History Channel show hunts for Bushkill treasures

Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 12:11 PM | Contributed by Jeff

When he heard from a friend that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of "American Pickers"-fame wanted to "pick" Bushkill Park in Forks Township, former owner Neal Fehnel was surprised. He had never heard of the duo or their hit History channel show. But on July 21, Wolfe and Fritz pulled up in their "Antique Archaeology" van to rummage through the old rides and memorabilia from the amusement park's glory days.

Read more from The Express Times.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 1:02 PM
staticman00's avatar

I love this show, so this just became a must-watch episode for me. Its always entertaining, and at times educational, and the two "pickers" seem like genuinely good guys.


Riding is freedom.
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Monday, December 6, 2010 2:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I've always thought the opposite. They strike me as two guys who go around and take advantage of people who don't understand the value of their possessions.

(not that I can't appreciate that ;) )


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Monday, December 6, 2010 3:10 PM

Whose fault is that? No one is forcing them to sell. And with all of the internet info that is out there, whose fault is it that they do not know the value of their stuff? And the pickers don't know the value either. They are just making guesses which may or may not be right.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 3:21 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Sigh.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 3:55 PM
staticman00's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I've always thought the opposite. They strike me as two guys who go around and take advantage of people who don't understand the value of their possessions.

(not that I can't appreciate that ;) )

Capitalism, baby.


Riding is freedom.
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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:04 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Heh. Right?

It's interesting though because I don't think real capitalism takes advantage of others. (and I'm usually the big scary bad guy around here who sympathizes with those trying to turn a buck)

I seem to fall into a spot between the conversation we're having here and this other thread.

I guess I believe the clueless and unskilled shouldn't be given a free ride, but they shouldn't be taken advantage of either. Whatever that means. (What the hell am I even talking about at this point?)

I guess what they do on 'Pickers' feels closer to some kind of scheme than an honest attempt to create something and make a buck on one's own skills rather than the stupidity of others.

Unless your only skill is exploiting the stupidity of others - then have at it I suppose.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:18 PM
rollergator's avatar

^If you had said "recognizing" instead of "exploiting", there I sit. I guess only one of those two choices turns a profit though... :)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:20 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Meh. I'm more of a Pawn Stars guy, anyway.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:28 PM

I have only seen a few of the episodes but I haven't seen anything that I view as exploitation. I haven't seen any folks accepting every offer the pickers make to them. Sometimes they negotiate a higher price. Sometimes they refuse to sell even at higher prices. How is that exploitation or taking advantage of the sellers?

I prefer Pawn Stars as well. Though I have seen folks make the same complaint that the pawn shop is taking advantage of people who don't know what they have is worth.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:41 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

GoBucks89 said:
How is that exploitation or taking advantage of the sellers?

Lord Gonchar said:
I guess what they do on 'Pickers' feels closer to some kind of scheme than an honest attempt to create something and make a buck on one's own skills rather than the stupidity of others.

I guess we're just going in circles at this point.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:52 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I am curious though - and I'm not familiar enough with the show - but how do these guys get paired up with the rubes who sell their junk.

Do the sellers seek out these guys or vice versa?

Because that potentially changes the dynamic quite a bit. (and is why I don't feel the pawn shop thing is exploitation or taking advantage in the same way it seem with the Pickers)


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Monday, December 6, 2010 4:56 PM

From what I've seen of the show, the pickers usually seem to both (a) get "tips" on who might have a lot of crap laying around, or (b) just drive around the country looking for someone with a lot of crap laying around.
For what it's worth, I agree that it seems a lot more like exploitation than anything...especially when you've got the picker saying he can't pay more than $400 for an item, then turning around and netting a $500 profit. :)

-Nate

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Monday, December 6, 2010 5:04 PM
Jeff's avatar

Or (c) someone calls up the producers and says, "I got some junk," as was the case in this story.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, December 6, 2010 5:36 PM

Maybe we are talking in circles. But I just don't see how you say the pickers are making money off the stupidity of others. One, the "value" they show after they buy an item isn't realized value. Its what they think they can get for the item. They may be right or they may be wrong. But there isn't a magic book of value for road signs from the 1920s or bikes from the 1930s that gives you precise and accurate values for those items.

Two, in addition to taking the risk that they get the value wrong, the pickers have to find buyers for the items at the higher value (not sure if they have a shop where they display stuff, sell to antique stores, maintain a list of folks looking to buy old items, etc.). Thats effort that the original sellers have not made or are unable to make. And I suspect it can take a while to sell many of the items which reduces profits because you have cash out the door on the front end.

I think the skill that the pickers have is being able to pick of a few items from piles of junk that they believe they can sell. I have looked at stuff on the show that I thought would have some value that they passed over. And there is other stuff that looks like worthless crap to me that they think they can make money buying and selling. Maybe its not a wonderful skill that benefits the world but I think you can say that about a lot of what folks do today for a living.

Its my understanding that they try to find folks who have large numbers of items who may be willing to sell. There is a woman back at their base shop who finds locations for them. Also, they do some opportunity finds when they drive by a place that has a lot of stuff in the backyard. They are subject to trepass laws so they need permission to come onto anyone's property. I suspect that a lot of folks refuse to allow access and others refuse to sell anything but those things don't make the show. And my guess is that now that the show has been on the air for a while, folks call them looking to sell stuff.

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Monday, December 6, 2010 6:11 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

GoBucks89 said:
One, the "value" they show after they buy an item isn't realized value. Its what they think they can get for the item.

No. Sometimes. It's both. I've seen it presented as both estimated value and actual 'sold for' numbers even in the relatively few times I've watched.


They may be right or they may be wrong. But there isn't a magic book of value for road signs from the 1920s or bikes from the 1930s that gives you precise and accurate values for those items.

No there isn't. But it's no different than anyone who is skilled in valuing items (like antiques dealers or pawn shop owners) - you learn a lot about the items you specialize in (and these guys are certainly more interested in certain kinds of items than others) and you get a feel over time for things that have value and those that don't. No different than anyone who incidentially becomes expert in any area of interest over time. (like many of us with coaster and parks, for instance)

It is a skill and a measurable one.

It's not a lottery or crap shoot. They're not making offers on things that aren't valuable and they're not offering what they think (or I'd argue, often "know") the full potential value of any given item is.

Two, in addition to taking the risk that they get the value wrong, the pickers have to find buyers for the items at the higher value (not sure if they have a shop where they display stuff, sell to antique stores, maintain a list of folks looking to buy old items, etc.). Thats effort that the original sellers have not made or are unable to make. And I suspect it can take a while to sell many of the items which reduces profits because you have cash out the door on the front end.

Absolutely. In that sense, they're merely brokers or middlemen of sorts offering a service. I totally agree.

I think the skill that the pickers have is being able to pick of a few items from piles of junk that they believe they can sell.

I think the skill is finding people who have stuff and are willing to part with that stuff for less than its full potential value for whatever reason.


Its my understanding that they try to find folks who have large numbers of items who may be willing to sell. There is a woman back at their base shop who finds locations for them. Also, they do some opportunity finds when they drive by a place that has a lot of stuff in the backyard. They are subject to trepass laws so they need permission to come onto anyone's property. I suspect that a lot of folks refuse to allow access and others refuse to sell anything but those things don't make the show. And my guess is that now that the show has been on the air for a while, folks call them looking to sell stuff.

Again, I think you're dead on. It is a TV show, after all. But in a real world context - someone who travels around seeking out and unknowingly benefitting from a host is usually known as a parasite.

Now that I've talked it out, I think for me the 'skeevy' dynamic is all in the approach. Actively seek people and offer less than full potential value in order to take their stuff and sell it on your own at that full value and you're a douche. Offer a service to people who don't have the knowledge, time or need and you're helping people and making a living for yourself.

In my admittedly limited familiarity with the show and the guys - it seems like they skirt the line a little to close to the 'skeevy' side for me. That's all.


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Monday, December 6, 2010 7:48 PM

Lord Gonchar said:


It's interesting though because I don't think real capitalism takes advantage of others.

Ha ha! That one really got a chuckle out of me.

Oh, wait. You were actually serious?

::slowly backs up, whistling nonchalantly::

;)


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Monday, December 6, 2010 8:31 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Now that I've talked it out, I think for me the 'skeevy' dynamic is all in the approach. Actively seek people and offer less than full potential value in order to take their stuff and sell it on your own at that full value and you're a douche. Offer a service to people who don't have the knowledge, time or need and you're helping people and making a living for yourself.

In my admittedly limited familiarity with the show and the guys - it seems like they skirt the line a little to close to the 'skeevy' side for me. That's all.

Fair enough. As an attorney, maybe I just have a tough time seeing the skeevy line. ;)

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 1:21 AM

High Striker piece. $50 is $45 too much. Sign $100. Good buy. No Smoking sign is worth $0. 2 sideshow signs, good buy. $700 is $700. $500 for the bumper car is a good buy. Place seems to need a few dumpsters, an start over with what is left, and rent it our for private events.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 3:10 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Turned out to be a little bit of Coney Island stuff too if you stuck it out and watched them pick the storage unit.

They sold the $700 banners from Bushkill for $10,000...

...and for the record, I like my crow well done before I eat it because they went back and hooked the Bushkill dude up on that one.


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