updated 4/29/2005 12:50:24 PM ET 2005-04-29T16:50:24

Auction houses Christie’s International and Sotheby’s Holdings are used to the cut-throat competition that goes with securing rare art pieces.

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But they weren’t prepared for the way one Japanese business executive sought to decide which company would market his collection of Impressionist paintings: with a game of rock, paper, scissors.

The Wall Street Journal reports the companies were less than thrilled with the idea. Both had spent thousands of dollars to pitch their ideas for auctioning the centerpiece of the collection— a Cezanne landscape expected to fetch up to 16 million dollars.

But both submitted to the game, using paper ballots instead of hand gestures.

Christie’s closed the deal with its selection of scissors, trumping Sotheby’s pick of paper. As everyone knows, scissors cut paper.

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