Mike Wolfe is an American scavenger and antique collector that came into the spotlight by carefully parlaying his ability to spot treasure in the trash into a lucrative business venture. Armed with a wealth of experience and exposure garnered from picking antiques as a young chap, he launched the American reality television series American Pickers which premiered on the 18th of January 2010, on the History channel.
The American Pickers creator has a story to tell for every piece picked, neatly documenting and airing the story of such important pieces. He is also an author of a number of great books on the same subject, inspiring many through his decades-long experience in the picking of rusty gold, a path he first trod as a kid due to his family’s low financial status.
Mike Wolfe and His Siblings Were Raised By a Single Mom
The accomplished entrepreneur was born in Joliet, Illinois on the 11th of June, 1964 as Michael Wolfe. He is the son of Rita Wolfe and an unknown father. The American was single-handedly raised by his mum after his parents’ divorce was finalized just when he and his siblings; Robbie and Beth, were still tender.
His elder brother Robbie was a rock star musician who later joined Mike in his business, appearing on American Pickers. Even though he was somewhat successful in the music arena, he chose to quit his career in order to have more quality time with his family. He then transitioned into an entrepreneur and presently serves as the founder of RJ Wolfe & Sons enterprise, a company that offers services like the construction of driving pavements and installation of pools.
His Family’s Financial Drawback Pushed Him Into Scavenging
In a bid to lessen the financial burden circumstances left on his mother, Mike Wolfe began to fend for himself by picking stuff from the trash around his neighborhood. In his early years of picking, he learned how to fix up damaged and abandoned items/pieces, which he, in turn, sold off to antique stores for some money. Such items included electrical gadgets, bicycles, and motorcycles among other things.
At age six, the young scavenger picked a neighbor’s damaged and abandoned bicycle out from trash and fixed it up until it became usable. He sold it for $50. Mike went on to grow this habit into a viable craft and he soon acquired a cargo van that helped him travel across many states in America to pick items from far back as the 80s and 90s.
American Pickers Brought Wolfe To The Limelight
Mike Wolfe’s big break came when he put his wealth of experience into creating the American Pickers reality TV show which was produced by A&E Television Networks in collaboration with Cineflix Media and aired on the History channel. The series has been widely well-received since its inception and was once ranked as the second most popular TV show after American Idol.
The show recorded over 3.1 million viewers on its debut in January 2010 to become the second-highest-rated show debut on History Channel after Ice Road Truckers debut in 2007. It has now aired for over 20 seasons and does not seem to be ending anytime soon.
Mike Wolfe, who created the series also stars in it alongside his good friend Frank Fritz as well as Danielle Colby who is in charge of the day-to-day operations of Wolfe’s business, Antique Archaeology stores in LeClaire, Iowa, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Following the success he encountered in his early days on the reality show, Mike was able to open the aforementioned retail stores. As a result of the impact of his business activities in Iowa, August 20th was proclaimed Mike Wolfe’s Day in the state.
He Has Penned Down His Life Experiences in Many Books
Inspired by the success of the series, Mike whetted his skill as an author by penning down his wealth of experience in books like “Art of the Pick”, “Debt Advice Handbook”, and “Debt Advice”. He also serves as the founder of an online community for kids called Kid Pickers where children between the age of 7 and 13 get to share their own picking expeditions. As a result, he wrote a guide book for picking with kids’ specific needs in mind titled “Kid Pickers Book”.
Mike Wolfe has additionally been involved in other side businesses including Rustorations which involve the collection of lighting that rejuvenates antediluvian lighting parts, making them functional, and as such, they can serve as a one-of-a-kind home or office decoration.
How Much He Has Accumulated Over the Years
Mike Wolfe has done very well financially via his scavenging, television, and production businesses. His net worth is estimated at $5 million. He rakes in over $500,000 from each season of American Pickers series. Additionally, Wolfe has delved into other ventures, selling merchandise like branded hats, shirts, mugs, and more. He also mints from his endorsement deals with brands such as Indian Motorcycle.
Interestingly, Mike equally served as a firefighter in LeClaire Iowa before he worked in the City Council for four years as a history keeper. Having a special love for vintage automobiles, the organic and brainy entrepreneur sometimes keeps some of the antique motorcycles and bicycles for personal usage and thus, has in his possession a 1934 Barley VL bike, as well as 50’s Ford F1.
The TV Star Has Been Together With His Wife For Over Twenty Years
With respect to Mike Wolfe’s love life, he met his wife Jodi Faeth in 1994 when he was still building his career. They dated for a long period of time before tying the knot in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee on the 8th of September 2012. The happy couple had their honeymoon in Hawaii.
Despite being the celebrated wife and support system of a very successful and prominent man, Jodi Faeth has maintained a very low profile away from the media. Her actual date of birth is unknown but records have it that she was born in the year 1972 in the United States of America.
The antique hunter is not just a married man but a father of one. He welcomed a daughter named Charlie Faeth Wolfe on January 30, 2012. She was born a couple of months before her parents walked down the aisle. Mike Wolfe is equally a stepfather to Jodi’s son Kyle whom she gave birth to when she was dating another man in her teen years.
His Wife and Daughter Have Survived Serious Health Issues in The Past Years
Although Wolfe’s family seems to be relishing happy moments presently, they have faced diverse life ordeal in the form of health issues down the years. Prior to the birth of their only child, she was diagnosed with Cleft lip and Palate, a developmental disorder. Following difficult labor that lasted for about 28 hours, Charlie was born through C-section with a facial deformity that was corrected with multiple surgeries including facial reconstructive surgeries.
Thankfully, she is now living a healthy life with her doting parents. In 2013, however, Mike Wolfe’s wife had the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with stage two Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma despite being a vegan and non-smoker. With this type of cancer affecting badly the white blood cells, the immune system gets compromised, resulting in death. She, however, survived the disease through successful treatments and has completely recovered.
Following their daughter’s experience, the family now offer a helping hand to children born with facial deformities by working as ambassadors of Operation Smile. They also have contributed financially to other projects under animal shelters like ASPCA (American Society For Prevention of the Cruelty To Animals), and St. Jude’s hospital.