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 imaterial; 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.