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Q : What determines the value of a piece of stone money?
There are several factors which determine the value of stone money. The first is the number of human lives that were lost on the journey to bring the stone home. The second is the kind of workmanship. Some of the more modern stones look highly polished, which has been achieved with the help of modern metal tools but they are less valuable than the ones that look less highly polished. This is because the earlier stones were finished with shell tools, which makes them more valuable. Another factor is whether the stone was dedicated to the chief who sponsored the trip to Palau. Size is also a factor, but in some cases a small stone can be more valuable than a larger stone.
Read the rest of the interview here (BBC)
Q: When did these voyages cease?
[...]David O'Keefe became very powerful and was even given a small island. He gained his influence by helping the Yapese to obtain their stone money more easily. He imported foreign metal tools from Hong Kong and other parts of the East so the stones could be quarried and finished more easily. And in exchange for copra which the local people sold him, he provided big ships which could transport the stones from Palau and Guam more easily. But the problem was that this ease of transportation caused the stones to be inflated and the people to reconsider whether it was valuable and whether it was important to keep bringing it to Yap. So in the end it was stopped, during the German administration.
originally posted by: rickymouse
Neat, I know a little about Yap. Never ask for a pin from a Micronesian girl to fix your zipper, while pointing at your zipper. They giggle and walk away. Pin means woman there.
Here is a picture from the net with my brother-in-law by some stone money. He moved back to Yap quite a while ago. He's a nice guy. www.tritonfilms.com...
I'd like to go there some day before he dies. My sister died about twenty years ago