While the general rule that an agent cannot himself be interested in a deal holds, yet the agent may be personally interested therein if the principal knows of the facts.20 But the mere fact that the property was to be sold at a fixed price does not make the rule inapplicable. 21 "It is not always the case that a broker may not purchase for himself. If it is apparent that in making the purchase his object is to acquire title for himself, and the seller contracts with him with a knowledge of this fact, or the facts connected with his purchase are of such a character that notice could be implied that he was dealing with the broker as purchaser, and not as his broker, we see no reason, in such a case, for the application of the rule that an agent will not be permitted, to his own advantage, to deal with the property of his principal."22
17 Citing Coles v. Thecotlilck. 9 Ves. 2.34. 247.
18 McDonald v. Lord, 26 How. Pr. 407 (N. Y. 1864).
19 Clark v. Bird. 60 App. Div. 284 (N. Y. 1901). See Sec. 68, 69 infra.
20 Kingsley v. Wheeler, 95 Minn. 363 (1905).
In Pomeroy v. Wimer, 167 Ind. 440 (1906), the court, at pages 450-452, first discusses the rule that an agent with discretionary power to sell or exchange must exercise that discretion for the sole benefit of his principal, but where he acts as a mere middleman he may act for both parties.23 The court then said: "If an agent, under the limitations and terms above stated, may act for both parties, and recover compensation from both, there can be no sound reason why one who engages, under similar restrictions, to find a purchaser or trader for another may not himself become the purchaser or trader, as well as a stranger, provided that in doing so he violates no obligation, and fully discloses to his employer his personal relations to the subject-matter. The fact that he has undertaken, to find a purchaser for the property does not impress upon the agent any particular incapacity to buy or trade for the property himself, nor make a trade with him less profitable to his employer. And if the principal, with full knowledge of all the material facts concerning the transaction, enters into negotiations with him and consummates a trade, the transaction is valid and the agent entitled to his compensation.24 In the case of Stewart v. Mather, 32 Wis. 344 (1873), it is said: 'Where the broker merely engages to find a purchaser at such price as may be agreed upon, if he presents himself as such purchaser and the seller, with full knowledge of that fact, so receives and enters into negotiations with him and a sale is consummated, the broker may recover his commissions.' "
²¹ Ruckman v. Bergholz, 37 N. J. L. 441 (1874).
22 Texas Brokerage Co. v. Barkley, 109 S. W. 1002 (Tex. 1908).
²³ See Sec. 48-57 supra.
In another case,25 it was held that when the agent has fully discharged his trust and sold property to a third person in good faith, having no interest in the same at the time, he may afterwards acquire the title from the purchaser, and such fact, or the fact that his wife acquired the title, will not afford ground for avoiding the sale.