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A document under which personal property is transferred from a seller to a buyer.
An agreement in writing, under seal, by which a man transfers the right or interest he has in goods and cbattels, to another. As the law imports a consideration when an agreement is made by deed, a bill of sale alters the property.
The Act of Congress of January 14, 1793, provides, that when any ship or vessel which shall have been registered pursuant to that act, or the act thereby partially repealed, shall in whole or in part be sold or transferred to a citizen of the United States, in every such sale or transfer, there shall be some instrument or writing in the nature of a bill of sale, which shall recite at length the certificate of registry; otherwise the said ship or vessel shall be incapable to be registered anew.
In England a distinction is made between a bill of sale for the transfer of a ship at sea, and one for the conveyance of a ship in the country; the former is called a grand bill of sale, the latter, simply, a bill of sale. In this country there does not appear to be such a distinction.
In general, the maritime law requires that the transfer of a ship should be evidenced by a bill of sale. But a contract to sell, accompanied by delivery of possession, is sufficient.