American Pickers – Hobo Jack Episode Recap and Review

The economy is apparently taking its toll on Antique Archaeology. Danielle calls and informs the guys that things are slow at the shop, and there’s not much money coming in the door, but plenty is going out. Mike and Frank need to find a big ticket item fast.

They do some freestyle picking in Illinois and stop at a house where they meet Tony and his little dog, Lady. Tony goes to two auctions a week and his expansive property is proof of that. He ran out of room for all his stuff, so he bought his neighbor’s house and filled it with stuff too. Tony says that everything is for sale except for his wife and his dog.

The pop culture find of this episode is a really cool vintage Marx Dick Tracy car which Frank buys for $15, an absolute steal!

american pickers hobo jack Dick Tracy Marx tin car

Mike finds a box of WWI posters and calls Judy, their picking mama from last week’s show, for advice, since she is a hard core collector of that genre. After she tells them what to look for, they determine that the posters are reproductions because the paper is thick and not like newsprint.

Frank buys a large set of Elk horns and a vintage movie projector for $125. There was plenty of great stuff in Tony’s possessions, and I could have burrowed through the piles for days.

american pickers hobo jack Elk Horns

Mike and Frank hit the road and give us a rundown of what they look for when they do freestyle picking:

  • No above ground pool
  • No brand new satellite dish
  • No swing set
  • No brand new truck
  • No mowed grass
  • No brand new landscaping
  • There’s a tarp on the roof
  • And, it’s easier to approach people of they’re outside.

The guys are driving through a small town and see a neon Buick sign and a Chevrolet sign hanging on the side of an old brick building. Ken is the owner of the building and is moving to Florida, so he’s ready to sell some items. Mike and Frank find quite a few neat items, including an old jug for $30, a tin urn with colorful lithography for $10, a vintage risqué photo of some ladies (very tame for this day and age) for $25, a couple of chrome and leather chairs for $40, and a Schwinn bicycle for $175. After two straight bike-less episodes, the streak has been broken.

american pickers hobo jack Excelsior bicycle

Danielle calls to tell the pickers about their next pick, Hobo Jack, a real life hobo who has acres in the woods filled with cars, bikes, motorcycles, and other things. The guys can’t even get the van down the driveway, because it’s too muddy and narrow. Jack is an eccentric old fellow, with a hawk feather tucked in his hatband, and a grey beard that runs half way down his chest. He greets them by playing his harmonica and guitar.

american pickers hobo jack

Hobo Jack is this season’s Mole Man Ron. Jack has piles and piles of stuff stashed in buildings and under tarps spread across acres of wooded forest. I wonder if anyone knows he’s even there. There doesn’t appear to be a house, but there is plenty of “rusty gold” for the pickers to pick through.

american pickers hobo jack

Frank finds a 1921 V12 indian motorcycle engine and Hobo Jack sells it to him for $900. he tells Frank that the transmission is somewhere in the building, so the pickers start the search. They find the elusive transmission after an hour of hunting, and buy it for $150.

In another building, Mike finds a pre-1920 Excelsior motorcycle, but Hobo Jack won’t sell it for $3,000. Jack shows Mike a motor with no markings that he thinks could be a motorcycle or a cycle car motor. Mike offers $3,000 for the motor and ups his price for the Excelsior to $5,000. After some tough negotiating, Hobo jack agrees to part with both for $9,000. Hobo Jack has been picking for 60 years and showed Mike how to drive a hard bargain.

american pickers hobo jack motorcycle

At this point in the show, my wife was incredulous that those rusty hunks of junk were worth $9,000 and I have to side with her. I want to see one of these bikes or engines restored to the point that they are shiny and functional, and then I want to see the person who buys them to use on their own bike.

Mike and Frank visit a motorcycle guru for an appraisal. The Excelsior motorcycle, in its rough condition, is worth around $8,000, mainly because it still retains the original chassis. The V-shaped motor ends up being a “home run,” which turns out to be a rare Curtiss motor circa 1906. The motor is worth $7,000.

Okay, so there were bikes and motors in this episode, but there was also a pop culture find and a really unique character in Hobo Jack, so overall it was a pretty good show. What did you think? Did you see anything you would have “picked?”


  1. Smokey Joe says

    Great american pickers episode. The excelsior motorcycle and curtiss engine bought for $9000 then valued at $15000. Wow! High dollar picks. Nice work guys.

    • Matt Gray says

      Hobo Jack lives in the town right next to me, ive never met him before because ive been so scared. People know he is there, but im sure he likes being left alone!

  2. Mike says

    Not sure if anyone noticed it, but on the walk through the woods they passed a huge patch of marijuana… know hobo Jack is blazin

  3. Ray Kessinger says

    Mike & Frank,
    Love your show, is there a reason why you never name the towns you are at ? I understand that Hobo Jack was around Litchfield Ill. I lived 15 miles s. of there for 50 yrs. I have been in Fl. 25 yrs. but would like to know where he’s at. I think you guys would have a good time picking at the farms up there.
    I do believe you should get a big truck of wood dumped for Danielle to split while off busting your hump, you guys are just too good to that woman!!

    keep up what you’re doing Ray

  4. Victoria A. Romero says

    WOW!!!! Hobo Jack might have other goodies you guys didn’t find… You could see the tension when Hobo Jack was offered $8000… I was like …” come on go for it ” Great job you guys!! I love watching your show! You can learn alot … You never know , sometimes we can be at a garage or estate sale and then all of a sudden we see something Mike and Frank bought on the show and we learn the value of certain items….. I can’t believe how much that little motor was worth – incredible!

    • says

      My episode recaps have no affiliation with the show. They’re just a way for me to share to share my appreciation and converse with other fans. Maybe Mike and Frank will visit this site and read your kind words. I agree that you can learn a lot from watching the pickers.

  5. Ace says

    Just watched rerun of this show tonight. I hope Hobo Jack hasn’t been mugged since a guy living outside with 10k in cash might be tempting for some low life.

    • says

      I always wonder what it’s like after the pickers leave for the people who appear on the show. I know that a bunch of them read this blog, so Hobo Jack, if you’re out there, let us know how you’re doing!

    • Matt Gray says

      Hobo Jack wont be robbed, if you ask anyone around the surrounding towns no one has rarely talked to him, if at all! You drive by his property, and it looks like a junkyard with fence around it, like they said “he had alot of shit”

  6. Jack says

    Hi, this is jack from the show. i go to the library on tuesdays to get news, yhey showed me this page, thanks people. new to the internet, i have more itums for sale. all the items they bought were just for the show they gave me back the items no money was gotten to me. i own over 430 acres of land from back in 1932. i thank you kindly.

    • says

      It’s Hobo Jack, himself! Thanks so much for checking out my site, you were a true pleasure to watch on the show, and as you can tell from all the comments, you have a sizable fan base. If you’d like to share any of your contact info so others might get in touch with you to buy some of your items, let me know. Please take care and keep on enjoying the good life!

  7. Marc Manint says

    I just saw the episode with Hobo Jack. All I can say is ….Wow! I would love to spend time looking through some of his collection. I wonder if he has any old tools. To spend time looking at the furniture would be a dream. Is anybody sure of where he is located? I would like to go see his collection.

    • JKATZ says

      He is at just about any auction we go to in the Litchfield,IL. area. We also talked to him at a flea market in Litchfield, so I guess the earlier post is right about the Litchfield ,IL. AREA.

      • jdotson says

        From what i was told hobo jack was at flea market in wentzville missouri

        on june 5th as my daughter seen and spoke to him there.

  8. catfish says

    Jack was a good friend of my mother and the last time I saw him was at my mother’s funeral 30 years ago, I wasn’t sure it was the same Jack when I saw the rerun but just had to jump online to search for him but didn’t know how to spell his last name so I called my sister and she remembered and I found him and a few other articles about him and I got in touch with him today and soon will go for a visit, he was happy to get caught up with me and find out about other members of our family. Thanks for the episode, American Pickers

  9. Stacey says

    There is a hobo convention in Iowa and there are tons of hobos that go there. I went this year for the first time and saw many hobos including Hobo Jack, he was a very nice man. He sang songs, played that guitar and harmonica and the banjo, and he let me take his picture and he signed a postcard with himself and Mike and Frank on it. So that’s where he is this week. Two dollars for an autograph.

  10. Keith H. in Wales says

    GREAT programme and this was THE outstanding episode for me. I knew a fellow somewhat like Hobo Jack in Bermuda… about 25 years ago I figured the Bermudian chap (long deceased now) had about two million dollars worth of stuff in just one of his sheds, but it was all being attacked voraciously by mildew, unhappily.
    Back in the USA, Hobo Jack sounds like a terrific fellow… more power to him!
    Regards to all collectors!!

  11. amber says

    hobo jack will be on a new show comming up in a month or two he was telling me about it at the auction in shippmen the pickers invited him to play music at their new shop in nashville

  12. says

    We LOVE your show and are huge fans. If you were on 24-hours a day, my husband, Eddie, would watch it 24/7. We’ve learned alot from your show and enjoy all the different cities/towns you go to. Keep up the great job you’re doing ~ Danielle too ~ she’s awesome!!!

  13. Adam says

    I’m a 49 yr old aussie. I really love this show. Delighted to meet Hobo Jack. The thing that my eyes caught was the blue Mustang, has it still got the motor in it?. Oh boy, what a glorious resto that’d be! A real blessing bumping into American Pickers.

  14. Jen says

    I met Hobo Jack once when I worked at Wal-Mart….I helped him to his car….It is full of old papers and stuff…He was very nice

  15. says

    I love watching American Pickers. Hobo Jack was a lot of fun. I hope they will go and pick there again. We like auctions and it would be great to see someone like Hobo Jack at an auction just to see what he buys.

  16. Corey says

    Anyone know Hobo Jack’s real name? I’m actually trying to help my great grandma locate her long lost brother, and he is a damn close look-alike. Chances are slim, but it would be great to get her in touch with her brother before she goes…

  17. myopinion says

    Hobo Jack’s place might be infected with rats. He does not want to sell his junk, I guess he intent to ship everything when passed away and continued being a pack rat. What a way of living….!

  18. Earl says

    I know Jack personally. My dad lived about a mile from him.
    Before my dad moved to the country we knew Jack since the late 70’s early 80’s and we used to go hunting and fishing on his property.
    Jack is a really nice man and it was really something to see him on Television.

  19. olga says

    In the netherlands we saw hobo jack 23-3-2013
    lovely man, still a live ??
    loked so old
    wanted make a real good photo frome him
    25 mei were comming to amerika

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