Oswald v. Allen

417 F.2d 43 (2nd Cir. 1969)

Facts

Oswald (P), a coin collector was interested in Mrs. Allen's (D) coin collection. P did not speak English and was shown a number of different collections but was unaware that he was looking at two different collections. D in fact had two different collections in separate bank vaults each of which contained Swiss coins. After some negotiation, a price of $50,000 was agreed upon with neither of the parties realizing that the use of the words 'Swiss Coins' and the 'Swiss Coin Collection' were ambiguous. P thought the offer he made was for all the coins that he saw and D thought that the offer was only for her Swiss Coin Collection. P sent a letter of confirmation but that letter did not detail out the quantity of the coins sold but it did say it was for all of D’s coins. D, realizing the error, then decided that she did not want to sell the coins. The trial court dismissed P’s claim after trial. P appealed.