This week’s episode was a bit different for me, because I wasn’t really interested in anything that Mike and Frank found, but I was amused more than usual, thanks to a single character named Tom. We’ll get to Tom later, but let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Danielle calls Mike and Frank while they’re picking their way through Kentucky again. She has a good lead for them but Frank teases her a bit and tells her they are going to flip a coin to decide if they will go to that lead or not. Of course, Danielle is less than thrilled with this new tactic, but luckily the next coin flip goes in her favor and the guys visit Tuti, a former picker who now owns a storage facility. He has ten buildings dedicated to his own stuff, most of which is really great.
Frank, of course, hones in on some old oil bottles, which would complete his set from last week’s episode. Mike finds a large retro neon spinner clock for $225, while Frank finds a Caldwell’s Velvet ice cream clock for $50.
The pop culture find of this episode was a Beatles serving tray for $20. There are quite a few of these trays on eBay, most of them in better shape than the one Frank found. They’re fairly common and can be had for around $50 if you want to add one to your Beatles collection.
While the guys are picking their way through the storage shed, they uncover one of the more unusual items we’ve seen…
Tuti has a jacuzzi! Apparently, he likes to sit in the hot tub and stare at all his stuff, while waving at his patrons as they visit their storage units.
Before they leave Tuti’s, Mike finds a vintage Schwinn Jaguar bicycle, and you know if it has two wheels, and is covered in rust, Mike will want it. So, he leaves with $75 less in his wallet.
Mike and Frank hit the road again and visit Susan and Andy, who have inherited a garage and a barn full of motorcycle parts and ephemera. Susan’s father was a professional motorcycle racer and had amassed quite a bit of stuff that was just overwhelming to her. She seemed happy to get rid of it… at first.
Mike finds a metal racing shoe, a pair of racing pants, and a motorcycle seat, all for $50 a piece. He also finds a huge assortment of vintage motorcycle ephemera — magazines, manuals, and parts lists. He uses one of my favorite buying tactics, by offering to buy all of the literature, knowing that a lot of it is junk. He gets the whole assortment for $200, and then asks if he can leave behind the garbage!
Frank and Mike discover a cowhide covered refrigeraor and think it must be some modern furniture maker’s piece, and you can almost see the cartoon dollar signs in their eyes. They haggle and haggle, trying to get Susan to lower her price, but she stands firm at $500 … until she doesn’t. The guys eventually whittle her down to $350 by agreeing to buy a phonograph player too.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a disappointed seller, but Susan definitely looked a little beaten down while Mike and Frank gloated over the fridge after they loaded in the van. We did not not see Susan and her husband happily waving as the guys drove away, and there were no kind words provided by her either. (Susan, if you’re out there, let us know what you thought of the whole experience.)
Mike and Frank take their new cow hide fridge to Amber, an appraiser, to see if they purchased a retro treasure. Amber tells them they found a Servel Wonderbar refrigerator from the 50’s, that was designed to be used in a room other than the kitchen. The cowhide covering is not original to the piece, but in this case, it actually increases the value, which is $700.
The pickers leave Kentucky and head to Wisconsin, where we meet Tom, a self-proclaimed hippy, who is an absolute joy. Mike says that Tom’s “property was more manicured than he was.” Tom has quite a unique spread, with lots of gardens and buildings, reminiscent of a true hippy commune from the 60’s. Apparently, Tom did very well for himself by developing Wizard Wick Hurricane Lamps, candles with a smokeless long-lasting wick, that has funded all his purchases.
Tom was a pleasure to watch since he kept Mike and Frank on their toes. They had no idea what to make of the guy! With each negotiation, Tom seems to get the better of them, even though he really doesn’t.
Mike buys a Victorian shadow box with a wedding photo for $50, and an antique glass display case for $160. Tom likes the number 60, and things that end in 60, so most of his negotiations tend to end predictably. He says his dream would be to have 160 outhouses. Ooookay.
Mike also buys a pair of cast iron posts for $210, after some negotiations where the final price is decided by rock, scissors, paper.
The pickers buy a few more items, including a stained glass window for $200, a peacock serving tray for $15, a Kentucky Bourbon hunting poster for $80.30 (yep), and a large multi-panel Midwest Stores sign for $150. After much hugging and handshaking, Tom washes the windshield of the pickers’ van (because it’s just something he likes to do) and waves goodbye.
Tom really cracked me up, and I don’t think I’ve laughed more during an episode than I did during this one. Tom may not have had very many interesting items, but his great personality more than made up for it.
Danielle ends the show by flipping a coin to decide Mike and Frank’s accomodations for the evening. She says they’ll be in the van down by the river (an excellent homage to SNL’s Chris Farley, intended or not!). Anyone else out there a fan of Hippy Tom or anything else in this week’s episode? Let’s hear it!