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LETS Auction

Running a LETS Auction is brilliant fun.

Sorting out the lots

Listing and viewing | Numbering the lots | Registering bidders | Bidding | The Auction Sheet | Closing the Auction

The Auctioneer opened the auction,"I want everyone to remember that you are bidding in pounds but paying in LETS money. No cash will change hands.

"Lot 1, a tray of 12 healthy looking seedlings. Lot 2 is identical and the buyer of lot 1 can take lot 2 for the same price if they wish."

One of the Auction Assistants holds up the item for sale so that everyone can clearly see what it is.

"Do I hear 1?"

Two members raise their cards at the same time. "Do I hear 2?" One of the cards stays up.

Another card goes up elsewhere in the room, "3 bid by member 42"

Member 7 raises their card "I have 4 bid by member 7"

The Auctioneer looks around the room "Do I hear 5?"

Number 42 raises their card again "5 bid by number 42 for this tray of seedlings. Do I hear six? Anyone bid 6? Going, going, gone to member 42. 5 for a tray of twelve seedlings. Do you want to take the next, identical lot for the same price?"

"Yes please."

"Ok bidder 42 also buys lot 2 for another 5."

"Lot 3, a garden rake do I hear...

Listing and Viewing

For an auction to happen you need to do things in the right order. Book a hall or other suitable venue with plenty of time before the auction starts for lots to be sorted etc.

You must advertise it for people to know it is going on and you need to give people a time, before the auction starts, when you will accept items for sale.

You will also allocate some time, normally immediately before the auction, for people to come and view the sale items - to see if they fancy bidding for anything.

The Auction Sheet

This was devised by David Williams initially for Hounslow LETS but now used by HiLETS as well.

This is the catalogue, membership number record and acts as the accounting sheet for the auction which is handed on to the person who keeps the LETS accounts.

Using a ruler and pen or a word processing program like Word you can set up a table with columns like this:

Lot no. Description Seller no. Buyer no. Price Buyer's Signature
1 Tray of 12 seedlings 56 42 5 John Smith
2 Tray of 12 seedlings 56 42 5 John Smith
3 Rake 89 23 4 Jasmine Wild

As you can see from the above table you could have the lot numbers listed in advance.

(Tip if you use carbon paper and an identical sheet below you can pass one sheet to the auctioneers assistant for marking during the auction)

Filling in the Auction Sheet

As a person brings their lots for sale number them consecutively (Tip: put the things less likely to sell higher on the list)
You do this to keep accounting simple. Also if an item does not sell it can be linked to the next item and sold with it if it belongs to the same seller.

Numbering the lots

Registering Bidders

As members arrive to bid in the auction somebody needs to greet them. This is so that they can get their membership number, if they have forgotten it and write it onto a piece of card they will hold up when they bid to help the auctioneer. If somebody arrives who is not a member they can be joined up instantly by filling in the relevant forms and paying the appropriate joining fee. You may also be charging people to attend the auction to raise the local curency to pay for the Auctioneer and co.


Once the auction is open members can bid by raising their cards. The price of the item increases at a rate the auctioneer deems fit. So small items may go up in jumps of 1 or 2 while bigger items may go up in leaps of 5 or 10.

The last person who bids before the auctioneer says "Sold" or "Gone" buys the item.

Unlike cash auctions all payments are guaranteed in a LETS.

The Auctioneers assistant keeps a record of the buyer's number and the price the lot went for.

Closing the Auction

When the last lot has been sold the Auctioneer declares that the auction is over - but there is still quite a lot of work to do. The Auctioneer and the assistants need to help in the distribution of the goods to their buyers. The completed Auction Sheet can be run through with the buyers collecting their items as they are named. (Some people are surprised at how much they have bought and there is an opportunity for a LETS trade on use of trailers, lifts or storage!).

Once a person collects an item they sign next to their number as the buyer and to say they have received their goods.

Once everything has gone and all problems are sorted out the Auction Sheet is handed to the book keeper who can enter all of the transactions onto the LETS accounts. The Auction Sheet can then be kept with the cheques etc.

If somebody is quick with figures the total amount of trading can be announced at the auction. As this can be in the hundreds of pounds it can be very good for the members to hear it.

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