Harvey vs. Facie [1893]


Privy council- a body of advisers appointed by a sovereign or a Governor General

Plaintiff- Harvey

Defendant- facie

The plaintiffs through a telegram asked the defendants two questions namely,

(i) Will you sell us Bumper Hall Pen? and

(ii) Telegraph lowest cash price.

The defendants replied through telegram that the “lowest price for Bumper Hall Pen is £ 900”. The plaintiffs sent another telegram stating “we agree to buy Bumper Hall Pen at £ 900”. However the defendants refused to sell the property at the price.

The plaintiffs sued the defendants contending that they had made an offer to sell the property at £ 900 and therefore they are bound by the offer. The Privy Council did not agree with the plaintiffs on the ground that while plaintiffs had asked two questions, the defendant replied only to the second question by quoting the price but did not answer the first question but reserved their answer with regard to their willingness to sell. Thus they made no offer at all.


It was held that the mere statement of the lowest price at which the vendor would sell contained no implied contract to sell to the person who had enquired about the price.


There was no valid offer in the above case.

Offer is Different from a mere statement of intention, an invitation to offer, a mere communication of information, Casual Equity, A prospectus and Advertisement.

Mac Pherson vs Appanna [1951] - the above decision of Harvey Vs. Facie was followed in this case as well.

Harris vs. Nickerson (1873)- it was held that auction is only an advertisement to sell but the items are not put for sale. The auctioneer does not contract with  anyone who attends the sale. Though persons who have come to the auction may have the intention to purchase.