Auctions Law and Practice

Auctions Law and Practice

Auctions Law and Practice

Auctions Law and Practice


This extensively revised edition of Harvey and Meisel's valuable specialized work describes and analyses the law as it applies to auctions and sales. As such it will appeal to anyone connected with the auctioneering world, including agricultural auctioneers, car auctioneers, property auctioneers, and fine art auctioneers. This edition includes analysis of new English cases and the growing body of European and international law affecting auctions and sales. It is both a practical book of reference and a serious academic study of a neglected yet fascinating subject.


'Eureka!' Such was Archimedes' exclamation of delight when he discovered gold; or, to be more precise, when he saw the practical means of testing for purity between the real and the alloyed.

The simple test which I have been able to apply to Auctions: Law and Practice is to read it and, in so doing, to recognise a golden discovery of a different sort: a wide-ranging, deeply-researched and exhaustive treatise on these twin components -- law and practice -- of this complex pursuit, the realisation of money's worth by the auction process.

Sales by open pubic competition, by various rules, methods and styles, emerge out of the mists of time into commonplace by the early seventeenth century, when 'inch of candle' or 'hour glass' were the acknowledged means of concentrating the bargaining process within time and space, before 'fall of the hammer' gained almost universal favour as the more practical way of determining the point of sale, whether at the end of an ascending, or of a descending, pattern of bidding.

For the last two hundred years or so, therefore, there has developed in the United Kingdom a corpus of some forty statutes and perhaps a thousand cases producing a sophisticated overlapping network of law and an elaborate web of commercial and professional convention within which the machinery and skills of the auction are required to operate, for the mutual benefit of vendor, purchaser and -- necessarily -- practitioners, both of law and of auctioneering.

It is to the unravelling and illumination of these essential realities, in all their considerable complexity, that Brian Harvey and Frank Meisel have addressed themselves with such energy over the last two years or so and it is we, their readers, who are the beneficiaries, to their great credit. Some of their expert conclusions and commentaries will raise a few eyebrows, I think, and perhaps temperatures as well, among experienced rostrum artists whose standard procedures and interpretations of law and practice are called into serious question; but then that is what a book like this is all about and it behoves each of us to assimilate its definitive instruction whilst responding to its occasional challenge.

During this Diamond Jubilee Year of The Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers, it is my great privilege to have been given this opportunity of contributing the Foreword to what will undoubtedly become a new standard work of reference on the law and practice of auctions.

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