answer. She simply explained how the magazine’s focus is showcasing girls in their 20’s with perfect and tiny bodies. Colby said since she is over thirty with two children, she may not be suitable. Eventually, Colby did pose for the magazine and looked incredible!
Burlesque is freedom: Danielle said that her connection to burlesque came from the sense of freedom associated with it. She expressed that since her first burlesque show, she felt like she is capable of anything. She felt like her size didn’t matter, and neither did the fact that she had two children. She just felt very comfortable in her own skin on stage, and that’s what made her put on a good show.
A.K.A. Danny Diesel
When Danielle performs, she does by the name Danny Diesel. It’s a stage name and a nickname that she got when she was just three years old from one of her dad’s friends. Eventually, Danny Diesel became her alter ego and her on-stage persona. What’s interesting is that Danielle says she feels a closer connection to this alternate that to herself. She feels free through Danny while she’s dancing.
Way back: Dannielle and Mike Wolfe have known each other way before American Pickers. The two of them actually met when they were both living in Iowa, about 20 years ago!
Danielle explained that Mike helped her with multiple projects over the years, even when people thought she might be too wacky to work. Mike stayed by her side and always believed in her. Of course, that’s finally paying off now.
Mike Wolfe has been picking garages and attics for a while. He did it for at least two decades before History Channel finally offered him his own show. That when Mike asked Danielle to manage the antique store and be on TV. Danielle said yes, with no hesitation. She already knew Mike and felt very comfortable working with him.
How it started: Before starring in his own TV show American Pickers, Mike was kind of a YouTube sensation. He went around the Midwest to pick peoples basements, attics and garages while someone was filming him. The videos were sent to multiple television stations before the History Channel decided to pick it up. The channel enjoyed the items, but more than that, they loved the way he interacted with people.
Her Problem With the Show
Back when she was starting off, Danielle was asked in an interview if there was something she didn’t like about how the show was made. She said that she wishes the show would portray Mike more and how he gets to know all the people he is picking from. Colby explains that the reason Mike is so good at what he does is because of his high interpersonal skills. She said he is such a people’s person and wishes that the show could capture that more.
The new boyfriend: If you follow Danielle on Instagram or Twitter, you might notice that a new man has been popping up in her pictures for the past year or so. They seem to go just about everywhere together, but who is this mystery guy? The man’s name is Jeremy Scheuch. The two are a couple and have been dating for a while now. The two have been going to Puerto Rico a lot for Iowa, bringing 10 suitcases of medical supplies to Puerto Rico every time.
Danielle Colby decided to leave Chicago and move her family back to Iowa. She made this decision when her father was sadly diagnosed with leukemia and wanted to be closer to him. She knew she had to pay for his medical bills but didn’t want to do it working at a random unfulfilling job. Instead, she followed her passion and opened up a store selling antique art. She later opened in another location at Wicker Park, Chicago.
Documentary producer: As a television star, Danielle got used to being followed by cameras. She’s only been doing it for ten years. This could be the reason she wasn’t afraid to create her own documentary and based in on Tempest Storm, a burlesque dancer and one of Danielle’s personal heroes. Colby expressed how drawn she was to storm. She spread beauty, kindness, and strength. No matter what size or age, Storm was always able to uphold her self-worth and confidence.
Taxman is After Her
With her many streams of income, Danielle Colby needs to pay a lot in taxes. Unfortunately, Danielle seemed to have forgotten for some reason. She hasn’t paid taxes for several years now. Colby reportedly has gotten multiple letters from the IRS demanding that she pay her taxes. The first one was for $6,000 but, apparently, she owes tens of thousands of dollars in taxes.
Her net worth: Since selling makeup in Chicago, it seems Danielle Colby has come quite a long way. She made most of her money from American Pickers of course, but Danielle is currently worth $1.5 million! Being a manager of antique archaeology on a successful show definitely brings in money. However, Colby also makes money through her burlesque shoes in addition to her two stores in Iowa and Chicago.
Some people would say that the viewer’s interest in American Pickers isn’t necessarily from the items that gets picked. It’s not even from how hilarious Mike and Frank are! It turns out that a very high percentage of guys watch the show because they get to see Danielle. This is understandable. She’s beautiful and has a strong way of carrying herself. She’s been rated as a fan favorite numerous times.
Clothing lines: What you may not know about Danielle is that she has two clothing lines that she is very proud of. She takes vintage and antique items and likes to incorporate them into clothes. Mike very much encouraged her to make the clothing line. The two had a conversation where Danielle was feeling upset. Mike explained to her that she is a creative person and won’t feel happy or fulfilled unless she is making something. Danielle took his advice, and her clothes are selling really well!
Her Own Show?
Danielle Colby was asked in a recently in an interview with Miami News-Times if she would be interested in having her own spin-off show. She said her first priority is Mike since her success came because of him giving her the manager job. She went on to explain that her job won’t last forever and neither will the show. At that point, she does wish that the History Channel or even a different TV station gives Colby her own program.
A rocky start: It’s clear that Danielle Colby is a big part of American Pickers. However, things weren’t so great at first. When the History Channel first showed up to shoot to show, they didn’t want to film Colby at all because she wasn’t on the original contract that was signed. The film crew had no idea who she was or what she was even doing there. Fortunately, Mike was able to use his people’s skills, and after he spoke to the producers, they changed their minds.
Dreams Come True
Dreams come True: Danielle Colby is an icon to many American Picker fans. However, Danielle still has her own role models and heroes. She finally got to meet one of them in 2014 when Dolly Parton asked American Pickers to help her find items for a new theme park ride. When it was time for the team to delivers the items, Danielle wanted to make the trip to Tennessee. She was so excited that she got to personally bring the items to Dolly and was thrilled when she got to meet her icon.
Danielle is passionate about a lot of things. She loves antiques, fashion, and burlesque. In addition to all that, Danielle loves to read! She is interested in learning from books and is mostly interested in books that focus on woman’s studies. Danielle admitted in an interview that she would much rather read than spending time with people. She can finish an entire book in just a few hours. Sitting down and reading a book is one of Colby’s favorite things to do.
Danielle gives off a very free-spirited persona. However, she wasn’t raised that way. Colby’s parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she grew up in a very conservative home. Her parents actually didn’t approve of their daughter’s tattoos and burlesque dancing. Clearly, Danielle is too driven and passionate, so nothing was going to deter her. Unfortunately, her relationship with her parents is now strained.
Dog lover: Danielle Colby is a huge Animal lover! She particularly loves dogs! In 2013 she adopted her dog Vida from a shelter in Chicago. She is very active in different organizations that help abandoned dogs. Also, Colby is a strong advocate and is constantly trying to raise awareness about the misunderstood treatment of certain dog breeds. Such as Pitbulls.
One of the many reasons Colby is such a great addition to American Pickers is because of her incredible instincts when it comes to leads. She sends Mike and Frank to locations where they have the best finds. In 2010, Danielle heard about an old amusement park that had unwanted items stored in a warehouse. She sent Mike and Frank there, and they found sideshow banners that they bought for $700. They soon found out these banners were worth $5,000 each!
Words of Wisdom: Danielle is a kind, intelligent woman. People ask for her advice on all kinds of different things. She stated that her best piece of advice is “When in doubt, love.” I couldn’t agree more. She went on to explain how people shouldn’t get carried away with their differences. More often than not, people get caught up in the idea that they are right and the other person is wrong. “If you think about it, there’s very little right and wrong in the world.”
Stop Drop and Roll
In most interviews, Danielle gets asked the same boring questions with some predictable answers, but once in a while, a reporter can come up with a really good one. An interviewer once asked her what item everyone would grab if Antique Archaeology caught on fire. Her answer was pretty funny. “Mike would grab the 1911 Indian motorcycle he keeps it in his office, Frankie would grab the cash register, and I would grab Mike,” Danielle said. I guess this makes sense if you look at their stance.
Tattoos with meaning: As we mentioned, all of Danielle’s tattoos represent something important such as the ultimate truths of life. This includes deep topics such as life and death. She’s said to interviewers that her tattoos “are about death and love and people I’ve lost.” She expressed how she uses her body as a memorial to all her loved ones. Dead or alive. She likes being able to carry memories and people with her wherever she goes. That’s what her tattoos are all about.
Her Favorite Picks
Mike and Frank have shown their interests in American Pickers when it comes to picking, such as motorcycles. Danielle would rather find vintage stage costumes, and she is very serious about them. She has a collection of pieces and some that date all the way back to the 1800s. She has a very rare Lillie Langtry costume from the 1890s. She also has a banana skirt that used to belong to Josephine Baker.
Iowa Girl: Danielle Colby grew up in Davenport in a Midwestern town, Iowa. The town is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Moline, Illinois is right across the river, and Chicago is just a short drive away. The closeness to her country roots in that city had a huge influence on her life. It was an escape for her and it exposed her to an alternative subculture.