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Auction Success

Mike Koop


On April 24, 2005, the SJAA 25th Annual Auction was one to remember. After a delay due to the late arrival of some auction material, Auctioneer Jay Freeman started off with the largest scope there, a C14 on a G11 mount. The minimum bid was set at $100! I was the high bidder for about 3 seconds, but the bidding went quickly beyond $500, onto $1000, $2000, $2500, before settling at $3000. First time auction attendee Benjamin Mendelsohn had won the first item and was shaking with excitement wondering if he could afford the rest of the afternoon! Sam Sweiss of Scope City attended along with his wife Maria. Sam had brought 4 used scopes priced to go at about half of what he was asking at the store. As the bidding went on, Sam kept adding additional accessories increasing the value of the package greater than the bid increase! What fun! Another bargain was the new Parks Wave Binoculars and the Parks Pioneer spotting scopes at 1/2 off the suggested retail price.

Sam was also an active buyer getting into a bidding war with James Turley over the Sky Image Lab prints. Sam eventually won all three prints!

The afternoon was filled with laughter and remembrances of past equipment owned. We saw a little bit of everything at the auction: A beautiful print of the Hubble shot of M51, an O III Filter, a set of planetary filters, a new Parks Gold Series Eyepiece, tickets to Lick's summer program, books, and videos. There were a few antique items for sale including 1902 copy of John Herschel's "Outlines of Astronomy" along with copies of Bonestell's "Across the Space Frontier". Even Auctioneer Freeman picked up a classic Brandon 16mm Eyepiece. 102 unique items were auctioned off for a net of $7930.30 which earned the club $1249.25. An additional $150.25 was raised at the swap after the auction. Joe Sunseri of Earth and Sky Adventure Products was there with many accessories for those people who did not find what they were looking for at the auction.

Thanks to the overworked auction staff: Bid runners Rob Hawley and Bob Havner, Book keeper Jim Van Nuland, Treasurer Gary Mitchell, and Jim Albers for manning the soda sales. Additional thanks to those who donated material including Sky Image Lab, The Medlocks, Lick Observatory, and Chabot Space and Science Center. Special thanks to Sam Sweiss for the generous donation on behalf of Scope City, Parks Optical, and Lumicon International, whose participation is to help promote astronomy to the public. As EAS president Carter Roberts stated about the auction; "You need to bill it as entertainment. I had forgotten how much fun it is!"


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