Contracts I, Pages 433–436

Wood v. Boynton

Supreme Court of Wisconsin, 1885

Facts:

The defendants are jewelry businessmen. Plaintiff brought a stone to defendant and asked what it was. Defendant did not know, never having seen an uncut diamond, but offered a dollar for it. Plaintiff declined but told him about the location it was found. Plaintiff later went back and offered to sell him the "topaz." Plaintiff sold the stone to defendants for one dollar. The stone was afterwards ascertained to be a rough diamond worth $700. Plaintiff then gave $1.10 back to defendant (accounting for interest), and demanded the stone be returned, which defendants refused.

Procedural History:

The circuit court judge directed a verdict for the defendants.

Issues:

  • Was defendant guilty of fraud which would divest him of title?

  • Was there a mistake made by plaintiff of delivering an item she didn't sell due to a mistake in fact as to its identity?

Rule:

The value of the property sold, as compared with the price paid, is no ground for a rescission of a sale.

Reasoning:

  • Defendant could not have gotten his money back if he paid $500 for it when plaintiff was told it was diamond but did not know or claim so and it turned out not to be.

  • Neither party knew the value of the stone when the stone was sold, so defendant could not be guilty of fraud.

Holding:

There is no case of fraud or mistake in the sale that will entitle her to a rescission of such sale. Affirmed.

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