NH court upholds auctioneer’s sanction

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The New Hampshire Supreme Court is upholding the reprimand of an auctioneer who put in a fake bid to help a colleague drive up the price of a painting.

Brian French of Warner, who has been an auctioneer for 35 years, challenged the authority of the New Hampshire Board of Auctioneers to punish him.

The board reprimanded French and put him on probation for a year. It concluded that French had bid $9,500 on a nautical painting at a 2009 auction to help auctioneer Stephen Bennett meet the reserve price of $10,000. No one bid higher, and French claimed that, as a result, it rendered his act harmless.

The board suspended Bennett’s license for 90 days and placed him on probation for two years.

French’s lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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