MBS Bonsai Auctions

Each year MBS sponsors a Spring and Fall Auction. This is a fun and exciting event where members can buy or sell trees, pots and other bonsai-related materials during the live or silent auction. It’s one of the best ways to obtain new material for your collection, or make room on your benches. A percentage of the sale is retained by the society to help fund other events.

Plant items should be free of weeds, outside soils, and not be dripping water when they arrive. Try to water the night before and not when you pack up your plant material.

Auction Cards should be completed prior to arriving at the auction site. The cards should be 3×5 hard stock cards. You can choose to make your own out of hard stock but do not use print paper and do not substitute 4×6 cards. Two cards for each item are required. If you want to put notes on care on one card, that is acceptable but both cards must contain the seller’s member number, an item number assigned by the seller, a minimum price the seller requires, and a name for the item. One card is saved for the auction cashier and the other card goes to the buyer. Each seller must be a member in good standing and must sign in with the number of items, he or she is selling in the auction. Non-MBS members are welcome at the auction as buyers but you must be a member to sell items.

Live Auction Information
The live auction continues until such time as all the items have been auctioned. Remember, too high of minimum may engender no sale and those items must be picked up by the seller at the conclusion of the auction. Think through your minimums as sometimes starting lower is more successful at selling an item at a higher price than occurs when the minimum is set too high and the auctioneer starts out higher. Appearance of the item is important to the success of a sale. Top dollar is realized for items that appeal to buyers. Dirty containers and weeds are not appealing. MBS assumes no responsibility for items that do not sell and are abandoned at the end by the Owner.

Silent Auction Information
We are reinstating the silent auction with new restrictions on the number of items a seller can bring. Each seller is limited to 15 items in the silent auction. Small items can be grouped into lots and counted as one item. Place the items together in a box or some other container which might be one of the items. Silent auction items should at least have a value of $5. Complete the cards in the same manner as with the live auction. A tape is added to the cards to record silent bids.
The silent auction ends when the live auction is half way completed. The tapes are processed and the successful bidder identified by number and price on the second card kept with the item. Please remember to look at ALL the items you bid on to identify items you won and pick those up.

NOTE: The auction is over the lunch hour.  Due to ongoing COVID concerns, neither water nor food will be provided.  Auction participants can bring their own but please mask up when not eating or drinking. Try to stay away from people when having the mask off.

Click map for directions


Saturday, July 9, 2022 (Normally in June, moved for 2022)
Time: 10am – 2pm (Open to the Public)
9am – Seller Check-in only
10am – Public viewing starts
11am – Bidding starts
Where: Washington County State Fair Grounds, 12300 40th St N, Stillwater, MN 55082 – Building B (large building)


Click map for directions


Saturday, October 1, 2022
Time: 10am – 2pm (Open to the Public)
9am – Seller Check-in only
11am – Auction Start time
Where: Pavilion at Washington County State Fair Grounds, 12300 40th St N, Stillwater, MN 55082 – Hooley Hall



Don’t water immediately before you bring tree material into the auction as the water tends to continue to drain out during the auction. No silent auction items and no items that are worth than $25.00. We reserve the right to reject items that would be more appropriate for a silent auction.

Complete 2 identical 3”x5” hard stock note cards LEGIBLY with ink that does not run when wet as follows:

Buyers can begin viewing materials from 10:00 am to auction start at 11:00 a.m. and sign in to get their lucky bidder number.

Live auction starts at 11:00 a.m. with silent auction bids accepted during the first half of the live auction. Silent bidders can check their bids and make changes as necessary during a 10 minute intermission before the silent auction closes. The Live Auction then resumes until all live auction items have been given a chance to be sold.

There will be odd/even checkouts, and another person available to accept credit cards. This will expedite the check out process for the buyer. Please wait until all of the silent auction items have been logged before asking to check out. This helps avoid errors in tabulating totals.

Sellers must fill out TWO 3”x5” cards for each item they wish to sell. Please print on heavy card stock or attach to a 3 x 5 card. The cards are to be completed prior to auction check in and must include the following: Download Word Template

NOTE: we do have spare cards available if you forget some or have need of a few cards but the intent is to do this portion BEFORE you arrive and not after you arrive.

Click to download digital word template
Please print on heavy card stock or attach to a 3 x 5 heavy card if using thin paper.

LEFT HAND TOP CORNER – Member number and item number (e.g., 100-1, your second item would be 100-2, third item 100-3)
RIGHT HAND TOP CORNER – Minimum Bid (optional, not required)
CENTER – Item description: tree species, pot, etc., also any specific information such as “re-potted this spring” or “needs winter protection”.
Sellers must be members and can have unlimited non-plant material in the silent auction but are limited to 5 non-plant items in the live auction. MBS receives 15% of the proceeds.

Vendors are welcome but sales are restricted to non-plant material only.

Highest bid is the winning bid. In cases where the minimum is not met, the item returns to the owner. Checkout does not start until after the silent auction closes and the bids are tallied. The Society accepts cash, personal checks, Visa and MasterCard credit cards.