The TV show American Pickers made them stars and turned Antique Archaeology’s original shop in LeClaire, IA a worldwide tourist destination. We stopped by to do a little picking of the pickers’ home base from the hit series…

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    Tucked just a block or two from the mighty Mississippi River in the charming little town of LeClaire, IA (the birthplace of Buffalo Bill, the folks at Antique Archaeology are quick to point out), we saw an old bathtub Nash we’ve seen hundreds of times before on the History Channel. We had made it to Mike Wolfe’s Antique Archaeology store, home-base for the show American Pickers.

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    Judging by the number of cars in the parking lot and collection of tourists bumping around, we weren’t the only people who thought this place was a worthy little side trip off I-80. (Truth be told, almost ANYTHING is worthy taking a break from I-80.)

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    After snapping multiple pictures of that sweet bathtub Nash and even convincing some fellow tourists to take some pictures of us, we started our tour with the newer of the 2 buildings, saving the iconic 2-story fabrication shop for last.

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    With the number of miles we have under our belt at this point, we’ve learned to set our expectations pretty low for anywhere we stop. Things can get a little tourist-trappy in a hurry. Case in point: just a day prior we’d paid $8 a piece to see the “best view in Nebraska” and tour the accompanying museum. Let’s just say we paid about a $1 per minute for that experience before leaving a trail of dust back to the highway.

    So, considering American Pickers’s popularity, we feared this first building would be wall-to-wall t-shirts and souvenir shot glasses. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

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    Are there t-shirts? Yes, of course. Along with all the other merchandise you’d expect a place like this to have, but unlike the terrible t-shirt your weird aunt sent back from her last cruise, this swag is actually awesome.

    And that’s when we remembered… Mike Wolfe has an eye for style. The people around him have an eye for style. How did we not think every single item for sale would be awesome? It was. We immediately started calling friends to see who wanted us to grab them something.

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    In addition to the standards like t-shirts and stickers, the first building also housed an impressive number of motorcycle parts and even whole motorcycles along with dozens of other items Wolfe has “picked” along the way. Many of them have even been on the show. Many of them are also for sale.

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    Over in the blue Antique Archaeology workshop made famous by the show, we found less swag (but still some) and more real items from Mike’s picks. Some were for sale. Some weren’t. Given how busy the place is, we doubt Mike Wolfe does much of his refurbishing and repairing from this space anymore, but there were some tools laying around, if not just for show.

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    We spent just about an hour at Antique Archaeology, but could have browsed for longer if we weren’t on a tight schedule. Our overall impression, which we hours to mull over on the exciting I-80 drive into Chicago, was nothing but positive. Did we see the fellas and Danielle cleaning off some old rusty gold? No, but we did catch a taste of their style, the same style which made American Pickers such a huge success.

    So as they say:

    Stop in and poke around. Break the ice and make us an offer. Lookie-loos are always welcome.

    Antique Archaeology

    115 1/2 Davenport St

    LeClaire, IA 52753

    (563) 265-3939

    Oh, and if you’re in Nashville, there’s a store there too!

    1300 Clinton St. Ste 130

    Nashville, TN 37203

    (615) 810-9906

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    • Show Comments (1)

    • Candy Walters

      I am looking for a Mississippi River sign. Do you have one or know where I can find one?

    Comments are closed.

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