Mainprice v Westley: 4 Jul 1865

Liability of auctioneer. Sale without reserve. Undisclosed principal – 1. A declaration alleged that the defendant, an auctioneer, published handbills representing that at a certain day and place he would offer certain premises for peremptory sale by public auction ; that the plaintiff, confiding in those representations, attended at that time and place, whose bid was the highest except a sum bidden by an agent on the part of the vendor, but the defendant would not accept the plaintiff as a purchaser. It appeared in evidence that the handbills stated that on the day and place in question the premises would be offered by the defendant ”for peremptory sale by auction, by direction of the mortgagee with a power of sale, subject to such conditions as will be then declared. For further particulars apply to Mr. H., solicitor, or to the auctioneer.’ H. was the person who brought in the premises. Held, that no contract on which the defendant could be sued personally was proved. 2. Semble, per Cockburn C.J. and Shee J, dubitante Blackburn J., that where an auctioneer, without disclosing his principal, advertises a sale without reserve, he personally contracts that there shall be a sale without reserve.


Cockburn CJ, Shee J


[1865] EngR 651, (1865) 6 B and S 420, (1865) 122 ER 1250




England and Wales


CitedWarlow v Harrison CExC 26-Nov-1859
Unless public notice of this was given, a bid from the seller himself was fraudulent. He appealed against rejection of his claim against the auctioneer.
Held: The appeal failed on the existing pleadings, but said that the plaintiff might . .

Cited by:

CitedBarry v Davies (T/A Heathcote Ball and Co) and Others CA 27-Jul-2000
The claimant sought damages from an auctioneer who had failed to accept his bid, and withdrawn the items from the sale.
Held: In an auction without reserve the auctioneer was not entitled to withdraw an item on the basis that the highest or . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.281563