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Beachcomber Coins, Inc. v. Boskett

    Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Beachcomber Coins, Inc. (Plaintiff), a coin dealer bought $500 in dime, minted in 1916 at the Denver mint, from the Defendant, Boskett (Defendant). After learning the coin was counterfeit, the Plaintiff sought to have the contract rescinded.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Sometimes, when dealing with mutual mistake cases, the parties can actually agree as to the thing and still both be mistaken. In this case, both parties agreed as to the coin and its value and both parties were mistaken.

    Facts. Plaintiff brought suit, seeking to have a contract for the sale of rare coin rescinded, based on the fact that it was counterfeit. At trial of the matter, the Court found that the Plaintiff should be held to a duty to investigate its purchase and it assumed the risk in not determining the true nature of the coin before purchasing the coin. Plaintiff appealed.

    Issue. This case considers what happens when there is an agreement, or meeting of the minds, as to the object of a contract, which the parties later realize to be a mistake.

    Held. Reversed.
    The Court found that the parties did agree on the object of the agreement (i.e. the questionable coin), but that mistake still occurred, not because they did not know of the others intentions, but because they did not know the true nature of the object of their agreement.

    Discussion. When dealing with mutual mistake, understand there are two kinds of cases. First, the case in which both parties think the other means something different and neither would enter into the agreement if they had known the true intentions of the other party. Second, the case in which both parties actually mean the same thing, but neither would enter the contract if they realized that the object of the contract, in itself, was a mistake.


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