Bexwell v. Christie

98 Eng. Rep. 1150 (1776)

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Bexwell v. Christie

England and Wales High Court of Justice
98 Eng. Rep. 1150 (1776)

Facts

Bexwell (plaintiff) engaged Christie (defendant) to act as an auctioneer and to sell his horse in a public auction. The terms of the public auction specified that the highest bidder on each good would be named that good’s purchaser. However, Bexwell directed Christie not to let the horse go for under 151, implying that he wanted the auctioneer to ensure that the bidding went above 151. In the public auction terms, Bexwell did not specify that bidding should start at or above 151. At auction, Christie sold the horse to the highest bidder for an amount less than 151. Bexwell sued, asserting that the auction was unlawful because Christie had let the horse go to the highest bidder despite Bexwell’s explicit instructions. In deciding whether to let the case go forward, the court considered the role of an owner in a public auction and addressed the propriety of allowing an owner to engage a third party to bid up the price for a good being sold at public auction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mansfield, J.)

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