Author Topic: Rai Stones  (Read 1306 times)

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Offline Hitesh

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Rai Stones
« on: February 19, 2015, 05:40:05 PM »
Just something interesting I found surfing the internet!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rai_stones
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 09:51:12 PM by Quant.Geek »
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Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 09:49:11 PM »
I always wanted this when I was a kid ever since I read about these in the "Guinness Book of World Records".  There are smaller ones that are more approachable to collectors if you can find one.  Rarely comes up for purchase though.  This one is from the ANS collection and weights 25lbs...



The following one is currently for auction, if you can spare $18,000+:



http://www.greatcollections.com/Coin/189804/Yap-Rai-Stone--Rare-Museum-Piece
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 10:42:00 PM by Quant.Geek »
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 11:19:56 PM »
The ultimate fiduciary currency.

Perhaps collecting coins has made me into a cynic. I immediately started wondering how difficult it would be to fake that and why the Chinese aren't already producing them in plastic (shipping not included).

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 11:24:46 PM »
Fortunately, all known rai stones have been accounted for and with a long provenance.  Since they don't make these anymore (I believe the last one was in the 30s), you should be OK in regards to finding legitimate ones.  Unfortunately, they are quite expensive, even for the small, tiny ones.  They typically reach the $5,000 to $6,000 range and the large ones have gone up to $25,000 and those are the ones you can hold with a slight chance of a hernia.  The extremely large ones are stationary and used to promote their tourism as it is quite popular with tourists...
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Offline Hitesh

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2015, 03:26:00 PM »
I was actually surprised see this. Never even thought something like this might actually exist. But I guess this is only feasible for places with low population.
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Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 04:32:44 PM »
I guess this is only feasible for places with low population.

In regards to what?  Size?  Remember, the largest stones were meant to be stationary and hence it doesn't matter.  The smaller stones were actually carried around and used.  So, population has nothing to do with it.  It could have been metal or other precious "commodity" in a large population setting.  To make things even more interesting, the rai was NOT native to the island.  It was quarried elsewhere and brought over to the island in canoes!  Hence the reason for the high status they played.  It required A LOT of work and work is NOT cheap regardless of the society you are in...
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Offline Hitesh

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Re: Rai Stones
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2015, 07:06:03 PM »
Thank you for clarifying that.

In reference to your canoes remark this paragraph from Wikipedia seems particularly apt -

"The names of previous owners are passed down to the new one. In one instance, a large rai being transported by canoe and outrigger was accidentally dropped and sank to the sea floor. Although it was never seen again, everyone agreed that the rai must still be there, so it continued to be transacted as genuine currency."
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