Appeal of Harold FrenchAnnotate this Case
Petitioner Harold French appealed a decision of the New Hampshire Board of Auctioneers (Board) that sanctioned him for submitting a fictitious bid at an auction. In 2009, Petitioner attended an auction run by another auctioneer and registered as a bidder under his own name. Of the items for sale, Petitioner asked the auctioneer about a particular painting that had a set reserve price of $10,000. When the bid reached $9,000, Petitioner bid $9,500. He later testified before the Board that he did not intend to purchase the painting, but sought to protect the reserve and ensure the painting was sold. No one else bid on the painting. The owner believed he had waived the reserve when he had gestured to the auctioneer following Petitioner’s bid. The owner subsequently requested payment for the painting from Petitioner. However, the auctioneer told the owner that the painting did not sell because the reserve was not met. The owner filed a complaint with the Board, and the Board subsequently issued its sanction against Petitioner. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the evidence presented against Petitioner supported the Board’s findings and sanction. The Court affirmed the Board’s decision.