Warlow v Harrison: QBD 25 Nov 1858

Whether Auctioneer liable to bidder – vendor’s bid

Three following horses were advertised for sale at auction being the property of a gentleman and sold without reserve. The auctioneer had knocked one down as sold for 61 guineas, but the bid was from the owner. The plaintiff sued the auctioneer, (not the vendor). He had been the highest independent bidder at 60 guineas. He said that the auctioneer was his agent acting to complete the contract on his behalf. The auctioneer now appealed against a finding against him.
Held: The auctioneer’s appeal succeeded. There was no contract because the vendor had revoked the auctioneer’s authority to accept the plaintiff’s bid, and therefore no question of the impact of Section 17 of the Statute of Frauds arose.

Lord Campbell
[1858] EngR 1193, (1858) 1 El and El 295, (1858) 120 ER 920
England and Wales
CitedBexwell v Christie 3-Feb-1776
Action does not lie against an auctioneer for selling a horse at the highest price bid for him, contrary to the owner’s express directions not to let him go under a larger sum named. Otherwise, if the owner had directed the auctioneer to set the . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromWarlow 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 . .
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The claimant sought damages from an auctioneer who had failed to accept his bid, and withdrawn the items from the sale.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.


Leading Case

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.289664