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Frisco
02-05-2011, 06:13 PM
I'm planning a trip back in time. I'd like to go back more than a few years but not sure what to take with me that would give me money to spend on room and board, etc., until I can get settled in or decide to come back.

It would be great if it was something (a commodity?) that would be worth more in the distant past than it is now and could be liquidated easily without raising suspicion. I don't want to take knowledge that could be sold; that would fowl up history more than I'm willing to (although my iPod is fully charged and loaded with Beatles songs, but I would feel awkward about selling those songs and taking credit for writing them). And I need to be able to carry it in a suitcase so I can't do something like take back a barge full of grain.

Suggestions?

The Conqueror Worm
02-05-2011, 06:37 PM
Raw gold, flakes, dust or nuggets. Perhaps aluminum depending on the era.

Arkcon
02-05-2011, 06:38 PM
The topic has come up often on this board, but my searching here is currently borked, you may have better luck. I think a small amount of gold should work fine for most times and places -- it worked for Lt. Cmr. Data and for David Bowie, should work for you as well. 'Tho that does fail your "worth more back then than now"

Bag of Mostly Water
02-05-2011, 06:42 PM
You don't say how far back in time you are going. If you are going before about 1890, metallic aluminum was as valuable as silver. 100 years earlier metallic aluminum was worth more per oz than gold.

Rokman
02-05-2011, 06:43 PM
Can I make a suggestion to where/when you travel?

Ancient Alexandria, specifically for it's Library.

SmartAlecCat
02-05-2011, 06:44 PM
Need more details on era of trip. Could be something as simple as salt or sugar.

robert_columbia
02-05-2011, 06:50 PM
You could check antique dealers to see how much actual cold hard cash from that era goes for. If you can buy old instances of modern day currencies for less than they were worth back then (due to inflation), you could even come out ahead. E.g. buying antique WW1 era United States Dollars (bills, coins) @ 2 modern USD each could land you ahead in terms of raw value. You don't even have to take the currency of the area you are planning to visit if you can convert it in the past, for instance you could take British Pounds back to the California Gold Rush and convert them at a bank in San Francisco.

Or, use your knowledge of history to bet. Better be smart with this, don't make too many wagers with organized crime or they might get angry when you keep winning. Maybe go to a modern library and research horse race winners, then go back in time and bet on the winners? That way, a modest investment into getting local currency could really pay off.

Martin Hyde
02-05-2011, 06:59 PM
1. Commodity that is much more common now than it was back then (gold and silver don't really qualify, but if you go back far enough so little gold mining had happened that it would probably be a favorable exchange.)

2. Information you can use to create wealth. Commodities there is a hard limit to how much you can physically move; with the right information you could really rake it in.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
02-05-2011, 07:52 PM
Diamonds are forever, so says 007.

But wait!

Prior to the 18th Century, amethysts were worth vast sums, but are quite cheap today!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethyst#Value

Up to the 18th century, amethyst was included in the cardinal, or most valuable, gemstones (along with diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald). However since the discovery of extensive deposits in locations such as Brazil, it has lost most of its value.



You might get a huge bang for your buck.

california jobcase
02-05-2011, 08:28 PM
Just go to the area around where Sutter's Mill would be in California, about 1800. Get a bunch of gold. Then go where and when you want to use the gold.

panache45
02-05-2011, 08:29 PM
If you're going to mid-1630s Holland, tulip bulbs were more than worth their weight in gold . . . especially if you take varieties that hadn't existed then.

robert_columbia
02-05-2011, 08:39 PM
You could check antique dealers to see how much actual cold hard cash from that era goes for. If you can buy old instances of modern day currencies for less than they were worth back then (due to inflation), you could even come out ahead. E.g. buying antique WW1 era United States Dollars (bills, coins) @ 2 modern USD each could land you ahead in terms of raw value. You don't even have to take the currency of the area you are planning to visit if you can convert it in the past, for instance you could take British Pounds back to the California Gold Rush and convert them at a bank in San Francisco.



Or, take a currency that is currently (2011) not legally usable today, and use or exchange it in the past. You might be able to obtain historical obsolete non-precious-metal currency in 2011 for a cheaper amount than you would pay for old US money, since old US money is still, in theory, usable, and so you aren't going to be able to convince an antiques dealer to part with $1000 of Civil War-era Union money for anything less than $1000 since they could just as well walk out and deposit it in the bank or spend it as $1000.

Aspidistra
02-06-2011, 03:43 AM
Going back before about 1700? Spices and other non-perishable foodstuffs (cocoa, sugar). Pepper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_pepper#Postclassical_Europe) would be a good one.

madmonk28
02-06-2011, 04:13 AM
Bring a suitcase full of Neosporin and live like a king.

Kobal2
02-06-2011, 04:37 AM
Take a pig. No matter where and when you end up, a pig will always be in high demand and readily convertible to the local coinage. Plus, you can eat it in a pinch.

Francis Vaughan
02-06-2011, 04:56 AM
If you want to leave as small a footprint as possible, and attract as little attention as possible, you need commodities, not rarities. So gold is almost always good, especially if you have it fashioned into simple items, like rings. Nobody in almost any era is going to question selling something as simple as a gold ring. Metals that are so rare they carry immense value will always attract attention. Try selling a few ounces of Rhodium at your local pawn shop.

Other than that, commodities that would be commonly traded by travelling merchants in that era. So pepper might be good in the right place and time. But gold is still hard to beat. It is waterproof, corrosion resistant, won't perish, and highly portable.

Eventually the most valuable thing you can take back is knowledge. Clearly a head full of modern technology is not a good idea. But knowledge of the history of the place that enables good investment choices to be made are clearly worthwhile. You can't live forever as the guy that keeps selling his wedding ring. But the guy that has the knack of modestly investing in the right merchant ship sailing out of Venice, or other speculative venture, will be happy, rich, and mostly unnoticed.

Bill Door
02-06-2011, 07:42 AM
Here's (http://www.glabarre.com/item/Baltimore___Ohio_Railroad__4_353_000_Bond/3823/c84) a 4.35 million dollar railroad bond on the B&O Railroad from 1942. You could pick it up for $150. That's not a bad return on your investment.

Susanann
02-06-2011, 08:45 AM
What do I use for money when I travel back in time?
Suggestions?

Gold!

Gold always was, always will be, everywhere and anywhere, valuable .

Kobal2
02-06-2011, 09:08 AM
Gold!

Gold always was, always will be, everywhere and anywhere, valuable .

That's what the Spanish thought - and what bankrupted their Empire ;)

JWT Kottekoe
02-06-2011, 09:54 AM
Remember what most impressed Ishi when he walked out of the wilderness, glue and matches.

The Tao's Revenge
02-06-2011, 10:08 AM
I'm planning a trip back in time. I'd like to go back more than a few years but not sure what to take with me that would give me money to spend on room and board, etc., until I can get settled in or decide to come back.

It would be great if it was something (a commodity?) that would be worth more in the distant past than it is now and could be liquidated easily without raising suspicion. I don't want to take knowledge that could be sold; that would fowl up history more than I'm willing to (although my iPod is fully charged and loaded with Beatles songs, but I would feel awkward about selling those songs and taking credit for writing them). And I need to be able to carry it in a suitcase so I can't do something like take back a barge full of grain.

Suggestions?

Why not books? You can get copies of books from many eras free from the Gutenburg project, further if the printing press hasn't been invented yet you could use a handwriting font to print them out. It'd be dirt cheap, and if the book was era appropriate, wouldn't mess with the time line. Further it'd be trivial to make a program to distort the fonts a bit to simulate hand writing irregularities. A modern could catch that, but how could someone who has no idea of a printing press?

The Tao's Revenge
02-06-2011, 10:10 AM
Remember what most impressed Ishi when he walked out of the wilderness, glue and matches.

The Ancient Egyptians had glue.

JWT Kottekoe
02-06-2011, 11:07 AM
The Ancient Egyptians had glue.

The OP didn't state when and where he was going. I was imagining what he might bring if he happened to land in a hunter-gatherer group.

Chronos
02-06-2011, 11:14 AM
Quoth Bosda:
Prior to the 18th Century, amethysts were worth vast sums, but are quite cheap today!"Quite cheap" is an understatement: I once bought a chunk of amethyst the size of my fist for five bucks. I figure that regardless of how rare or common it is, it was pretty enough to be worth it. I hadn't realized that it was ever anything more than just decorative.

RaftPeople
02-06-2011, 11:16 AM
Take a pig. No matter where and when you end up, a pig will always be in high demand and readily convertible to the local coinage. Plus, you can eat it in a pinch.

Are pigs valuable in countries that are primarily Muslim?

carnivorousplant
02-06-2011, 11:36 AM
I should think that counterfeit money would be easy to pass in the nineteenth century and before.

Kobal2
02-06-2011, 11:51 AM
Are pigs valuable in countries that are primarily Muslim?

Good point. A horse, then.

QRK..--..
02-06-2011, 12:19 PM
Pencils. They are useful, easily transportable items that are low tech and reasonably unremarkable. The relative cost of a modern mass produced pencil is going to be far cheaper then an old bespoke pencil. Hopefully they will all be consumed in use to avoid any time pollution.

Superfluous Parentheses
02-06-2011, 12:28 PM
Anywhere outside China, before 550 AD, you might make a lot of money with a handful of silk worms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyx_mori).

More recently, some now common fossils might be extremely valuable.

emmaliminal
02-06-2011, 12:51 PM
Anywhere outside China, before 550 AD, you might make a lot of money with a handful of silk worms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyx_mori).Further in this direction of thinking, something natural, so as not to introduce even the idea of an unknown technology, but difficult to come by in the locality & era where you'll be traveling. Maybe a refined natural dyestuff (http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/7208299-AA.shtml?lnav=dyes.html) like indigo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigo_dye#History_of_natural_indigo) or cochineal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal#History)? Some handmade cashmere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashmere_wool#History) scarves? Also study up on your practical chemistry, and you can be like Kirk vs. the Gorn (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxQqJbW-ohw&feature=channel).

mhendo
02-06-2011, 12:55 PM
Gold!

Gold always was, always will be, everywhere and anywhere, valuable .Well, for certain values of "always" and certain values of "everywhere."

Try taking a gold nugget to the native peoples of the New Guinea highlands in the late nineteenth century and see how much good it does you. Also, historical evidence suggests that some California Indian tribes were aware of the shiny metal in the alluvial sands of their creeks and rivers well before the California gold rush, but never had any use for it.

Chronos
02-06-2011, 02:18 PM
Forget about arguing with Susanann on this topic. She's unshakably convinced that gold both never changes in value and is perpetually increasing in value.

Susanann
02-06-2011, 05:01 PM
Forget about listening to people who have little or no GOLD, because they dont know the value of Gold.

If you are stupid enough to show up somewhere/sometime with just a handful of pencils, glue, pigs, matches, counterfeit money, tulips, salt, sugar, etc. , instead of....... a big bag full of pure GOLD, then you deserve!!!! to be destitute and starving.

Nothing is better than Gold.

mhendo
02-06-2011, 05:43 PM
Forget about listening to people who have little or no GOLD, because they dont know the value of Gold.

If you are stupid enough to show up somewhere/sometime with just a handful of pencils, glue, pigs, matches, counterfeit money, tulips, salt, sugar, etc. , instead of....... a big bag full of pure GOLD, then you deserve!!!! to be destitute and starving.

Nothing is better than Gold.
Would you mind linking to whatever it is that you are parodying here?

JoelUpchurch
02-06-2011, 06:17 PM
I suspect that before the 20th century a bolt of high quality nylon fabric would be worth more that it's weight in gold. Even after silkworms were introduced in the west, high quality silk fabrics commanded high prices.

Derleth
02-06-2011, 07:15 PM
Would you mind linking to whatever it is that you are parodying here?I'm flashing on the old guy from Treasure of the Sierra Madre dancing around, with a little bit of Scrooge McDuck and the prospector from that Rankin & Bass Christmas special.

pkbites
02-06-2011, 07:29 PM
It's been more than 24 hours. It'd be nice if the OP came back and specified where/when he's going.

If it's in the last 100 years in the USA the problem is easily taken care of. Go to an antique coin dealer and buy about $2 worth of currency for the time you're going back to. Then, before you go, look up results for a horse track. After a few days you can win hundreds of thousands of dollars. Problem solved.


If you're going way, wayyy back, simply take a 21st century semi-auto rifle and pistol and ammo. Who needs money?

(best to get a rifle/pistol that takes the same ammo/mags, like a Kel-Tec sub2000 and a Glock).

Frisco
02-06-2011, 08:29 PM
Some helpful ideas here as my itinerary hasn't been finalized. But for now, let's assume my first three locations are:

* Egypt around 50 BC. Like to chat up Cleopatra and peak at the library at Alexandria.
* American midwest around 1200 AD to see what those Cahokia kids were all about.
* Prague in 1787 to down some beverages with - and check out the latest Opera by - Mozart.

I do intend to take firearms and ammo, bit I would hope to only use these for self defense and a bit of food -- no crimes.

Johanna
02-06-2011, 08:32 PM
Remember all those Confederate banknotes Great-Grandpappy saved in the attic? How everybody laughed at him for holding onto obsolete currency? Well now he gets the last laugh!

MEBuckner
02-06-2011, 08:45 PM
Here's (http://www.glabarre.com/item/Baltimore___Ohio_Railroad__4_353_000_Bond/3823/c84) a 4.35 million dollar railroad bond on the B&O Railroad from 1942. You could pick it up for $150. That's not a bad return on your investment.
And if you could also pick up Short Line, Reading Railroad, and Pennsylvania Railroad....

Susanann
02-06-2011, 09:10 PM
* Egypt around 50 BC. Like to chat up Cleopatra and peak at the library at Alexandria.
* American midwest around 1200 AD to see what those Cahokia kids were all about.
* Prague in 1787 to down some beverages with - and check out the latest Opera by - Mozart.

I do intend to take firearms and ammo, bit I would hope to only use these for self defense and a bit of food -- no crimes.
A bag of GOLD will certainly allow you to live a wealthy lifestyle in both 50BC Egypt and in 1787 Prague, you can buy all the food and beverages you want in either place and you will be able to stay in the finest inns.

As far as the American midwest in 1200AD, as a stranger in indian land, you probably will not live long enough to need any money.

medicated
02-06-2011, 09:22 PM
A bag of GOLD will certainly allow you to live a wealthy lifestyle in both 50BC Egypt and in 1787 Prague, you can buy all the food and beverages you want in either place and you will be able to stay in the finest inns.

As far as the American midwest in 1200AD, as a stranger in indian land, you probably will not live long enough to need any money.


As a foreigner, not speaking the language, and not familiar with the customs, I would imagine that you'd lose your gold very quickly in any of these places. A month, tops, before you're robbed and/or murdered.

Imagine, if you will: you arrive in rural Nigeria tomorrow, speaking only (say) Dutch, and carrying a kilo of gold. Anyone care to take odds on your still having that gold in a week?

Susanann
02-06-2011, 09:38 PM
As a foreigner, not speaking the language, and not familiar with the customs, I would imagine that you'd lose your gold very quickly in any of these places. A month, tops, before you're robbed and/or murdered.

Imagine, if you will: you arrive in rural Nigeria tomorrow, speaking only (say) Dutch, and carrying a kilo of gold. Anyone care to take odds on your still having that gold in a week?
Well, I am sure you would bury/hide most of it the main stash, and only carry a few pounds of it with you at a time. Paid bodyguards should protect you from most of the riff raff criminals, and also, with a bag of gold, you wont be staying in the bad parts of town.

I wouldnt worry about not speaking the language in either Egypt nor Prague, they both had a lot of travelers/traders constantly passing thru.

But yeah, not speaking the language nor being familiar with indian customs, you will be dead in less than a week after landing in 1200AD Ohio/Minnesota.

EdwardLost
02-06-2011, 09:43 PM
Some helpful ideas here as my itinerary hasn't been finalized. But for now, let's assume my first three locations are:

* Egypt around 50 BC. Like to chat up Cleopatra and peak at the library at Alexandria.
* American midwest around 1200 AD to see what those Cahokia kids were all about.
* Prague in 1787 to down some beverages with - and check out the latest Opera by - Mozart.

I do intend to take firearms and ammo, bit I would hope to only use these for self defense and a bit of food -- no crimes.

For Egypt: Needles
America: Knives (and a gun for personal protection)
Prague: Ballpoint pens

mhendo
02-06-2011, 09:51 PM
Well, I am sure you would bury/hide most of it the main stash, and only carry a few pounds of it with you at a time. Paid bodyguards should protect you from most of the riff raff criminals, and also, with a bag of gold, you wont be staying in the bad parts of town. .There's something wring with this post.

GOLD

There, fixed it for you.

medicated
02-06-2011, 10:31 PM
Well, I am sure you would bury/hide most of it the main stash, and only carry a few pounds of it with you at a time. Paid bodyguards should protect you from most of the riff raff criminals, and also, with a bag of gold, you wont be staying in the bad parts of town.

I wouldnt worry about not speaking the language in either Egypt nor Prague, they both had a lot of travelers/traders constantly passing thru.

But yeah, not speaking the language nor being familiar with indian customs, you will be dead in less than a week after landing in 1200AD Ohio/Minnesota.

You neither speak the language, nor know the customs, right? How do you find these bodyguards, and how can you determine that they aren't just local thugs who'll beat you until you give up your gold, and perhaps even to death that they might avoid the rope? Gold isn't magical. It doesn't overcome the fact that you are a complete idiot in your new cultural context.

None of the three relevant societies had police or the rule of law according to anything like modern standards. I ask again: You arrive in rural Nigeria tomorrow, speaking only (say) Dutch, and carrying a kilo of gold. Anyone care to take odds on your still having that gold in a week?

The Tao's Revenge
02-06-2011, 11:46 PM
Well given your itinerary prolly the most valuable thing you can take is an immunity to smallpox so get vaccinated or get a booster. Though you may want to get some scaring simulated, lest attract attention. Further with your modern diet you're probably the height of royalty back then. You may want to get vaccinated for a other nasties too.


Plus given your knowledge of germ theory you could prolly make a decent wage as a wound healer, you don't need to tell them why you're successful. No one could steal your knowledge, and you'd be able to get a good enough wage to live pretty comfortably.

Hennessy
02-07-2011, 12:29 AM
Knowledge is your best bet... You today can be the king of yesterday. Forget even trying to fit in knowing their language and what not, it's over-rated anyway. Grunting with whos and has would get the point across. You shouldn't have any problem understanding people as long as you understand body language and their tones perhaps. Focus on finding your tribe (friends) as soon as you arrive. You could pretty much choose who you roll with as it shouldn't be to hard to relate with groups of the past.

If your playing dumb just to fit in and avoid interrupting the present, you probably won't be able to fake it very long. You would soon realize the power and no human turns down power OR others will recognize your advancements and who knows where that leads to.

This could make a good story for a rpg game somehow or maybe a movie. SO yeah, take a loaf of bread and some hamburger seasoning, ketchup and a BBQ grill. Make your own old currency money. And remember, WHOOOOO HAAAAAAAaaaaa

Susanann
02-07-2011, 08:40 AM
You neither speak the language, nor know the customs, right? How do you find these bodyguards, and how can you determine that they aren't just local thugs who'll beat you until you give up your gold, and perhaps even to death that they might avoid the rope? Gold isn't magical. It doesn't overcome the fact that you are a complete idiot in your new cultural context.

None of the three relevant societies had police or the rule of law according to anything like modern standards. I ask again: You arrive in rural Nigeria tomorrow, speaking only (say) Dutch, and carrying a kilo of gold. Anyone care to take odds on your still having that gold in a week?
You are off topic. If you want to start a new topic, then start a new one. This topic is not about cultural differences, languages, laws, crime, etc.

This topic is about what can be used as money in nearly any society in any time period, and GOLD is the only!!! thing that can be used in so many different time periods and in so many societies in the history of the world.

Unique in the history of mankind, GOLD as money, as something that is considered valuable, is...has been....and will always be... universal.

Nunzio Tavulari
02-07-2011, 09:38 AM
Unique in the history of mankind, GOLD as money, as something that is considered valuable, is...has been....and will always be... universal.

Not even Glenn Beck believes this

constanze
02-07-2011, 09:50 AM
2. Information you can use to create wealth. Commodities there is a hard limit to how much you can physically move; with the right information you could really rake it in.

Bring a suitcase full of Neosporin and live like a king.

The OP didn't want to change history, so anything beyond small bets is out. (Small bets, placed apart, both to avoid mention in history and the attention of the gentlemen running the betting).

If the OP doesn't want to upset history, he should also avoid becoming too rich, because that attracts not only attention, but gives a lot of power that could skew things.

Why not books? You can get copies of books from many eras free from the Gutenburg project, further if the printing press hasn't been invented yet you could use a handwriting font to print them out. It'd be dirt cheap, and if the book was era appropriate, wouldn't mess with the time line. Further it'd be trivial to make a program to distort the fonts a bit to simulate hand writing irregularities. A modern could catch that, but how could someone who has no idea of a printing press?

But printing a text onto modern paper using a printer, binding it in the next copy-shop would mess up history once it's found. (Unless you did a lot of research to make sure that the monastery/ library this book ends up in is burned, but your book not part of the loot or stolen before).
And printing a book on real cloth-paper and having it bound by hand the old-fashioned way today is not cheap.

constanze
02-07-2011, 09:51 AM
I should think that counterfeit money would be easy to pass in the nineteenth century and before.

Like the railroad bond or a bunch of gold or huge amethysts, this would mess up local economy, and thus, history.

constanze
02-07-2011, 09:54 AM
Good point. A horse, then.

A horse needs feeding and caring for. A modern breed is far too big for ancient times (like Egypt), and not everybody can afford one (one of the reasons money was invented was to make change for small purchases). You could also get into trouble if possession of a horse implies a certain station in society, but the rest of your outfit and manners don't fit that station - you'd be assumed to have stolen that horse.

constanze
02-07-2011, 09:56 AM
I wouldnt worry about not speaking the language in either Egypt nor Prague, they both had a lot of travelers/traders constantly passing thru.

While it's true that ancient Empires like Rome or Egypt were cosmpolitan, there is one problem: you aren't looking for a translator from Ancient Egyptian to Old English, because you don't understand that, you need a translator to Modern English, and you won't be able to find that.

The best bet is to find a translator to Latin, which is unchanged, and learn that, or take a student of latin from today with you, so it goes Egyptian -> latin (local) Latin-> modern English (student).

constanze
02-07-2011, 09:58 AM
Anywhere outside China, before 550 AD, you might make a lot of money with a handful of silk worms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombyx_mori).

Huge mess of history - silk as rare export stuff had huge influence on trade politics. Breaking that monopoly early is rewriting history.

More recently, some now common fossils might be extremely valuable.

I doubt that in most of history, people paid any attention to fossils (people took apart the Colosseum to build houses, that's how little they regarded their own history). Only if you hit the time of the fossil race in the 19th century and know some collectors.

Lasciel
02-07-2011, 10:00 AM
Egypt - I'll grant some small quantities of gold for this location - but not as a cash substitute. What you want to do is create gold works of art - jewelery, plaques, gold braid, gold wire for hair/clothing, gold cloth (yes you can do this), gold leaf for gilding things. Bonus points for getting things created ahead of time that are exceptionally finely worked and detailed. Double bonus points if it is an appropriate cultural reference to relevant deities or political figures of the time. A well-managed "gift" to the priesthood or to the local governing agent can go a long way towards keeping you relatively safe and protected while you visit.

Healing is a bad idea here - it's the province of the priesthood and linked to their deities. If you go in and steal their thunder, you're not going to last.

America - large hand-sewing needles (especially curved ones) and wire. You'd be very well liked. Make sure you create a cache to keep most of your stash, and don't get followed when you return to it. Be very clear that you only have on your person the little you've sold or bartered.

If you don't mind fucking up history, bring lots of kitchen matches. If you really want to screw things over but be very rich, find out from geologic surveys where those minerals are found and show them how to use them to create matches for themselves. Not having to cart around banked coals for firestarting would be an immensely valuable thing to them.

Don't go for the healing here either, for much the same reason as Egypt.

Prague - Here is where gold as "cash" will come in handy, however, you still don't need much. Before you leave, go hit up a large library and research merchants and guilds and make lots of small but targeted investments in the sucessful ones.

Other useful small things - medical needles are extremely hard to make and very useful - you could set yourself up as a medical supply dealer with just various bore needles.

On that note, you could try your hand at healing here, but be VERY careful about what you do, and who you deal with - you don't want to fail with a notable patient (you'll be accused of killing them on purpose) and you don't want to be too successful overall (you'll be accused of witchcraft). If you can balance your number of poor people killed and not take important patients, you should be ok.

constanze
02-07-2011, 10:00 AM
If you're going way, wayyy back, simply take a 21st century semi-auto rifle and pistol and ammo. Who needs money?

(best to get a rifle/pistol that takes the same ammo/mags, like a Kel-Tec sub2000 and a Glock).

No changing history, remember? And making the local population angry without backup is not a smart plan.

constanze
02-07-2011, 10:03 AM
Prague: Ballpoint pens

I think that would mess up history badly, esp. given the longetivity of plastic.

Buck Godot
02-07-2011, 11:29 AM
You might do ok just taking a bunch of filigree costume jewelry. It wouldn't have the precious metals, but I think the intricacies of design that are possible today would be beyond any but the most accomplished silver smith.

Kobal2
02-07-2011, 11:46 AM
You could also get into trouble if possession of a horse implies a certain station in society, but the rest of your outfit and manners don't fit that station - you'd be assumed to have stolen that horse.

It's a horse. You sit on it and it gets you away from trouble.
Besides, strange manners and weird clothes wouldn't identify you as a bandit, but as a foreign merchant. Especially if you're riding a variety of horse no local has ever seen before.

constanze
02-07-2011, 11:55 AM
A bag of GOLD will certainly allow you to live a wealthy lifestyle in both 50BC Egypt and in 1787 Prague, you can buy all the food and beverages you want in either place and you will be able to stay in the finest inns.

You obviously don't know that, but not only have other materials besides gold been used as money in different cultures and times, gold itself has often been regarded not as your property. In the Inca Empire, all gold belonged to the sun god= the Inca, because it was yellow like the sun. (A jeweler or similar artist would be compensated for his work, like a miner, but not for the metal itself).

And in ancient egypt, while gold was valued for making nice things - a major use for gold during centuries, because of its softness - Elektrum was prized much more, because it was harder and thus better suited for making weapons with.

So in some time periods, a bag of gold is worth nothing (in some areas, yellow gold was worth less than reddish gold, depending on the decree of the local king or the preferences of the traders), or it will be taken away from you because you aren't allowed to own it. And in some time periods, lots of other stuff would be worth more.

As far as the American midwest in 1200AD, as a stranger in indian land, you probably will not live long enough to need any money.

As you don't seem to know any history, you have missed that indians weren't savages. It's more likely - depending on local circumstances* - that the Indian tribe would take you in and feed you for free under the law of hospitality, while in the next western town, you can starve or be shot and robbed.

* Obviously, if a group of whites had just committed a massacer against women and children, a group of the army broken a treaty again, a promised delivery been misplaced or similar injustices riled up the Indians, it would be a unsafe place to stay; but generally, as long as you didn't run around shooting people or being a jerk, I would take my chances with the Indians over the whites of that time any day.

constanze
02-07-2011, 12:02 PM
It's a horse. You sit on it and it gets you away from trouble.

Does it come with an invisble force field against spears and arrows, too? And how long can you as single person keep up running away compared to a band of people giving chase?

Besides, strange manners and weird clothes wouldn't identify you as a bandit, but as a foreign merchant. Especially if you're riding a variety of horse no local has ever seen before.

Introducing an anachronistic horse breed messes not only history up, it can also mark you (together with the clothes, lack of language and manners) as demon or similar.

If you want to go into a big city where people know about foreign countries instead of the countryside with superstitious yokels, then you need food for the horse, it can't eat the cobbles, and a stable to sleep in. And you can't ride away from trouble through a crowd of people, you'll get stuck and then pulled down.

It's incredibly easy to be hostile unintentionally by not knowing local customs, by showing lack of respect to the local king/ lord/ god, and not speaking the local language makes matters worse.

Yes, there were foreign merchants around with funny clothes - but they either had a native guide and interpreter, or had been there before and picked up enough of local customs to survive, and spoke some version of the lingua franca.

You don't hear about all the foreigners who died when they ran into trouble.

mhendo
02-07-2011, 01:00 PM
As you don't seem to know any history, you have missed that indians weren't savages. It's more likely - depending on local circumstances* - that the Indian tribe would take you in and feed you for free under the law of hospitality, while in the next western town, you can starve or be shot and robbed.

* Obviously, if a group of whites had just committed a massacer against women and children, a group of the army broken a treaty again, a promised delivery been misplaced or similar injustices riled up the Indians, it would be a unsafe place to stay; but generally, as long as you didn't run around shooting people or being a jerk, I would take my chances with the Indians over the whites of that time any day.While i agree that there's no guarantee that the Indians would harm or kill a stranger, i have my doubts that there would have been any shooting or army massacres in the period around 1200 CE.

limegreen
02-07-2011, 01:08 PM
Chickens. Big fat ones that lay lots of eggs.

Cheshire Human
02-07-2011, 07:05 PM
If you (the OP) wish to visit 1930's Germany, get there just before the inflation during the Weimar republic, but bring plenty of those trash Marks that were printed during it. They rapidly became trash, but if you buy yours now, they should be useful (and quite lucrativily cheap), if you choose your dates correctly. The same scheme is useful, just before any historical hyperinflation. Time travellers, Plan Ahead!!!!

robert_columbia
02-07-2011, 07:12 PM
...
But printing a text onto modern paper using a printer, binding it in the next copy-shop would mess up history once it's found. (Unless you did a lot of research to make sure that the monastery/ library this book ends up in is burned, but your book not part of the loot or stolen before).
And printing a book on real cloth-paper and having it bound by hand the old-fashioned way today is not cheap.

Rome - An archaeologist has discovered evidence of ancient technology in the catacombs beneath the city. "Yes, it's amazing. I have here a Latin Vulgate Bible that was found in a 4th century crypt. When we analyzed the ink, we found that it's composition is nothing like the inks used in Europe during that time, but most strongly resembles toner from a 20th or 21st century laser printer or photocopier."

medicated
02-07-2011, 10:16 PM
You are off topic. If you want to start a new topic, then start a new one. This topic is not about cultural differences, languages, laws, crime, etc.

This topic is about what can be used as money in nearly any society in any time period, and GOLD is the only!!! thing that can be used in so many different time periods and in so many societies in the history of the world.

Unique in the history of mankind, GOLD as money, as something that is considered valuable, is...has been....and will always be... universal.

That you always use the word 'gold' in caps and boldfaced comes across as a bit creepy. No matter.

I take issue with your labeling my comments as off topic. The issue is "what do I use for money." These problems that I've mentioned clearly demonstrate why gold is not a good choice. Er, your religious fervour notwithstanding.

carnivorousplant
02-07-2011, 10:30 PM
Perhaps she is making hints for Valentine's Day.
:)

Susanann
02-08-2011, 09:01 AM
Perhaps she is making hints for Valentine's Day.
:)
There are no contradictions in what I say. Just as the ancient Egyptians, I myself, also gladly accept and welcome a handful of gold coins as a gift.

carnivorousplant
02-08-2011, 09:25 AM
Just as the ancient Egyptians, I myself, also gladly accept and welcome a handful of gold coins as a gift.

Wouldn't we all! :)

Susanann
02-08-2011, 09:31 AM
Wouldn't we all! :)
Surprisingly, apparently not.

From all the replies listed so far, only a very few like or would want, or probably already own GOLD, and most of the rest of the respondents seem to place value in worms, pencils, needles, tulips, pigs, etc.

And frankly, I dont really care if I am the only one who likes, and who owns a lot of GOLD.

.

MrDibble
02-08-2011, 10:16 AM
For ancient Egypt - gold (or should that be GOLD), silver and those gems that can be cheaply synthesised today and were valuable then (rubies, sapphires).

For Cahokia, if you don't want to leave anything anachronistic, I'd recommend either small ingots or sheets of pure copper, tobacco, and whelk shells. Oh, and learn to play Chunkey and proto-lacrosse, betting on those games was huge, but only participants wagered AFAIK.

For Prague, again, gold, silver and gems.

Dyes and pigments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_dye#Luxury_dyestuffs)will also be very valuable anywhere, any time before, say, 1800, especially deep reds and purples. If you want to be fussy, only take the ones that are more cheaply synthesised today but have expensive period natural sources too, like carmine. But if you don't care about that, you'd be in a better position as far as colour choices and lightfastness. And dye powders don't weigh a lot.

md2000
02-08-2011, 12:56 PM
Imagine, if you will: you arrive in rural Nigeria tomorrow, speaking only (say) Dutch, and carrying a kilo of gold. Anyone care to take odds on your still having that gold in a week?

In Nigeria, the hard part would be getting that gold out of the country. You could, however, get on the internet and find someone who would be willing to help you move that gold out of country for a share of the proceeds... :)

Gold would be the standard. I recal someone mentioning why sailors (and other travellers) wore all those gold earrings and rings, chains, and othe jewelry. They could sell of a ring or a few links of chain whenever they were in a strange place. earrings and especially chains worn under the shirt would be a it more tricky to steal. An asortment of plain gold accessories is your best bet, and probably attracts the least curiosity.

constanze
02-08-2011, 01:19 PM
Gold would be the standard. I recal someone mentioning why sailors (and other travellers) wore all those gold earrings and rings, chains, and othe jewelry.

I've never heard of sailors wearing a lot of jewelery besides one golden earring. After all, although OSHA didn't exist, the danger from rings and chains during heavy work catching on something was real.

The gold earring was for one special case: if you fell overboard and washed ashore somewhere, a golden earring was supposed to pay for a proper Christian burial, because the people living in a poor town would otherwise not bother putting out money for a stranger.

They could sell of a ring or a few links of chain whenever they were in a strange place. earrings and especially chains worn under the shirt would be a it more tricky to steal. An asortment of plain gold accessories is your best bet, and probably attracts the least curiosity.

The usual reason why wives/ women liked jewelry was indeed the possibility of selling parts of it, but that was based largely in the laws when women were not allowed to own other possesions without consent, whereas chains and other stuff belonged her.
With the change in laws in the 20th century, women invest their money in houses, fonds and cash instead of diamonds and gold necklaces.

emmaliminal
02-08-2011, 01:36 PM
From all the replies listed so far, only a very few like or would want, or probably already own GOLD, and most of the rest of the respondents seem to place value in worms, pencils, needles, tulips, pigs, etc.The OP's question is not "What do you value?" but, effectively, "What will the people where I'm going value? That is, what would be something that
a) I could easily carry and would keep,
b) could easily be traded for things I'll need,
c) would not attract unwelcome attention to me,
d) would be worth quite a lot where/when I'm traveling,
e) is not worth all that much here and now, and
f) would not mess with the time continuum."

Gold fails (e) generally and, as discussed above, would fail (c) in many place/times, and would even fail (b), (d), and (f) in some place/times. You could maybe argue that it would be better in more place/times than any other single alternative, though.

Susanann
02-08-2011, 02:31 PM
.........I need to be able to carry it in a suitcase so I can't do something like take back a barge full of grain.

A horse, then.

A horse would not fit in a suitcase.

panman_1960
02-08-2011, 02:34 PM
Looking up the GOLD price per oz. for a known date of 1934 when the GOLD Reserve Act set the price to $35, and then checking the inflation rate for that year which would be 1541.5%, and ounce of GOLD would cost you $574.35 in today's dollar. Looks like about a 3:1 loss in taking GOLD back to 1934. YMMV.

later, Tom.

Frisco
02-14-2011, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the ideas. Trip went great, other than using more ammo than expected. Those folks at Cahokia have a weak immune system and weren't doing well when I left. I accidentally burned down the library at Alexendria. And Mozart has terrible BO but was really impressed with my iPod. And it turns out you don't really need much money if you don't stay long.

Hennessy
02-15-2011, 12:05 AM
So after everyone works hard to figure out how you can survive without messing up history you decide to take an ipod and guns.

DEAR GOD MARTY, RETURN TO THE DELOREAN AND FIX THIS MESS AT ONCE. YOU HAVE CHANGED OUR VERY EXISTENCE... MARTY!!! MARTY!!! MARTY!!!

bengangmo
02-15-2011, 03:30 AM
Diamonds are forever, so says 007.

But wait!

Prior to the 18th Century, amethysts were worth vast sums, but are quite cheap today!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethyst#Value



You might get a huge bang for your buck.

Bugger, I wanted to sound all clever and knowledgeable by mentioning this, but you spoiled it in less than 10 replies.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
02-15-2011, 05:29 PM
Bugger, I wanted to sound all clever and knowledgeable by mentioning this, but you spoiled it in less than 10 replies.Welcome to the SDMB.