Rock Paper Scissors Bus

When the two greatest auction houses in the world – Christie’s and Sotheby’s – vied for the privilege of auctioning off $20 million worth of art in 2004, little did they know that they would be forced to engage in an ancient form of ritualized combat known as rock paper scissors.

“The client was very serious about this,” said Jonathan Rendell, a deputy chairman of Christie’s in America who was involved with the transaction. “So we were very serious about it, too.”

This episode of Snap Judgment was produced by 99pi’s own Joe Rosenberg before he joined the show. It was based in part on a New York Times article by Carol Vogel.

  1. Sean Redmond

    Saisho wa gu, jan ken pon!

    That the auction houses had to square off using jan-ken-pon (as rock paper scissors is known in Japan) is not at all surprising and from a japanese perspective, it is a simple, fair & very Japanese way to solve this problem.

    This game is ubiquitous in japan and it is not uncommon for adults to use it to solve minor problems when precedence doesn’t help (say, for example, who will bowl first in a bowling team or who will sit in the front seat, if it is not immediately clear).

    I’m glad that the girls were asked for it is a game of psychology. Those who do well know how there opponents think and will play. The two girls understood this well.

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