Auction rules – postal auctions


PA 1.1   The Postal Auction is intended to run as effectively and economically as possible whilst at the same time giving all members an equal opportunity to buy or sell items as well as helping to indicate the values of items in their collections.

Application and Amendment of Rules

PA 2.1   These Rules shall apply to Postal Auctions organised by the Society.

PA 2.2   Any Seller, Bidder, Buyer or Committee appointee participating in a Postal Auction shall be deemed to have read, understood and agreed to be bound by these Rules.

PA 2.3   These Rules may be amended by a majority decision of the Committee and such amendment shall be effective on notification to participants.


PA 3.1   The Committee shall appoint a Postal Auction Manager as an honorary officer to try to ensure the fair, efficient and economic conduct of Postal Auctions.

PA 3.2   The Postal Auction Manager shall retain all records and accounts of each Postal auction for inspection by the Committee. The Committee may appoint invigilators to witness the conduct of the Postal Auction and selection of buyers.


PA 4.1   Only members of the Society may buy or sell through a Postal Auction.

PA 4.2   All transactions, including all bids and all payments, shall be in British Pounds (GBP)

Role of Society

PA 5.1   The Society auctions each Lot on behalf of the Seller as agent only and cannot accept any responsibility for the disputes that may arise between a Seller and a Buyer. However, the Committee will attempt to assist in resolving any dispute as far as is reasonably practicable.

Lot Entry

PA 6.1   A Seller may enter a maximum of five Lots in a Postal Auction by sending them to the Postal Auction Manager with a suitable, written, brief, accurate description.

PA 6.2   Within constraints set by the Committee, the Postal Auction Manager shall determine the total number of Lots comprising any one Postal Auction.

PA 6.3   Where space is not available for the next Postal Auction the Postal Auction Manager may choose to either return Lots to the Seller or hold them over for a future Postal Auction.

PA 6.4   The Postal Auction Manager will acknowledge in writing any Lots received only when requested and at the expense of the Seller.

Lot Content and Presentation

PA 7.1  Only phillumenic items may be included in Lots such as: matchboxes; matchbox labels; bookmatches; match packaging; match advertising; associated publications; and any other material related to the collecting, use or manufacture of match related items.

PA 7.2  It is forbidden for Lots to include any items that are prohibited to be carried by Royal Mail such as live matches. Any Lots received by the Postal Auction Manager with prohibited items shall be excluded from the Postal Auction and will be retained for collection by the Seller for a maximum of 30 days after which time they will be disposed of at the expense of the Seller.

Preparation and Publication of Postal Auction Catalogues

PA 8.1  The Postal Auction Manager shall arrange the preparation of a Postal Auction Catalogue. The description published for each Lot shall be as accurate as the Postal Auction Manager can reasonably practically determine and may not therefore be based on that supplied by the Seller.

PA 8.2  Any illustrations of Lot items in the Postal Auction will be at the sole discretion of the Postal Auction Manager.

PA 8.3  The Postal Auction Catalogue will indicate those Lots where the weight exceeds 100g. Note: Postage and packaging costs will be minimised for Sellers and Buyers if Lots are reduced to their minimum size and weight; e.g. it is often better to send loose labels as a Lot rather than labels mounted on an album page.

Lot Inspection and Bidding

PA 9.1  As Bidders are not able to inspect Lots before bidding they are advised to satisfy themselves of the content of a Lot by the description given and be prepared to buy caveat emptor.

PA 9.2  Bids shall be made in writing by letter or e-mail and received by the Postal Auction Manager before the published closing date. Each Bidder must clearly state: their full name; their full postal address; their membership number; their email address; their telephone number; their postage preference; and their maximum bid against each lot number. The Postal Auction Manager shall mark each postal bid with the time and date it was opened.

PA 9.3  A Seller may set a Reserve Price on a lot by informing the Postal Auction Manager in writing. A Reserve Price shall be treated as a fixed bid by the Seller to buy at that price. Lots that are not sold because of a failure to reach the Reserve will be subject to a commission charge of 15% of the requested Reserve up to a maximum of £10. The Seller will also be responsible for any costs incurred by the Society to return the unsold lot.

PA 9.4  Bids must be in: 50p steps up to £10; £1 steps up to £25; £5 steps up to £100; and £10 steps thereafter.

PA 9.5  Bids that cannot be clearly and unambiguously understood or do not conform to these Rules will be rejected.

PA 9.6  The Buyer of a Lot shall be the one making the highest maximum bid and the Lot shall be knocked down at one bid step above the second highest bid.

PA 9.7  In the event of equal maximum bids the first received will be accepted and the Lot shall be knocked down at that price.

PA 9.8  In the event that only one bid is received for a Lot then it shall be knocked down at the next bid step higher than half the maximum bid.

PA 9.9  The Postal Auction Manager may bid for Lots in the Postal Auction if made prior to the publication of the Postal Auction and validated by the Secretary.

PA 9.10 A Lot failing to attract bids shall be entered automatically into the next Postal Auction. If it again fails to attract bids then it shall be deemed to have been knocked down to the Seller for £1.00.

Buyer’s Settlement and Delivery of Lots

PA 10.1 After bidding is closed, the Postal Auction Manager shall invoice Buyers giving details of the lots they are buying and the postage and packaging costs involved including costs of invoicing. Those bidding by e-mail will be invoiced by e-mail. Buyers shall settle their invoices in full before any Lots can be despatched to them. Payments must be in GBP (GB pounds) by cheque made payable to that notified on the invoice or by electronic funds transfer to the Society.

PA 10.2 The Society will take no responsibility for items lost or damaged in the post. All auction items are sent by second class mail and a certificate of posting obtained. Buyers can request UK signed for or Special Delivery postage at their own expense by notifying the Postal Auction Manager.

Payout and Commission

PA 11.1 Whether a Lot is sold or unsold, a commission of the greater of £1.00 or 15% of the sum realised shall be deducted by the Society from any monies due to the Seller after payment has been received from the Buyer.  Payment shall be made in GBP (GB pounds).

Postal Auction Timetable

PA 12.1 The following table shows the principal dates for each Postal Auction:

Closing date for Lot entry Catalogue published Closing date for Bids Results published
1 December February 28 February April
1 February April 30 April June
1 April June 30 June August
1 June August 31 August October
1 August October 31 October December
1 October December 31 December February

PA 12.2 The Postal Auction Manager may revise the Postal Auction timetable at any time as circumstances may require.

Date : October 2023

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