Wednesday night’s two-part episode of “American Pickers” was titled “The Italian Job: Part 2.” Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, are the professional hunters who travel across the country picking through rusty gold; those hidden treasures covered with rust from age. That rusty gold is what keeps them in business, buying low and selling high. However, this episode finds the pair in Italy, and like businessmen often do, complaining about costs.
As the episode starts the guys are still in Italy after the original deal they went there for, fell through. Deciding not to cut their losses and return home, they had Danielle translate their flyer into Italian and proceeded to go picking Italian style and Frank is now a believer and starting to learn the language.
Today they met with their interpreter Fred again, who developed quite a friendship with the pair, and as they arrived on time, he was giving them grief for being late. When they saw his Range Rover, they starting giving him guff for making too much money off them. Then he tipped the guys off that this next person they will meet is very expensive in his pricing, which is all in euros, not dollars. When they met Steno, he was well-dressed and nicely groomed and his antique and restoration shop was well kept. As they ventured through the shop, Frank spotted a painting of an old ship looking very much like the Titanic in a wooden frame. Steno wanted 3,500 for it, and even Fred was appalled. Then Frank found a sign in Italian with an ocean liner and bargained it down to 800. When Frank saw the large display of robot toys, he was amazed. The items in this shop were displayed in a way that made this a true adventure, unlike some of the dusty attics and barns they have rummaged through; this was more like a high-end museum. Steno loves toys because when he was little, he couldn’t have them because he was poor. So when he started working, he made it his business to collect them. He believes that all collectors are trying to fill a need that is missing in their lives.
As the day progressed, Steno saw that Mike and Frank admired the same things he loved, and they bonded. When Mike found old trophies from the 1950s, he bought two for 150 each. Frank found an Italian tin motorcycle toy from the 1930s that Steno asked 150; Frank also spotted a motor oil can with great graphics and bargained on both items for 400. Mike then saw leather club chairs from the 1930s that were in excellent condition for their age. The best price was 3000 for the pair, out of respect for each other; they had to bargain and finally, the bottom line was 2800, sold!
Meanwhile, in the states, Danielle is busy with the paperwork to bring all the items through customs and has to deal with mounds of forms. She is the right person for the job.
Frank spotted an old can that once contained mosquito spray with a picture of the devil on the front. The can was not in great condition, but he was happy to have it for 150. When Mike spotted an old Pirelli Tire ad for a bicycle race, the price was astronomical and even Fred was again appalled. Not even wanting to tell the guys the price, he covered his face. Finally, it was revealed that the price was 1,500 and Steno told them they had the most expensive taste in the world. The sign was just one of two left and it had been restored just a bit. Steno did not want to part with the sign because he knew he could not get another. After rejecting Mike’s last bid of 800, Mike walked away from the deal.
They did get two mopeds for 350 and saw some military items from WWII. Among the items was a leather welder’s mask from about 1920 that Mike had to have. It resembled Darth Vader’s mask with two doors for the wearer to see. When Mike tried it on, his face was black when removed and the price was now 400 instead of 500 for the dirty face. When they left, it was like old friends, and Fred went back to his regular job, knowing that he made a lasting friendship.
Next, Flavio set them up with Domenico, who has been collecting since 1954. He now is looking forward to eliminating much of his collection and had been involved in the Italian film industry. Flavio’s daughter Greta met with the guys in Rome to translate with Domenico. Frank finally met someone shorter than he. Domenico was another person who grew up in poverty and just wanted to preserve his youth. Many of his collections were underground, in the catacombs under the building. Catacombs were built in the first century, and miles of them still exist under the city of Rome. Everywhere they looked, there as stuff packed to the ceiling. This man collected everything he could get his hands on.
Mike spotted a mythological cast iron statue of a harpy, with the head like a woman and the body like a bird. This was something Mike had to have. Domenico got this in France from a palace; the price was 1,500. The statue was from the 1800s, but the price to bring it to America was tough to factor in, and Mike tried to negotiate for that reason. Mike offered 1,000 and he graciously accepted it. Then they spotted something strange; Domenico had his coffin ready for him with mementoes and even tools to help him escape. With his awesome collection of artifacts, Domenico rented or sold his items as props for movies. He knew several famous directors from Italy, like Federico Fellini.
They found a cutaway of a Fiat 500, because years ago in Italy, in order to obtain a driver’s license, one had to know how an internal-combustion engine operated. He was able to get it for 1,000 because Domenico knew how much they appreciated his items on this episode of “American Pickers.”
If you like this series? Be sure not to miss another post by clicking on the “Subscribe” link and following this Examiner. Thanks!