Exceptionally Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island
Lot 38
Extremely Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island
Sold for US$ 32,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Extremely Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island Extremely Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island Exceptionally Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island
Lot Details
Extremely Rare and Large Stone Currency, Yap Island
largest diameter 42in (106.7cm) ; weight approximately 600lbs (272kg)
rai, carved in the shape of a disc out of natural coarse limestone.

Together with:
Hera Ware Owen, Recipes from the South Seas
Grey, Eve, Legends of Micronesia, 2 vols, and
miscellaneous photographs, original receipt dated 1960, slides and correspondences by the field collector.

Provenance:
Acquired from the United States government on September 9, 1960 by Frank Johnson, Chief Engineer of Merchant Vessel Errol while serving in Micronesia (original receipt);
by descent to present owner.

According to Wavell (2010: 77-78), "Yap is known throughout the world for its giant stone money. Sometimes taller than the height of a man, this money is the largest and, many say, the most unusual form of money in the world. It consists of stone wheels of crystallized calcite shaped like millstones that are mined in Palau, 250 miles from Yap, and originally transported across the ocean on rafts attached to outrigger canoes. Many Yapese were killed in storms and accidents during transport, and, therefore, stone money was relatively rare, as well as somewhat restricted in size. These stone wheels, called rai, could be as small as seven inches across but were mined in larger and larger sized once European traders...supplied iron tools for mining and began to transport the stone wheels on sailing ships...

...In the fall of 1965, Yapese law prohibited the removal of Yapese stone money from the island without official taxation and approval of the transaction by the Yapese government (Gilliland 1975:18). This and later legislation has made it virtually impossible for genuine pieces of stone money to be removed from Yap, although occasionally museums obtain a special permit."
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Fredric Backlar
    Specialist - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5416
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843