yankee swap/chinese auction

Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Mon Dec 13 15:55:35 UTC 2004

In Springfield, Mass (western Mass) in the 1990s, this was called a
Yankee Auction.  Can be lots of fun.  I had not heard the term (or
heard of the game itself) at all before moving to Springfield.  On the
other hand, I think 'Chinese auction'  was used for a way of selling
something (as part of a street party or street tag sale, etc.) by
having items numbered and people buying tickets at so much a ticket
and putting them in containers next to the item(s) each person wants.
Can't remember how it was decided who got the item if there was more
than one "bid."  Maybe the one with the most tickets in the box.  I
remember this from a street party that I participated in -- and that
was new to me too!  (I obviously had a deprived upbringing.)

Actually, I think these sorts of terms are usually extremely fluid; a
person grows up with one term or set of terms and then discovers that
it's all different -- even opposite -- in other places.


Victoria Neufeldt
727 9th Street East
Saskatoon, Sask.
S7H 0M6
Tel: 306-955-8910

On Monday, December 13, 2004 8:57 AM, Dale Coye wrote:

> Yesterday up here in New Hampshire I heard someone talking
> about having a
> Christmas party with a Yankee Swap.  When it was described
> I realized it was what
> was called a Chinese Auction in New Jersey (this came to
> the list several
> years ago).  It's where you have a fairly large group and
> everyone brings a
> present. Then numbers are drawn.  Number one goes to the
> pile of presents, picks
> one and opens it, then number two can either pick a new one
> to open or demand
> number one's, and so on.  If one present is particularly
> desirable it can
> exchange hands several times.
> Dale Coye
> Wilton, New Hampshire

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