Takashi Hashiyama, president of Maspro Denkoh Corporation, an electronics company based outside of Nagoya, Japan, could not decide whether Christie's or Sotheby's should sell the company's art collection, which is worth more than $20 million, at next week's auctions in New York.
He did not split the collection - which includes an important Cézanne landscape, an early Picasso street scene and a rare van Gogh view from the artist's Paris apartment - between the two houses, as sometimes happens. Nor did he decide to abandon the auction process and sell the paintings through a private dealer.
Instead, he resorted to an ancient method of decision-making that has been time-tested on playgrounds around the world: rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper smothers rock.
The results? Christie's defeats Sotheby's in the first round. The winning throw? Scissors cut paper. In what was probably a key element in their victory, the Christie's rep in Japan got strategic advice from the 11 year-old twin daughters of a Christie's executive.