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Ohio “Picker” Buys Bags And Other Rural Treasures
If you have stacks of old burlap, cloth, or seed corn bags, Aric Diehl would love to hear from you. The Defiance, Ohio, entrepreneur makes his living as a “picker.” He buys bags, signs, farm advertising manuals and other unique agriculture items and then sells them at antique shows and on internet sites such as Craigslist and eBay.
  “I like to buy old interesting things that have a story,” Diehl says.
  He explains he grew up collecting beer memorabilia, because his family owned a brewery from 1870 to 1955 and a milk canning plant for 80 plus years. After earning a master’s degree in education –and with his wife’s blessing – instead of teaching, he returned to his collecting ways and became a professional picker.
  “I look for ‘non-traditional antiques’,” he explains. “I like tools farmers made – Frankenstein tools with an ag-folk art element.” For example, a favorite piece is a grain elevator a farmer made in the 50’s out of porcelain tire signs.
  Diehl’s office is a restored one-room schoolhouse. He stores his treasures in a 40 by 50-ft. workshop and takes photos of individual items to post on the internet.
  “I ended 2014 with over 5,500 bags purchased,” Diehl says, noting that includes a couple big volume buys of 1,200 burlap potato bags and more than 1,000 coffee bags. “I’m looking for quantities of bags, 50 to 1,000. There are still granaries or elevators that may have them in the attic or laying around.”
  He’s also interested in unusual bags, such as a “Pigeon Grit” bag he purchased recently. Depending on rarity and quality, he pays anywhere from 50 cents to $50 apiece, depending on the bag.
  Diehl “picks” mostly in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, but will travel to purchase large volumes of bags or other items that attract his curiosity. He runs some local ads, but admits most of his leads come from sellers who he has treated fairly in the past.
  Many sellers are happy to sell bags rather than take them to the landfill – or burn them as one potato bag owner had already done with more than 3,000 bags.
  Diehl invites collectors or people with bags or other unusual items to email or call for more information.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Aric Diehl, 10765 Market St., Defiance, Ohio 43512 (ph 419 439-1328; rusticdiehls@gmail.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #3