- Last Updated on 04:42 PM 06/05/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Elmo history buff, chief collector and soon to be TV personality Ned Stebbins will get his 15 minutes of fame when he appears on an episode of American Pickers this fall.
After years of collecting stuff, Stebbins is finally getting recognized for his serious collection of antiques.
Stebbins retired in 1983 after 39 years of working for the Universal Tobacco Company.
“After retiring, I got real serious in collecting. I began with collecting tractors and restoring them,” Stebbins said.
Over the years his collection has grown to include tractors, buses, cars, signs, bikes and more.
“Many people around here call these antiques junk, but they’re not; they’re valuable,” Stebbins said. “What these people don’t realize is if you keep something, it may become worth a lot after a couple of years.”
American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz share Stebbins’ appreciation and sentiment for “old stuff,” and on May 23 they paid him for some of his antiques.
“I was sitting at home a couple of weeks ago and a man pulled up. He gave me his card and said he was from American Pickers,” said Ned’s wife, Venetia. “It was hard to believe that someone wanted little ole’ Elmo on television. I really didn’t think they’d come.”
The man from the show had heard about the Stebbins’ home at a restaurant and decided to check it out. After seeing all the antiques, he decided that the self-proclaimed antiqueologists Wolfe and Fritz would love the place.
Stebbins described Wolfe and Fritz as down to earth gentlemen who look exactly like they do on television.
The two men walked all over the Stebbins’ property fascinated by his antiques.
“They ended up buying old signs, automobile lights, motorcycle lights, a coke top and a one of kind signed, porcelain folding chair from Piedmont Cigarettes that they freaked out over,” Ned Stebbins said.
The Stebbins said they’re unsure the date their episode of American Pickers will be on TV, but it is scheduled to air in approximately three months.