Beachcomber Coins v. Boskett

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Beachcomber Coins v. Boskett
Court Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division
Citation 400 A.2d 78
Date decided March 2, 1979

Facts

In 1916, the Denver Mint produced a small # of dimes featuring the visage of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce & trickery. Because of their rarity, their value has skyrocketed; at the same time, these coins have become an attractive item for counterfeiters!

One of these aforesaid Mercury dimes was the basis of a contract between Beachcomber Coins, Inc. ("Beachcomber") & Boskett.

Beach-comber was a retailer in coins. Mr. Boskett was a part-time coin dealer. Boskett claimed to possess a Denver 1916 Mercury dime for $450.

After a 45-minute inspection of the said coin, Beach-comber agreed to pay $500 ($2,100 in 2023) for it to Boskett.

Alas, the experts at the American Numismatic Society determined the coin Beach-comber had bought to be a counterfeit.

Procedural History

Beach-comber sued Boskett to seek rescission of the purchase due to a mutual mistake regarding the genuineness of the coin.

The judge held in favor of Boskett; the judge stated that a professional coin purchaser assumed the risk of buying a fake coin.

Issues

Is a contract voidable if both parties entered it based on a mutual mistake?

Holding

Yes. If the parties enter a contract based on a mutual mistake of fact, the contract is voidable by either party.

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