GreatCollections Coin Auctions and Rare Coins
Home > Coin Prices > World and Ancient Coins > World Copper/Minor Coins  > Yap Island Pre-O'Keefe Type (c.19th Century or Earlier) Rai Stone Money  > Back to Search/Browse Page
This coin has been selected for the GreatCollections HotList
Yap Island Pre-O'Keefe Type (c.19th Century or Earlier) Rai Stone Money
Bid history:29 bids (view)
Time left:Ended
(Sun, Apr 21, 2019 09:52:20 PM Pacific Time)
Winning bidder:bidder 9
Winning bid:

GC Item ID:


Payments accepted:
PayPal and Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express), Check/Money Order, eCheck, Wire
(PayPal/Credit Card - Invoices Under $10,000)
U.S. and International (view rates)
Item activity:
847 page views
24 GC members tracking
Your personal note:
  • Imaged professionally in-house
  • Full service auction professionals
  • The lowest fees for buying or selling
Bid & buy with confidence:
Never a hidden reserve
This item qualifies for the GC Return Policy

Share Auction
Add to Calendar    

Similar Coins at GreatCollections
French Colonies 1767-A Sou RF c/s Added in 1793 PCGS Genuine VF Details at Greatcollections current Online Coin Auction

Bid: 1
GC Item: 751732
Ends: 13d, 3h
Japan (1885) M18 1/2 Sen JNDA 01-53 PCGS Genuine Unc Details at Greatcollections current Online Coin Auction

GC Item: 704364
Ends: 6d, 3h
Russia ND (1645-76) Kopek of Alexi Michaelovich Romanov PCGS VF-35 BN at Greatcollections current Online Coin Auction

GC Item: 730199
Ends: 6d, 3h
Canada - Lower Canada ND (c.1812) 1/2 Penny Token WE-11A1 PCGS AU-53 at Greatcollections current Online Coin Auction

GC Item: 639231
Ends: 6d, 2h
Additional Images (Click to enlarge)
Yap Island Pre-O'Keefe Type (c.19th Century or Earlier) Rai Stone Money Online Coin Auction at GreatCollectionsYap Island Pre-O'Keefe Type (c.19th Century or Earlier) Rai Stone Money Online Coin Auction at GreatCollections

Item Information

GC Item ID:677141
Grading Service:
GC Item Title:Yap Island Pre-O'Keefe Type (c.19th Century or Earlier) Rai Stone Money
Certification Number:
Industry Number
Description:Pleasing 12 pound specimen of the most sought after primitive money types.

Yap Stone Money, or Rai, are some of the most intriguing forms of currency in the world. Rai are smooth and round calcite stones indigenous to the Palau group of Islands. Centuries ago, after the Rai stones were quarried using tools made from clam shells, they were expeditiously transferred back to the island of Yap.

The Rai stones provenance can be traced back to the Island of Yap in the early 1800s, where they played an integral part of Yap’s financial system. Rai stones were used as a trading medium at the time, a practice that continues to this day, although, on a much smaller scale. The stones can be referred to as Fei, Stone Money or Yap Stones, but it’s the original name of Rai that remains most common today. Most examples of Rai stones are considered rare and sacred amongst the predominant Yap people.

The largest Rai stones exceed 12 feet in diameter, weighing as much as two tons each. Considering their use as currency, this technically makes the stones the world’s largest coins. Due to their large size and weight, the stones often traded ownership without physically being transferred to new locations. The larger Rai stones would usually transfer ownership at special ceremonies or large gatherings, where there were many individuals present to witness the transaction.

Transporting the stones from Malakal to Yap via boat consisted of traveling about 250 miles and was an extremely dangerous voyage, many times claiming several human lives along the way. Often the value placed on a stone was relative to the number of human lives lost during its transport. Rai stones were also valued by their age, size and weight; the older, bigger and heavier the stone, the more value it contains.

Over the span of decades, different museums around the world have made Rai Stones an integral part of their prized collections. One of these is none other than the renowned Smithsonian Museum, which houses several examples of Rai stones in its collection. Around the world, other museums in Russia, Japan, and Germany have also followed suit by adding Rai stones to their exhibits. Some have stated that Rai stones are part of their major attractions, if not their main attraction.

The first Rai Stones were produced centuries ago shortly after some Yapese fishers got lost and landed on the neighboring Palau Island. Upon seeing the limestone structures on the island, the Yapese immediately became deeply intrigued by them. They proceeded by removing a piece of limestone from one of the structures and that piece was later made into a Rai stone that was shaped like a whale. From there on, the Rai stones were used for centuries in the Island of Yap to execute transactions. The Yapese people would use axes made out of shells and learned different techniques to carve the limestone. Some Rai stones took as long as two years to produce. The Chief would usually oversee the production of the Yap stones, therefore maintaining a controlled financial system for the Island of Yap.

Since the late twentieth century it has been illegal to export Yap Rai stones from the island of Yap. Therefore, it is scarce to see examples surface in the marketplace. Examples that are available usually derive from long time sophisticated collectors, museums or private institutions that are legal to own. Here collectors have an opportunity to own a special museum piece that is seldom offered to the public and will hopefully soon reside in a deserving prized collection.

The example offered here is a pleasing and manageable sized specimen featuring a more oblong shape than most attesting to its hand hewn nature. Predominately ruddy orange in color with areas of lighter tan. Sure to take a place of prestige in whatever collection it enters.

Approximate Size: 11 1/2” x 8” x 2 3/4”.
Approximate Weight: 12 lbs. 13 oz.
Shipping/insurance for this item will be the responsibility of the winning bidder. Please contact us for more information.

Coin Information

Coin Series:

World Copper/Minor Coins

Coin Designer:

Sales Tax

Sales tax:Sales Tax is only charged on this item for residents of California if your invoice total of numismatic/bullion items is less than $1,500.

About GreatCollections

GreatCollections was founded by Ian Russell as a marketplace to serve the rare coin and bullion community. The idea is that there are many places to buy and sell coins, though very few ensure that the transaction is conducted in a safe and secure manner while keeping both parties confidential.

GreatCollections offers collectors an extensive selection of certified coins ranging in price from $25 up to $10,000s. All coins have been professionally listed and imaged by GreatCollections expert staff and most are certified by the leading third-party grading companies. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at +1-949-679-4180 or via e-mail to [email protected].