Ralph Lauren’s Creative Director includes America’s favorite picker in her new book about collecting treasures

Mary Randolph Carter has worked alongside Ralph Lauren for the past 30 years, season after season helping create the perfect backdrops for his iconic designs.  Her personal passion is the pursuit of vintage Americana, or as she puts it, “junk,” and she’s spent her fair share of time on the Two Lane back roads digging into the flea markets of small-town America for her next favorite find.

Carter has written seven books on her brand of picking, earning “best-selling author” accolades as well as making a name for herself in the thrifting community. Her new book, The Joy of Junk, draws on her years of experience as a passionate flea market hunter and collector. Highlighting her favorite junking haunts, she also shares valuable tips for finding treasures wherever you may be hunting. Her beautifully photographed book showcases fifteen passionate collectors, including her friendMike Wolfe.

Mike invited Carter to his home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee for a rare glimpse inside his man cave — a museum of antique bikes, memorabilia, and rusty gold — for inspiration about picking and preserving America’s stories.

“From when I first began thinking about The Joy of Junk, I knew I wanted Mike Wolfe and his collections to be part of it,” explains Carter. “I was looking for things to showcase in the book that I don’t collect and know nothing about — bikes, motorcycles and all that cycle paraphernalia that’s Mike’s special passion. Everyone,  including myself, who watches his show, knows the man not only has an incredible eye, but also a feel for people and their stories.”

The two sat down outside his garage for several hours as she listened to Mike spin the stories about where picking has taken him.

“The first bicycle I ever owned I pulled out of the neighbor’s trash in LeClaire, Iowa,” explains Mike. “After knocking on the person’s door for permission to take it, I finally had my two wheels of freedom. I couldn’t believe someone would discard something like that because to me it was priceless. I began rooting around in junkyards and alleys seeing what else I could find. For a curious kid like me, it was a real-life treasure hunt. Picking isn’t just about the piece. It’s about the journey, and most of all, the stories.”

The book also includes a helpful “Junkers’ Guide” to some of the best places to hunt throughout the country, including both the Nashville and the LeClaire Antique Archaeology stores.

Carter’s message in this and all her books is that even the wackiest thing might bring you joy, and if it does, feel free to fall in love. “It’s not about how much something is worth. If it’s worth something to you, therein lies the value.  It’s all about the worth of the worthless.”


Order your copy of The Joy of Junk HERE


The Joy of Junk By Mary Randolph Carter

Images by Carter Berg and Rizzoli New York

ISBN: 978-0-8478-6210-8 / Rizzoli New York / Release date: October 2018


Inspired by the classic motor oil cans we all remember. Grab an Antique Archaeology motor oil tee!






13 thoughts on “Mike Wolfe Shares “The Joy of Junk””

    1. moulik rivlin

      why i can not get a simple reply from you? why everything is so complicatig? you have to relate also to just someone who is not necceseraly has a motorbice

      yours faithfully moulik

  1. Linda Lowery

    Need to get this book to read! Would love for her to come to my house also! Getting older, need to let go of many things! I’ve enjoyed them & now want others to enjoy! Collecting many different things that she might want for
    Ralph Lauren shoots! Let me know, welcome to come to my home in Ga! Enjoy American Pickers & hope to visit your store in Nashville! Have music memorabilia starting from Woodstock 1969! Have backstage pass & some autographs! Enjoy getting your messages you send!

  2. Mike Smukula

    Mike Wolf,

    I just cannot get enough of your show! If it were on everyday I would make special arrangements to watch it everyday!
    Thank You Mike, for doing what u do…..I only wish you would make Albuquerque, NM a part of your show’s travel’s. ? As I am originally from the Chicagoland area, and now live in Albuquerque, living here is like living in a time warp!

  3. Hamish

    I have been building a house ,3 story with so much repurposed materials, huge 1920 fireplace, 1940 bakery table 5 by 8 with 3 copper fire extinguisher with Edison bulbs , wires through 3/8 cooper tubing to a Beverly Hills lunch box as junction box. 3rd floor is a theatre with 12 seats from a old theatre from 1952. Whole house I did with mahogany I found a did whole house in a craftsman style. Doorbell is from church organ that hangs on the wall and 4 hidden doors, I could go on but wanted to say thanks for the inspiration go be different ! Cheers

  4. David Millman

    Hi Mike, Frank, Danielle and Rob. We love watching American Pickers. Thankyou for a great show. Two of your Australian fans.

  5. Robert Aymond

    Hey Mike, how about Franchising Antique Archaeology & letting me open a store in Baton Rouge, LA? I love “junk-huntin'” just as much as you, Frank, Danielle, & Robbie do, so I could get my daughter or someone else to mind the store while I go out huntin’ for treasures. You would get a percentage of all sales & whatever it takes to start the franchise. I’ll admit that I don’t have any experience with how franchises typically work, other than I pay you to use the name & lease a building that meets your criteria in the agreement. If you would like to explore that, I’d volunteer to be the “guinea-pig” to try it out. You could have it set up to where it must meet all the criteria you set up for a location & how it must look, etc. Louisiana would be a great place to have a location for several reasons. There are plenty of old barns, buildings, withering small towns that were once booming until the Interstate Systems were built, good, down to earth folks who would support the business, tax breaks for new businesses, etc. Plus, Baton Rouge is nicknamed “Hollywood South” due to the film & television industry that is thriving now, due to the state incentives & tax breaks offered. Think about it & text or call me at 225-588-5454 Cell anytime you want. Even if you want me to overnight you a sack of crawfish to boil up & have a party, call me & I’ll make it happen.

    Robert Aymond

  6. Bill Lambrinos

    I enjoy watching your program but wish you offered Items you have picked for sale. I have visited your Nashville store a few times. But even there very few items picked are offered for sale. Most every thing in the store that is for sale is your brand and logo.

  7. Ben


    Love the show, you guys have my dream job. And I’m a fighter pilot so my standards are high. I’m a buyer of aviation related artifacts, contact me if you have a good piece in inventory. Cheers, Ben

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