ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Another Case Where Mistake Doctrine Doesn't Help

Not the brooch at issue

Jenny Gross reports in The New York Times about an English art historian who bought a silver brooch at an arts fair thirty-six years ago for the equivalent of $35.  Recently, the woman discovered via a YouTube video that the brooch was a Victorian-era collectible designed by William Burges and valued at around $12,000.

As such stories go, this is not all that thrilling. We need some more zeroes. Sitll, it just gives us another opportunity to hammer home the point that, under modern contracts law, if you are mistaken about the value of something you sell, you likely bare the risk of your mistake. In this case, although I do not number among the cognoscenti of Victorian jewelry, I would say, unless you have a boat in need of an anchor, you are better off without this particular ornament.  Give me an Eagle Diamond or Rose of Aberlone any day.

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