The Priciest Items Ever Featured On American Pickers

"American Pickers" follows Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz as they go to different locations to search for collectibles and antique pieces to add to their collection or sell. As many know, antiquing takes plenty of patience. The show highlights the interesting pieces that they find, but behind the scenes, they go through mountains of junk items to be able to find a valuable piece.

The show premiered in 2010 and through the years, Wolfe and Fritz have found amazing items, such as vintage goods, rare automobiles, and prized instruments (via Screenrant). Most of the items the pair finds are then sold at the Antique Archaeology stores located at LeClaire and Nashville. For Wolfe, it's not just about finding expensive pieces and getting profit. What makes it interesting for him are the stories he learns with the items he discovers. "Unearthing cool things and finding the story behind them. That's what keeps me going," he said, via Outsider. However, it definitely doesn't hurt to get a few thousand dollars along the way. Let's take a look at some of the most valuable items found on "American Pickers."

Vintage sideshow banners

In the first episode of "American Pickers" Season 3, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz visited Bushkill Park in Pennsylvania. The location was an amusement park that was built in 1902 and was closed in 2007 (via Business Insider). When Wolfe and Fritz visited, the park had been abandoned for about three years, but some of the vintage attractions and other items still remained there.

The pickers toured the place with owner Neal Fennel, also known as Balloons the Clown. Fennel wanted to sell most of the items from the old park so that he could rebuild and reopen the amusement park. Visiting Bushkill Park was like traveling back in time, and Wolfe and Fritz stumbled upon vintage sideshow banners, per Noteabley. They bought the banners for $700 and had them appraised. It turned out that the banners were created by a well-known sideshow artist named Fred Johnson, and the appraiser valued each banner at about $5,000 to $6,000, according to Lehigh Valley Live.

Original Yoda prototypes

In an episode from Season 16, a woman looking to get rid of some movie memorabilia contacted the pickers. Within her collection was a series of Yoda prototypes from "Star Wars." Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz managed to phone a former Lucasfilm prototype creator, Mario Chiodo, to learn more about the prototypes and how much they're worth (via Screenrant).

Based on their conversation with Chiodo, the prototypes were created to look just like Yoda from "The Empire Strikes Back." Chiodo also said that none of the pieces were exactly the same, as they were each done by hand. He valued each Yoda prototype — depending on their condition — to be somewhere between the $5,000 and $8,000 range. In the end, the pickers offered to purchase the prototypes for $6,250 — a total steal for any "Star Wars" fan looking for an authentic piece to add to their collection.

Aerosmith van

In a Season 19 episode, the pickers were introduced to a man named Phil who purchased land in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. There was an interesting find on the property — an old van that had the word "Aerosmith" painted on one of its sides. The van turned out to be a 1964 International Harvester Metro, and on a hunch, Phil wanted to see whether it was once owned by the band Aerosmith or was just an ode by one of their fans, per History. With some digging, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz were able to confirm that the van, indeed, was owned and used by Aerosmith in their early days.

The pickers were able to contact Ray Tabano – a founding member of Aerosmith. Tabano played guitar for the band from 1970 to 1971 until he was replaced by Brad Whitford. Tabano saw the van in person and said, "I'm afraid to say how long it is, but it's like 40 years since we've been in this thing." He stated that the van served as a "rolling hotel" of sorts when the band was just starting out. In the end, Phil still decided to let go of the van and the pickers paid $25,000 for it. "We just got a piece of American rock 'n' roll history," Wolfe exclaimed. He had it restored, and in a later season of "American Pickers," Aerosmith was featured checking out their old van, according to Distractify. The band eventually bought back the van, but its whereabouts are unknown today.

Auburn 653 Phaeton

Auburn Automobile was established in 1903 and had its headquarters in Auburn, Indiana. Its automobiles not only performed well but had elegant styles. Sadly, the company went bankrupt in 1937, which makes Auburn vehicles rare and valuable finds. In a Season 12 episode of "American Pickers," Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz headed to a barn owned by a couple who were collectors. Among the pile of items was a hidden gem — a 1935 Auburn Phaeton 653, per The Sun. Initially, the owner wanted $80,000 for the rare car, and Wolfe decided to consult an expert to determine its value.

Based on the condition and model of the car, the expert deemed it to be valued at around $30,000. The owner didn't want to let go of it for such a price, but with a little bit of haggling, Wolfe was able to pick it up for $26,500 (via Noteabley). The pickers had it restored and repaired, and after all the work, it was valued at $45,000.

Ace motorcycles and parts

The Ace Motor Corporation was a motorcycle manufacturing business established in Philadelphia in 1919. Although the company went out of business in 1924 after only a few years, its motorcycles are now worth thousands of dollars. In Season 17 of "American Pickers," Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz struck gold when they came across four Ace motorcycles and some parts in Oregon. Lucky for them, the owner was willing to sell the rare Ace motorcycles (via History).

Since it was a big purchase, Wolfe and Fritz went back and forth over their finances and whether the value was worth it. The pickers wanted to restore the bikes, but it would cost plenty of money to get the necessary parts. As Wolfe put it, "The good thing about Aces is they're so rare. The bad thing about Aces is they're so rare, and their parts are so hard to find." In the end, they offered to purchase the bikes and some parts for $90,000 — their biggest spend to date.