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Auction hunters stalk Pembroke's bounty
Auctioneer pointing3
Liberty Auction owner and head auctioneer Matt Mattingly perches on a platform ladder to keep track of bid. Business has picked up since shows such as "American Pickers." - photo by Al Hackle

Liberty Auction already was the busiest place in Pembroke on a Thursday night. Then the proliferation of TV shows such as “Auction Hunters” enhanced the appeal of an evening spent picking over bargains, antiques and oddities.
“We can tell that there has been an increase in our business with all of the TV shows that are on now, like ‘Storage Wars’ and ‘Auction Hunters’ and ‘American Pickers’,” auction house manager Lori Mattingly said. Her husband, Matt Mattingly, is Liberty Auction’s owner and lead auctioneer.
Of course, the grandpa of all appraisal-related reality shows, “Antiques Roadshow,” has aired on PBS since 1997. But a recent explosion of shows about valuing and trading used items correlates well with a boom in crowd size at the Pembroke auctions.
“American Pickers,” which debuted in January 2010, has appeared on both History and Lifetime. The Spike channel introduced “Auction Hunters” in November of that year. A&E Network launched “Storage Wars,” a show specifically about bidding on items abandoned in storage lockers, in December 2010. “Pawn Stars,” set in a Las Vegas pawnshop, has been on History since July 2009.
Meanwhile, every Thursday from 5 p.m. until well after 10 p.m., Liberty Auction hosts its weekly sale of household goods, a catchall phrase that includes just about anything that can be carried in.
Founded by Matt Mattingly 29 years ago in Hinesville, Liberty Auction moved to the cavernous, 42,000-square-foot former sewing factory in Pembroke in 1998.

Read more in the Feb. 29 edition of the News.

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