The auction went very well today. It was our first one. There were a few minor problems, such as how to handle multiple items, but I think everyone had a good time and came away with some bargains. Next time we'll have a better understanding of the process and we'll have some handouts that explain the rules.
Attendance was pretty good for the first time, about 20-30 people. If we had relied on customer supplied items for auction, it would have been disappointing, but there was enough store stuff to make it worthwhile. About a third of what we sold were ding & dent board games we had just received. Another third was a customer's collection of 20 boxes of mint condition role-playing games. The last third was where we had the most flavor: customers brought in old Warhammer and Chainmail miniatures, war games from days past, miscellaneous role-playing books. Some of this stuff was junk and got no bids, while others surprised even their owners.
Best of all was when the owner of the item stood up to pitch their game. They gave honest reviews of how their game gave them endless hours of fun or how it might make a great gift, implying it probably wouldn't be fun for gamers like us. There was something real and endearing about the process. There's some love there when gamers talk about their games.
Many of the auctions were in lots of multiple games. Although we frown upon people selling stuff in the store (that's our job), I heard afterwards that there was a lively post-auction trade, a kind of secondary market. Auction winners were selling off the odds and ends of each lot that didn't interest them. Many treasures were found this way I was told.
People were concerned that we weren't making money at this. Some suggested we charge a small entrance fee to bid on items. Don't worry about us. Here's how it works: Joe sells his 40K collection for $100 at the auction. John buys it. John pays his $100 to the store. The store then gives Joe a $100 gift certificate for his auction item. Joe then buys $100 of 40K with his gift certificate, because he can't help himself. The store gets the gross profit from that $100 sale of 40K. In this case, $45. It was one of our best sales days ever.