Pick a Prize (Chinese auction) is a combination of a raffle and an auction. Also known as penny social, penny sale, tricky tray or pick-a-prize according to local custom, or to avoid causing offense.

The difference between a 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 ticket buyers to choose which prize to focus on, as opposed to having a first, second, third, etc. prize.

In a Chinese auction, bidders are not prospective buyers (as in the conventional 
English auction). Instead, they buy tickets, which are chances to win items. The tickets themselves are often inexpensive and bidders may buy hundreds of these tickets. Bidders buy as many tickets as they like, and bid them on any item(s) they want by placing one or more ticket in the "hat" beside the item(s) they are trying to win. At the conclusion of bidding, one winning ticket is drawn from the "hat" beside each item, and the item is given to the owner of that ticket.

A bidder may increase the chance of winning by buying and bidding more tickets on a specific item. Although there is generally no limit to the number of tickets a given individual may bid on a specific item, the chance of winning depends on the total number of tickets bid by all individuals.


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