The Sale of Goods Act (Ont. s. 2; U. K. s. 62) provides: "Property" shall mean the general property in goods, and not merely a special property. "Delivery" shall mean voluntary transfer of possession from one person to another. "Sale" shall include a bargain and sale as well as a sale and delivery.
A gift of a chattel inter vivos, if not made by deed, is not complete until delivery, the change of possession being an essential part of the act of giving, though the delivery may precede, instead of accompanying or following, the words of gift. Cochrane v. Moore, 1890, 25 Q.B.D. 57, explained in In re Stoneham,  1 Ch. 149.
A contract to pledge a specific chattel, even though money be advanced on the faith of it, is not in itself sufficient to pass any special property in the chattel to the pledgee. Delivery is, in addition, necessary to complete the pledge, but it is enough if the delivery be constructive, or symbolical, instead of actual. Dublin City Distillery v. Doherty,  A.C. 823, at p. 843.
On the other hand delivery is not essential to a sale. By the law of England, which differs in this respect from the civil law and those laws founded upon it, including the Scottish law, a bargain and sale, a contract for valuable consider ation, by which it is agreed that the property in a specific chattel shall pass, is effectual to transfer the property without delivery.
Seath v. Moore, 1885, 11 App. Cas. 350, at pp. 370, 382-3, 23 R.C. 262, at pp. 277, 289; as to bargain and sale as distinguished from sale and delivery prior to the Judi cature Act, see chapter 8, 81.
By the property in goods is meant the ownership or general property, "the" property - as distinguished from "a" property, that is, merely a special property which one person may have in another person's goods. The owner of goods may transfer a special property (for instance, to a pledgee) and retain the general property. The general property may be transferred subject to a special property (as in a sale by a pledgor subject to the pledgee's rights). The general property ordinarily includes the right to possession, but the right to possession and the property may be separated. The property may be transferred and the possession retained by virtue of the unpaid seller's lien.
See 25 Halsbury, Laws of England, p. 120, note (r) ; Burdick v. Sewell, 1884, 10 App. Cas. 74, at pp. 92-3, 103, 4 R.C. 758, at pp. 775-6, 785; Attenborough v. Solomon,  A.C. 76, at p. 84; The Parchim,  A.C. 157, at p. 160.
It may be important on various grounds to ascertain precisely when the property passes. (1) As has been pointed out in chapter 1, the goods are usually at the risk of the owner (2) The rights of the parties against the goods depend upon whether the property is vested in the buyer or in the seller. See chapter 7. (3) The nature of the personal actions of the parties for breach of contract depends to some extent on whether the property has passed. See chapter 8. (4) In case of the insolvency of one of the parties, the difference between a personal action against him and the right to the goods in specie may be of the utmost consequence. See Reid v. Mac-beth'and Gray,  A.C. 223. (5) Until the property passes to the buyer, he can have only an equitable title which may be postponed to the legal claim of some third party acquired for value and in good faith. Joseph v. Lyons, 1885, 15 Q.B.D. 280; Coyne v. Lee, 1887, 14 O.A.R. 503; but in Ontario an agreement for the pledge of future goods is now within the Bills of Sale and Chattel Mortgage Act: see chapter 4, 44.