SJAA conducts an Annual Auction each Spring. It's a great social event that allows longtime astronomy friends to see each other, it provides a way to buy and sell astronomy gear locally, and it serves as an important fundraiser for the SJAA. However, we’ve had a number of complaints about the auction. The biggest issue we have heard is that anyone who buys or sells an item has to stay to the very end of the auction. It is at that time that the books are “settled”, when the money from the buyers is collected and the sellers receive their proceeds from the sale.
This makes for a very long day for everyone involved, not just the buyers and sellers but also the volunteers who run the event.
Last month, we conducted the Annual Swap Meet and raised almost as much money as we did at the auction but with a number of significant benefits to all involved. Sellers were able to set up their wares and negotiate with potential buyers on the spot. The sellers were able to leave any time they felt like it. Buyers were able to come in and examine all of the available items and also negotiate with sellers. Once they had items in hand and did not find anything else of interest, they were free to leave. There was significantly less effort invested by those hosting this event. So overall it appears that it is a win-win-win situation.
The leadership of the SJAA Swap and Auction programs is asking for input on this idea of dropping our Annual Auction and instead replacing it with another Swap Meet. That would make it 2 swap meets per year. One in the spring and one in the fall.
The club will advertise to the local amateur astronomy community as well as to the general public so as to maximize participation for all.
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Warm regards and best wishes for the Holidays,