This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
It is not necessary, however, that the terms must all be expressly set forth in the offer. If the terms can be determined from the context, or from the extrinsic evidence admissible to explain the terms of the offer, the offer is sufficiently complete.1 The context of the contract may afford the means of ascertaining the intention of the parties with reference to the price. An offer to buy "four notes of three hundred dollars each" is sufficiently definite, though no price is fixed, as the face value of the notes is intended.2
22 Cameron Coal & Mercantile Co. v. Universal Metal Co., 26 Okla. 615, 110 Ac. 720.
23 Lehigh, etc., Co. v. Scallen, 61 Minn. 63, 63 N. W. 245; Harvey v. Bank, 56 Neb. 320, 76 N. W. 870.
24 Andrews v. Uncle Joe, Diamond Broker, 44 Wash. 668, 87 Ac. 947.
25 Beach & Clarridge Co. v. American Steam Gauge & Valve Mfg. Co., 202 Mass. 177, 88 N. E. 024.
26 Atlantic Pebble Co. v. Lehigh Valley R. Co., 89 N. J. L. 336, 98 Atl. 410.
27 Atlantic Pebble Co. v. Lehigh a just result.6 It is probably well settled by the authorities, but the tendency is to restrict it to its present form. An option to a lessee to buy "at a fair valuation by appraisement has been enforced specifically on the theory that by the terms of the contract, such "fair valuation" might be made by the court.7 If the price which is to be fixed by appraisers is not the vital part of the contract,8 as where it is the price of a small quantity of furniture, which was sold together with a considerable tract of land and fixtures, the latter being sold at a fixed price,9 or where a contract for the construction and use of a large railroad bridge for a long term of years, provides for the determination of disagreements as to the schedule of trains by referees,10 the provision for appraisement does not render the contract invalid and does not prevent specific performance thereof. If.the contract has been performed by one party so that it is not practicable to restore him to his former condition,11 as where such party has made valuable improvements upon realty in reliance upon a covenant, giving to him the option to buy or to renew a lease at an appraised value,12 or in reliance on a covenant by which the lessor agrees to buy such improvements at an agreed valuation,13 equity will determine the value of the realty or improvements, or the amount of rent to be paid on renewal.
Valley R. Co., 89 N. J. L. 336, 98 Atl. 410.
28 Drake v. Scott, 136 Ala. 261, 96 Am. St. Rep. 25, 33 So. 873; National Bank v. R. R., 44 Minn. 224, 20 Am. St. Rep. 566, 46 N. W. 342, 560.
29 Cothran v. Witham, 123 Ga. 190, 51 S. E. 285.
1 Christian, etc., Co. v. Water Supply Co., 106 Ala. 124, 17 So. 352; Hayes v. O'Brien, 149 111. 403, 23 L. R. A. 555, 37 N. E. 73; Wells v. Alexander, 130 N. Y. 642, 15 L. R. A. 218, 29 N. E. 142.
2 Ubbinga v. Bank, 108 la. 221, 78 N. W. 840.
An offer of itself indefinite, as an offer to donate four acres, may be made definite by locating the tract by mutual agreement.3 Where a contract failed to show in what county the land was located, but the vendor put vendee in possession, the contract is sufficiently complete.4 If the context shows that prompt performance is intended, the contract is sufficiently definite, though no time is expressly fixed.5 An omission to fix the time during which performance shall last, may be supplied by the ordinary rules of construction. An offer not to compete in the practice of medicine, nothing being said as to time, is said to be sufficiently definite, since it means for the life of the promisor.6 An order for "one car straights and also one car culls" of bananas, with the additional provision "fruit must be fine," together with an acceptance "we will fill your order for one car each straights and culls, and will wire you price before shipping," was said to amount to a complete contract, the agreement to wire the price before shipping being without consideration and no part of the contract.7