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Greater Seattle Aquarium Society

Auction Guidelines

Please read and follow these guidelines to keep our auctions running smoothly.

Anyone that has registered may bid.

Participation:Both GSAS members and non-members may purchase items in a GSAS auction. However, only GSAS members may receive a split by selling items. Anyone may donate items to the club for the auction (thank you!).

Any member (current or former) owing the club money for 30 days or more will be considered no longer in good standing, and will not be allowed to register for any GSAS auctions.

Registration: To be able to bid in a GSAS auction, you will need to register at the Sign-up table. Registrations are good for that auction only. You’ll receive a white card with your membership or guest number written on it in big black sharpie so the auctioneer can see it clearly. If you are a GSAS member in good standing, and want to sell items in the auction, we encourage you to pre-register their items online. You may, however, bypass this step by registering at the Sign-up table.

Sellers, please observe the item limit!

Item limits: The maximum number of items that a GSAS member can sell as a Split at a monthly Auction is currently six items (though this number may change month-to-month). At the General Auction, the limit is twenty (20) items, and at the Plant Auction, 18 (20 if you pre-register). In addition to these limits, a member may sell no more than three of the same item. The auctioneer will sell your items one at a time, i.e., not simultaneously.

You may bring as many items as you wish to donate -- the auctioneer reserves the right to auction similar donated items simultaneously.

No Ziplocs for fish!

Bag etiquette: Fish of all kinds should be bagged (double-bagged is preferred) and rubber-banded in tall fish bags; if you don’t have any handy, your favorite pet store should sell you some cheap. Jars and other containers are okay for small fish and shrimp. NO ZIPLOC BAGS FOR FISH! Small, lightweight plants can be placed in Ziplocs, but if the plant requires a bit of water to stay alive it needs to be in a tall fish bag.

Write information clearly with a Sharpie.

All items placed in the auctions that are to be sold as Splits must display in clearly-written block text the following pieces of information:

  1. membership number and item number (unless the item is a donation) i.e. if you membership number is 123 then your items would be numbered: #123-01; #123-02; #123-03; … #123-10.
    If you forgot it, your membership number is on your membership card.
  2. scientific name of item, if known
  3. common name of item, if known
  4. quantity/sex/pairs/etc of item in bag
  5. any additional brief information

This information may either be written on the bag in permanent marker only, or you may use a label; it is your responsibility to keep the labels clear, dry and legible. If you feel your handwriting is not clear enough for the auctioneer to read, please ask someone else at the meeting to write it for you. We will provide Sharpies for this purpose (pro tip: writing on the bag before you put anything in it gives much better results!)

Large Fish: If you have an unusually large fish that needs to travel by bucket, make sure to bring along a heater and air stone to keep them alive during the meeting!

Dry goods: Equipment and other non-living items should also display the same information on masking tape or a label, and include such descriptions as works, needs bulbs, etc. Dry goods are only allowed at the General and Monthly Auctions. They are not permitted at the Plant Auction.

Seller Split: The seller receives a percentage, or split of the bid price, with the remainder going to the club as a donation. We have different rates depending on the auction. For Monthly Auctions, the seller receives 50% of the selling price. For the Plant and General Auctions, the seller receives 60% of the selling price. Sellers do not need to stay for the entire auction to receive payment; the GSAS treasurer will send any unpaid balances after the meeting (check or PayPal).

Auction volunteers, working hard to keep the items moving!

Minimums: If a member has a high value item that they do not wish to sell below a minimum price, that information must be clearly indicated and marked on the item next to the seller number. The auctioneer will start the bidding at that price. If bidding is accidently started below the minimum price specified, it is the responsibility of the seller to bring the error to the attention of the auctioneer prior to the item being sold.

Donations: If the item is a donation, your membership number-item number is optional, but not required. There is space in the pre-registration form to include donations, and they will be included in your receipt. By the same token, if you forget to put your membership number on the bag, it becomes a donation! The auctioneer reserves the right to reject or sell as a donation anything that can’t be clearly read.

Prohibited Items: If something is illegal or invasive, please don’t bring it. If you’re unsure, ask the auction chair for help, or check the following links:

  1. The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s quarantine list of plants whose sale or distribution is prohibited in the state.
  2. The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board provides a larger list of invasive plants.
  3. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s lists of prohibited, regulated, and invasive species
  4. The Washington Invasive Species Education web site has aquarium-specific information.

Check-out and Payment: Typically, we have multiple computers at an auction, and you may check out while the auction is in progress. Payment is in cash or credit card, unless you are a GSAS member in which case the Treasurer may accept a check.

We hope that these guidelines will give our membership a quicker and more enjoyable auction experience every month.