I coordinate an auction for kids' private school as well. We do a silent and a live auction. One of our biggest items each year is the "Principal for a Day". We also sell reserved parking spots, and front row seats for concerts and graduation. Artwork projects are also very popular. We have had photo quilts, storage benches, pasta bowls, tea sets, etc. Some classes choose to get really good sporting event tickets and then put a package together around that.
Our crowd loves a "Restaurant Frenzy", where restaurant certificates are sold at face value or above during the Live Auction. Truly, the Live Auction gets greater promotion of the auction items and raises more funds. We also do a "Fund a Need" during our Live Auction toward our Scholarship Fund. This is money that is totally tax deductible and goes directly toward the cause of educating children in our schools.
Without knowing how you log the sales (do you use NCR copies for bid sheets?), or if you have a filing system by bidder number, it is very difficult for me to give you specific suggestions to make your check out smoother.
Most auctions I work with utilitize "Express Pay" where the guest gives their credit card and registration workers manually run it through an imprint machine and the guest signs. Then if is is a manual auction, the yellow copies of bid forms in the bidder's file folder, also filing the certificates in this manner.
At the end of the evening, Express guests just come through the Express line, get their items in their folder handed to them and they are on their way home. Receipts are mailed in about a week. Only guests who chose not to Express Pay need to wait in a line to pay and get their items. We've made our registration and Express Pay so convenient that we have probably 85% of our 300+ guests use it at our school's auction.
Furthermore, for larger items, we use a "Costco" approach. We allow them to get their items from the auction areas, we have assitants throughout the room to help carry, and someone verifies their receipts from the banking room with the pink copies of the bid sheets that are now taped to the item.
Of course, using an computerized auction software helps tremendously as well.
This post is older, but I do hope it helps someone.