Stone Money, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia
Lot 2034
Stone Money, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia
Sold for US$ 10,370 inc. premium

Lot Details
Stone Money, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia
Largest width 11 1/2in
carved from crystallized calcite, the irregularly shaped circular disk pierced through the center and with natural stone undulations on the surface.

Provenance:
Field Collected, ca. 1960
Eurasian Antiques, Honolulu, HI
Private Collection, Hawaii

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."

Saleroom notices

  • Provenance should read: Field Collected by William Charlock in the late 1950's to early 1960's
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