History Channel has a penchant for converting hobbies and businesses into lucrative ventures headed by stars. This is no different when it comes to their show, “American Pickers”, and the man at its head – Frank Fritz. This charismatic character has made his fortune working in the antique collection and dealership industry. His travel habits and his ability to make money out of almost everything he sets his mind to, make him a person who draws fascination and support from a broad array of viewers. Fritz’s story speaks to people of all kinds; his battle with illness and his perseverance creating a sympathetic character.
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Early Life and Family
Frank Fritz was born on 11 October 1965, in Iowa USA, to Bill and Susan Fritz. Unfortunately, his father did not stick around for long, making off with another woman. Despite the trauma, this imparted on Susan, not to mention Frank, Susan was able to move on and married Richard Zirbes in 1974. Richard worked as a tire salesman, and Susan also contributed to the home finances by working for a construction company.
Frank Fritz’s Childhood
The roots of his future occupation were seeded early in his youth, as Frank had a passion for collecting an assortment of items, from beer cans to postage stamps – Frank was determined and with an entrepreneurial spirit.
When Fritz’s passion for motorcycles reached its peak, he took jobs at Quad City Automatic Sprinkler and Coast to Coast Hardware, to earn enough to buy his own bike. He achieved his dream while a teenager, purchasing his own, brand-new Harley Davidson for the substantial sum of $4,100 – a price that his parents baulked at.
Frank attended Sudlow Intermediate high school, then moved to Bettendorf High School from where he matriculated in 1982. He decided to forgo a college education, and instead entered directly into the workforce.
A fire inspector has the imperative task of assessing fire risks, fire prevention, and assessing extinguishing equipment.
Fire inspectors ensure that public places and private businesses are up to standard, and providing sufficient safety for the general populace. Frank started working as a fire inspector in 1987, and stayed at this job for 25 years before moving on. Yet, even during this time, his collecting habits could not be repressed. Fritz compiled an impressive collection of firehouse ornaments and tidbits that he found while on the job. When he sold one item from his collection for $475, he realized that his collecting habits could be the linchpin of a new and lucrative career.
Realizing his passion, Frank enlisted the assistance of his close high-school friend, Mike Wolfe, and together they opened the antique dealership, Antique Archaeology.
The store also established an online presence that allowed the pair to achieve a broader reach in selling their stock. The pair follow leads across the whole of North America, attending auctions, garage sales, and homes to locate these valuables.
The History Chanel show premiered on 18 January 2010, and set new records in viewership. The first episode of the show was viewed by more than 3.1 million views – more than any other show’s debut on the channel. The show follows the events that take place in Antique Archaeology, starring Frank Fritz, his friend Mike Wolfe and roller derby star turned picker, Danielle Colby. The team works together to pick up leads and promising locations, with Mike and Frank taking to the road to bring back a bounty.
They do not always stick to the plan, and will veer off course to explore barns, homes, outbuildings, and other locations in the hope of finding the perfect piece. Fritz has also made appearances in various spin-offs from the show, including “American Restoration” in 2011. His fame also gave him the opportunity to voice his own character in “American Dad” in the 2017 episode “Family Plan”.
Frank has managed to keep any whisper of his relationships from the media. For a time, it was speculated that he was in a relationship with his business partner Mike, but this has since been debunked – Fritz maintains that he isn’t gay.
However, in recent years, he has become less secretive and now shares pictures and updates about a woman named Diane, with whom he is in a relationship.
On 30 July 2017, Fritz was stopped by police when he was caught driving the wrong way down Interstate 80. Upon examination, it was discovered that he was under the influence of a combination of Xanax and alcohol, and he was arrested. After facing trial, Fritz was instructed to pay a $625 fine, issued with one year of probation, and forced to comply with drug-related interventions.
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Frank Fritz raised a lot of eyebrows when he underwent a dramatic weight loss. While most assumed that this was a dietary and lifestyle choice, Frank revealed that this was not the case at all, but due to his long-term battle with Crohn’s disease. The illness is focused on the intestinal tract, causing many painful symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Many people go their entire lives with the disease, Fritz himself having had it for over 30 years. Fritz deals with his health the best he can, which includes having an extremely regulated eating schedule.
Frank Fritz has extremely amicable features. He has dark brown hair and wears a handlebar mustache, and beard. Due to his battle with Crohn’s Disease, Fritz’s weight can oscillate, but he weighs about 156lbs (71kgs) and is 5ft 4ins (1.65m) tall.
Net worth and Salary
Like many of the stars on History Channel, Frank is paid approximately $10,000 per episode he appears in. This, along with the success of Antique Archaeology, has seen him accrue a net worth of over $4 million as of mid-2020.