Armory v. Delamire

Kingís Bench, 1722.

1 Strange 525.

Johnson, p. 30


Facts: The plaintiff found a jewel and took it to the defendantís goldsmith shop.The defendant pretended to weigh it, but stole the stones and told the plaintiff it was worth three halfpence.The defendant offered the plaintiff the money, but the plaintiff declined and asked for the jewel back.The plaintiff only got back the socket but not the stones.The plaintiff sued in trover.


Issue: What rights does a finder of property have?


Rule: The finder has a better title to the property he found than everyone except the rightful owner.


Analysis: The plaintiff gets the maximum possible value of the jewel unless the defendant produces it.


Conclusion: The jury awarded that much!


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