auction

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auction

a (normally public) sale of property usually conducted by competitive bidding where the item auctioned is sold to the person who makes the highest bid. It is conducted by an auctioneer, who is deemed to be the agent of the seller until the hammer falls and he announces the completion of the sale in favour of the highest bidder. Many auctions now take place on the Internet whereby the auctioneer provides the site upon which the goods are advertised.

See MOCK AUCTION.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

AUCTION, commerce, contract. A public sale of property to the highest bidder. Among the Romans this kind of sale, was made by a crier under a spear (sub hasta) stuck in the ground.
     2. Auctions are generally held by express authority, and the person who conducts them is licensed to do so under various regulations.
     3. The manner of conducting an auction is immaterial; whether it be by public outcry or by any other manner. The essential part is the selection of a purchaser from a number of bidders. In a case where a woman continued silent during the whole time of the sale, but whenever anyone bid she gave him a glass of brandy, and when the sale broke up, the person who received the last glass of brandy was taken into a private room, and he was declared to be the purchaser; this was adjudged to be an auction. 1 Dow. 115.
     4. The law requires fairness in auction sales, and when a puffer is employed to raise the property offered for sale on bona fide bidders, or a combination is entered into between two or more persons not to overbid each other, the contract may in general be avoided. Vide Puffer, and 6 John. R. 194; 8 John. R. 444; 3 John. Cas. 29; Cowp. 395; 6 T. R. 642; Harr. Dig. Sale, IV.; and the article Conditions Sale. Vide Harr. Dig. Sale, IV.; 13 Price, R. 76; M'Clel. R. 25; 6 East, R. 392; 5 B. & A. 257; S. C. 2 Stark. R. 295; 1 Esp. R. 340; 5 Esp. R. 103 4 Taunt. R. 209; 1 H. Bl. R. 81; 2 Chit. R. 253; Cowp. R. 395; 1 Bouv. Inst., n. 976.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.