- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — Winning a playground game of rock, paper, scissors has paid off handsomely for the august auction house Christie’s.

The auctioneer made a handy profit last week by selling four paintings for $17.8 million, having earned the right to conduct the sale by beating rival Sotheby’s in what has been called the most expensive game of rock, paper, scissors ever played.

Takashi Hashiyama, president of Maspro Denkoh Corp., which owned the artwork, had asked Sotheby’s and Christie’s to each choose a weapon — rock, paper or scissors — because he could not decide which auction house to use for the sale.

“I sometimes use such methods when I cannot make a decision,” Mr. Hashiyama told the New York Times. Using a game of chance to make a decision is not unusual in Japan.

At a meeting earlier this year in Tokyo, the auction houses were asked to make their selections and write them down.

Christie’s chose scissors, defeating Sotheby’s paper. (Scissors cut paper, paper smothers rock, rock smashes scissors.) And so the collection was sold as part of Christie’s sale of impressionist and modern art.

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