HL Deb 21 February 1867 vol 185 cc700-1

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


said, that he had observed with satisfaction that since the Act passed this House last year, the auctioneers had in many instances announced in their conditions that a bidding was or biddings were reserved; and he himself was aware in several instances that this had led to no inconvenience. Now this was of the essence of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(Lord St. Leonards.)


regretted that his noble and learned Friend had not, in the present Bill, as he suggested last year, extended the measure to all sales by auction. He had been informed that the sales of tea alone in the City of London amounted to a much larger sum than resulted from all the sales of land which took place in the metropolis. There were many evils arising in the sales of personal property, of which he would give their Lordships an instance. He had been informed that the sale of some private property of a nobleman, a Member of their Lordships' House, realized £120, and the same property was two hours afterwards sold for £1,200 by auction among the dealers. That was an abuse which ought to be put an end to; and there were other evils, such as the supply of liquor, which also ought no longer to be permitted. He regretted that the Bill dealt with the subject of sales by auction in a piecemeal manner; he should not, however, offer any opposition.


begged to assure his noble Friend that he had bestowed great attention upon the subject of what was termed knockouts, and the result was a conviction that no legislation was necessary. In regard to sales by auction, generally of chattels, sellers had only to appoint respectable auctioneers with firmness enough to put a stop to any improper conduct in the auction-room by brokers or others. To stop one abuse it was not seldom that one of the conditions of sale gave a power to the auctioneer to refuse to take the bidding of any bidder, and any attempt to intimidate or to damage the sale by false statements in the room an energetic auctioneer can at once stop, and if need be have the offender turned out of the room. Still you will find that sales of common articles, according to the statements of auctioneers, would hardly fetch anything like their value without the biddings of brokers. In regard to articles of value to which his noble and learned Friend had referred, they required no legislation. Take, for example, a sale of articles of value, which in the ordinary course of sales would fetch a fair price, but there are one or two articles of great value for which few bidders would be found, and which by a combination of dealers might be knocked down at an almost nominal price, the owner has only to insert a condition that upon a few lots, or naming the lots, a bidding will be reserved, and the combination can do no mischief.

Motion agreed to: Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.