Chinese auctions explained


DEAR SUN SPOTS: Would you explain to me what a Chinese auction is? Thank you so much for all you do. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Good question! Sun Spots had no idea, but the Internet reveals all.

A Chinese auction is a combination of a raffle and an auction. The difference between a traditional raffle and a Chinese auction is that in a raffle with multiple prizes there is one “hat” from which names are drawn, but in a Chinese auction each prize has its own “hat.” This allows attendees  to choose which prize to focus on.

Participants buy tickets, usually inexpensive, for chances to win the items they want. They can buy multiple chances to win a specific prize, thereby upping their “bid.”

The origin of the name is unclear. Wikipedia says rather than being Chinese, it is more likely that the term derives from the term “chance auction.” Chinese may have been used in this case to convey that this type of auction was mysterious, intriguing or secretive.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I teach math at Lewiston High School. I am trying to give math more real-world context for my students, and I am hoping to purchase a class set (25 books) of each of the books “Freakonomics,” “Super Freakonomics” and “Think Like a Freak.”


All of these books talk about math and statistics in a very engaging, easy-to-read style that will interest my highest achievers and my math-averse students alike, and help us to make the content we study more enjoyable as well as more relevant (in edu-speak, more authentic).

But so many books is a big purchase and well beyond our budget this year. Do you or your readers know of any local businesses that may be interested in helping me to fund this purchase, or of any local grants I may apply for to help? Thank you! — Jennifer Michaelis, [email protected], 207-795-4190

ANSWER: Sun Spots does not know of any grants or such, but perhaps readers will.

All of those books are available used, often very cheap. On, there are 788 used copies of Freakonomics, many only a penny. However, the shipping charges would be an issue, since they are sold by individual sellers, not directly from Amazon.

Sun Spots gave her copy of “Freakonomics” to a library sale last summer, or she’d send it to you. She imagines many other readers have some sitting around they would be willing to part with. You might also want to check with Artios used books, 180 Turner St., Auburn, 786-4007.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In answer to the request for the World War II book from Leo Savard, this was published in 2000 as a fundraiser for the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society.

My cousin, the late Carmen Morin, Maureen Chicoine and I copied the scrapbook my mother, Marie-Ange Gobeil, had put together during the war. We published 300 of them and have a half-dozen books to sell.

They can be purchased for $25 at the MFGS Library, 217 Turner St., above Fortin Funeral Home. Our library hours are Wednesdays from 1 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our phone number is 786-3327.

Love Sun Spots! Read on a daily basis! — Monique Gobeil Gagne, [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Calling all young ghosts and goblins! The United New Auburn Association and the Boys & Girls Club of Auburn/Lewiston are hosting the fourth annual Hello-ween celebration from 1 to 3 p.m.Oct. 25 , with more than 20 participating New Auburn Village businesses welcoming young folks and their parents to our safe trick-or-treating event.

We anticipate an even larger turnout this year than in years past, and we need your help. Volunteers are needed for crossing guards, tent setup and haunted house assembly. We will supply safety vests, stop signs and a brief training in crossing-guard protocol.

Our event begins in the parking of of Rolly’s Diner (rain or shine). Participants follow numbered maps listing our village merchants and end at the Haunted House at the Boys & Girls Club.

For more information, please contact me. Come spend a few hours of your time in this fun community-centered event. You’ll be glad you did! — Kathy Shaw, 207-320-1969, [email protected]

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]