The amount fixed by the English statute is £10 or upwards and this sum has generally been translated in the United States into $50. In Arkansas, Maine, and Missouri, it is fixed at $30;79 in New Hampshire, $33; in Vermont, $40; in California, Idaho, Montana, and Utah, $200; and in Florida there is no limit. It should be noticed that at the time when the amount was originally fixed in the English statute, £10 meant a great deal more money than it does to-day. It was deemed wise in fixing the amount in the Uniform Sales Act to set the limit at $500. This figure has been changed, however, in several of the States which have passed the Act.80 It has been seriously questioned whether the seventeenth section of the Statute of Frauds enacts a desirable rule;81 and as to small transactions where the custom of reasonable business men does not prescribe a writing, it may well be that more fraud is caused than avoided by the section in question. As to transactions so considerable in amount as $500, however, it seems probable that prudent business men would not generally leave the matter on the basis of a mere oral agreement. In determining whether the value in a given case exceeds the specified amount, the question properly is, "What is the total value of all the goods bargained for in one sale or contract to sell?" The mere fact that several articles are bought and that a separate price is agreed on for each article does not necessarily prove that several contracts existed.82 This doctrine, though doubtless correct, has been carried to great lengths in the cases. In general, courts have been rather disposed to take doubtful cases out of the statute, rather than to force them within its terms, but here it is otherwise. In the leading case of Baldey v. Parker,83not only were there several articles upon which a separate price was agreed, but the articles seem to have been bought separately, one after another. The fact that a bill for the total amount was afterward ordered to be sent does not seem to alter the fact that separate sales were made, not one sale of a number of articles. The doctrine has even been carried so far as to hold where there were several successive sales by auction to one person,
Bowman v. Coon, 8 Ind. 58; Jersey City v. Harrison, 72 N. J. L. 186.
78Watta v. Friend, 10 B. & C. 448.
79 This was also the amount in New Jersey until the passage of the Uniform
Sales Act fixed the amount at $600. Eigen v. Rosolin, 86 N. J. L. 515, 89 Atl, 923.
80 It is reduced to $60 in Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
81 In Marvin v. Wallace, 6 E. A B. 728, 738, Campbell, C. J., said: "I shall rejoice when section 17 is gone. In my opinion, it does much more harm than good. It promotes fraud, rather than prevents it, and introduces distinctions which, I must confess, are not productive of justice." See similar criticisms in articles by Justice Fitijamea Stephen, 1 L. Q. Rev. 1, and Professor Burdick, 16 Col. L. Rev. 273. Compare Lord Kenyon, Chaplin v. Rogers, 1 East, 192. It "is one of the wisest laws in our statute book;" and Wright, J., Shindler v. Houston, 1 N. Y. 281, "this meritorious law."
82 Baldey v. Parker, 2 B. A C. 37;
Elliott v. Thomas, 3 ML ft W. 170; Scott v. Eastern Counties Ry. Co., 12 M. & W. 33; Bigg v. Whisking, 14 C. B. 195; Garfield v. Paris, 96 U. S. 557, 24 L. Ed. 821; Weeks v. Crie, 94 Me. 458, 48 Atl. 107, 80 Am. St. Rep. 410; Brown v. Snider, 126 Mich. 198, 85 N. W. $70; Krippendorf-Dittman Co. p. Hunt-Riddick Merc Co. (Mo. App.), 190 S. W. 44; Jewess v. Wendell, 51 N. H. 63, 12 Am. Rep. 48; Al-lard c. Greasert, 61 N. Y. 1; Tompkins v. Sheehan, 16S N. Y. 617, 63 N. E. 502.
83 B. & C. 37. See also Weeks v. Crie, 94 Me. 458, 48 Atl. 107, 80 Am. St. Rep. 410.
although each article was separately bid for and knocked down, acceptance of one article took all out of the statute.84 Where goods are to be delivered in instalments, even though each instalment is of less value than that specified in the statute, the contract is within the statute if it is in fact a single contract, and if the total value of all the instalments exceeds the prescribed amount.85 Where, however, goods belonging to several persons are sold, even though one bargain only is intended, there must be several sales in order to transfer title to the goods to a purchaser and the property of each seller must be considered separately.86