The "Historically Rich" game

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Jasper
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jasper » 11 Jul 2019, 14:46

Dammit dudes, this isn't behind the veil!
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 14:51

Jasper wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 14:46
Dammit dudes, this isn't behind the veil!
Neither is your routine.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jasper » 11 Jul 2019, 14:55

lunchstealer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 14:51
Jasper wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 14:46
Dammit dudes, this isn't behind the veil!
Neither is your routine.
Fair point.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 15:48

Aresen wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 10:23
1) Spices would definitely be on my list.
2) So would gold - in terms of relative purchasing power, it would be worth more back then than now.
3) Silk is another thing that was known, but relatively more expensive.
4) Not sure if a modern spring watch would qualify. Spring driven watches were known in the 17th century, the only thing that has improved is the precision of the movement. However, the bi-metallic strip was invented somewhat later and I think some of the metals used in the strip weren't discovered until the 19th century.
5) Compasses are much cheaper now than back then.
Compasses are a GREAT idea! I'm annoyed with myself for not having thought of it sooner. As for watches --those would be allowed IF a person from that time would not be able to recognize it as something different from what they usually get. (Like, they did have steel knives in Elizabethan times -- but they did not have any stainless or rustproof steel, so if I'm going back then I may NOT bring $50 worth of cutlery from the thrift store.)
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 16:23

Ellie wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 10:40
$50 each of a bunch of different medications, $50 of honey, beer, other liquids. Crush up medications into liquids. Sell as miracle drinks. E.g., one teaspoon of the Viagra honey as miracle boner juice.
[thweet] Rule violation! There's no limit to meds you have for your own personal use, and those don't count against your $1,000 budget either -- but selling modern meds to past people breaks the "no anachronisms" rule. The items you sell to your past-tense neighbors can only be items that were already available at the time.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 16:31

Jennifer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:23
Ellie wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 10:40
$50 each of a bunch of different medications, $50 of honey, beer, other liquids. Crush up medications into liquids. Sell as miracle drinks. E.g., one teaspoon of the Viagra honey as miracle boner juice.
[thweet] Rule violation! There's no limit to meds you have for your own personal use, and those don't count against your $1,000 budget either -- but selling modern meds to past people breaks the "no anachronisms" rule. The items you sell to your past-tense neighbors can only be items that were already available at the time.
You did say that something that's indistinguishable from items of the era by means of the technology of the era are acceptable, and aphrodesiacs were peddled at the time and no one would be able to tell what the difference was between yours and its competitors except that it worked better. It's worth remembering that the technology of the time for most of history does not include double-blind studies or even rigorous consumer testing. You'd get a reputation as having the best secret love sauce, but apart from the people who took it and found that it worked better than others, it'd be unquantifiable.

So I don't think this breaks the anachronism rule.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 16:39

Hmm, I dunno -- yeah, there have always been people shilling "restoratives for lost manhood," but until Viagra, none of them actually worked.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 16:42

Jennifer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:39
Hmm, I dunno -- yeah, there have always been people shilling "restoratives for lost manhood," but until Viagra, none of them actually worked.
They sometimes worked by placebo effect. This just works by a different but undetectably different mechanism and with a different success rate.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 17:08

Another possibility, to get rich (or at least comfortably middle class) in much of the pre-WW2 era: beautiful decorative buttons. Ties in with something I mentioned on the "learn something" thread a couple months ago:
Jennifer wrote:
28 May 2019, 22:03
When the "New World" was still new, one of the more popular and lucrative exports to the old world was mother-of-pearl (mostly used to make decorative clothing-buttons); some of the Midwestern rivers especially had a lot of freshwater-pearl and nacreous-shell mollusks. The industry continued long after US independence, not really declining until the rise of plastics after World War Two. Muscatine, Iowa, still calls itself the "Pearl Button Capital of the World."
Metal or pearl-shell buttons bought new from a fabric store still cost enough that you can't get very many for only $50 -- but thrift shops are another matter. Ever since I moved to Atlanta and made a point of buying linen rather than cotton clothes, I notice a LOT of my shirts have real-shell buttons these days. I might have more real-shell buttons right now than in my entire pre-Atlanta life combined. Especially the more "upscale" labels -- Talbot's linen shirts mostly have plastic buttons, but IIRC every linen shirt and tunic I own with a "J. Jill" label has shell. At least one of my silk shirts does too. And I recall once visiting a "Goodwill Outlet" on a vacation -- basically, Goodwill's last-ditch attempt to peddle secondhand clothes in America, before either shipping them overseas or selling them to a rag-recycler -- clothes there were sold either by the pound or the bag, rather than by the garment. During that visit I did not see a single thing I wanted to buy for myself -- but if I were playing the "historically rich" game, I'd go through the shirts and pull out any ones I saw with nice metal or mother-of-pearl buttons. As an added bonus, if any of those shirts are linen, wool or silk, the material itself would have a lot of resale value then. (Or even cotton, pre-cotton gin.)

Another item possibility: blankets. I currently own two king-sized wool blankets (kept in the car against winter emergencies) -- one cost me $8 at a thrift store, the other $10. I'd have to remove the nylon anti-itch border from the second one before bringing it back in time, but even ONE of those blankets would be fiendishly expensive in the Elizabethan era.

Another valuable possibility, at least for the first couple centuries after the invention of the printing press: paper. In Shakespeare's day, I know, a single loaf of bread cost roughly two-thirds of a day's pay for an unskilled laborer, and a single sheet of paper cost roughly as much as a loaf of bread. Of course, I couldn't bring loose-leaf paper with its punched holes and blue and pink lines -- those are anachronistic -- but plain drawing paper of a certain quality, thickness, and shade of off-white would sell very well, and you can get many hundreds or even thousands of sheets today for only $50.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Painboy » 11 Jul 2019, 18:04

Certain painting pigments. By weight alone they could be a good pick. They were often worth many times their weight in gold because it was so hard to extract or produce them. Colors like purple or ultramarine made from lapis lazuli* where extraordinarily valuable back in the day.

For instance you can get a purple pigment for ~$50 a lb. these days. That would be likely worth multiple pounds of gold in the past. You also don't have to worry about them going bad.


*Lapis lazuli is still pretty expensive today so you may need to find an alternate for that.

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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Aresen » 11 Jul 2019, 18:10

lunchstealer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:42
Jennifer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:39
Hmm, I dunno -- yeah, there have always been people shilling "restoratives for lost manhood," but until Viagra, none of them actually worked.
They sometimes worked by placebo effect. This just works by a different but undetectably different mechanism and with a different success rate.
OTOH, if someone experienced one of those 'more than four hour' events, you might get burned as a witch.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 18:12

Aresen wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:10
lunchstealer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:42
Jennifer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 16:39
Hmm, I dunno -- yeah, there have always been people shilling "restoratives for lost manhood," but until Viagra, none of them actually worked.
They sometimes worked by placebo effect. This just works by a different but undetectably different mechanism and with a different success rate.
OTOH, if someone experienced one of those 'more than four hour' events, you might get burned as a witch.
Yeah, I'd probably want to travel to the 1920s and legally procure for myself a Tommy gun for defense against the pitchfork set, and some method of extraction to my time machine.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 11 Jul 2019, 18:19

Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.

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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 18:33

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:19
Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.
I like it.
Go to the library of Alexandria and bamf out with as man scrolls as you can carry.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 18:50

Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:33
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:19
Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.
I like it.
Go to the library of Alexandria and bamf out with as man scrolls as you can carry.
I'd REALLY like to see what happens to our analysis of the Sophists* if we were able to read more than fragments of their own writings.

*is that a proper noun when speaking of Protagoras and Gorgias and so forth?

ETA please forgive my tense change, but such things happen when you re-configure your idea mid-stream.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 18:54

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:19
Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.
Oh, granted, it would be far easier to get rich today via time travel, than the other way around -- with just $50 worth of black pepper and forget the other $950 I have to spend, I'd sell it in Elizabethan England and then return to the present not only with several pounds of gold, but several pounds of gold in the specific form of the "angel" coins presumably emblazoned with pictures of Liz I or Hank 8 or whoever. The collector value of those coins would be vastly greater than the already great value of the gold itself.

But I specifically like the idea of "Lookit all these things which are cheap or even worthless by our standards, yet would still be immensely valuable back in the day." That broken dresser and chipped mirror I mentioned -- the reason that particular thing stuck in my mind is, the day I saw it happened to be very shortly after I'd read a historical book where mirrors (and the great value thereof) were mentioned a few times, and I thought "ANY character in that book would've dropped whatever they were doing to haul this mirror away for themselves if they saw it here, just like almost anybody today would cancel their plans if they had a last-minute chance to pick up a six- or seven-figure sum of gold bullion someone else planned to throw away because the edges were a bit chipped, so it wasn't as pretty anymore."
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 11 Jul 2019, 19:05

lunchstealer wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:50
Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:33
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:19
Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.
I like it.
Go to the library of Alexandria and bamf out with as man scrolls as you can carry.
I'd REALLY like to see what happens to our analysis of the Sophists* if we were able to read more than fragments of their own writings.

*is that a proper noun when speaking of Protagoras and Gorgias and so forth?

ETA please forgive my tense change, but such things happen when you re-configure your idea mid-stream.
It's fairly clear from what we do know about the Sophists that they ended up getting an undeserved reputation thanks primarily to Plato. They were, after all, just the original version of paid university professors so... okay, maybe they deserve that rep.

It's hard to imagine anyone displacing Plato and Aristotle, though, even if we had every once-extant shred of ancient Greek philosophy. As it stands, we have what Plato "published" for public consumption but none of his "lecture notes" and vice versa with Aristotle, which absent such complete records is the best explanation why Plato is fun to read and Aristotle isn't. But it's reasonable, regardless, to assume that many an academic record would be ruined if those manuscripts were ever to have been recovered and authenticated. A few early drafts of Hamlet in Shakespeare's (or Bacon's or Elizabeth's, etc.) original handwriting would be worth more than a small fortune, too, and let's not even try to imagine what Q and Proto-Mark would bring, let alone better records of the early Church.

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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by lunchstealer » 11 Jul 2019, 19:31

Yeah, mostly it's just that my one not-general-requirement* elective philosophy class was a 300-level 'Sophistry and Rhetoric' which was about half on classical Greek rhetoric starting with the Sophists and ending with Aristotle and then taking that and applying it to the pomo/deconstructionist guys like Derida and Fish. Fun, but I didn't quite have the background and reading speed/discipline to get as much out of it as the majors. Anyway, the fact that we know so much of the Sophists from Plato using them as punching bags, and the truly scant surviving record of their actual writings has just left me really curious as to what they really said in detail and context. It's probably still less important than Plato and Aristotle, but if nothing else it'd give us a more objective understanding of what the influences of Plato and Aristotle really were, rather than their own accounts of their influences. Again, just kind of a layman's curiosity based on nothing other than one particular experience.

* my choices for filling the general requirements classes were 'Mind and Personal Identity' and 'Scientific and Legal Reasoning' so I never did get a good survey course, which is one of my few undergrad academic regrets.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Aresen » 11 Jul 2019, 19:45

Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:33
D.A. Ridgely wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 18:19
Again, I get the spirit of Jennifer's game, but if you have a time machine you probably don't need whatever sort of "wealth" you could amass in an era you really didn't want to live in in the first place and, if anything, the money would be in what you could bring back, not what you could take there.
I like it.
Go to the library of Alexandria and bamf out with as man scrolls as you can carry.
This. The library of Alexandria around 49 BCE would be my first goal. Take a digital camera with a few terabytes of storage and phonograph everything. Then pop over to China in 214 BCE to get all the texts burned by Qin Shi Huang. Finish off with trip to Yucatan in 1561 to get images of the Mayan texts before Diego de Landa burned them.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 20:04

I'd like to collect up the mathematical treatise of Archimedes and deliver them to Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, bamf over to Cambridge just to give Newton the raspberry, then come back here and see what's changed.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Jennifer » 11 Jul 2019, 20:45

I just thought of another "cheap today, super-valuable in the past" item: cultured pearls.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Aresen » 11 Jul 2019, 21:02

Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 20:04
I'd like to collect up the mathematical treatise of Archimedes and deliver them to Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, bamf over to Cambridge just to give Newton the raspberry, then come back here and see what's changed.
Not much. You'd need cartesian geometry and René Descartes was after both of them; also, both were more astronomers than mathematicians. One of my favorite 'change history' moments would be to give the early Greek mathematicians Arabic numerals (including the zero) and cartesian geometry. Once Vitruvius got his hands on analytic geometry, I think the fall of the Roman empire probably would not have led to the Dark Ages.

More fun with Galileo would have been for him to follow up on his observation of Neptune between December 1612 and January 1613.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 21:05

Aresen wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 21:02
Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 20:04
I'd like to collect up the mathematical treatise of Archimedes and deliver them to Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, bamf over to Cambridge just to give Newton the raspberry, then come back here and see what's changed.
Not much. You'd need cartesian geometry and René Descartes was after both of them; also, both were more astronomers than mathematicians. One of my favorite 'change history' moments would be to give the early Greek mathematicians Arabic numerals (including the zero) and cartesian geometry. Once Vitruvius got his hands on analytic geometry, I think the fall of the Roman empire probably would not have led to the Dark Ages.
TWEEEEEET Foul! You're going the wrong way.
More fun with Galileo would have been for him to follow up on his observation of Neptune between December 1612 and January 1613.
Oh?
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Aresen » 11 Jul 2019, 21:14

Warren wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 21:05
Aresen wrote:
11 Jul 2019, 21:02
More fun with Galileo would have been for him to follow up on his observation of Neptune between December 1612 and January 1613.
Oh?
Yes. It was bad enough for the RC church when Galileo published his 'Dialogue', but being able to point out a whole new planet that was not one of the mystical seven would have really put a kink in the common understanding of the time.
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Re: The "Historically Rich" game

Post by Warren » 11 Jul 2019, 21:41

Ah
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