At slave auctions, slaves are sold on blocks where buyers may inspect them, touch them, have them move and position themselves. Slaves are always sold naked though they might begin an auction clothed. During the auction, the clothes would be removed. This is done to entice the crowd and build excitement. It is said that only a fool buys a slave clothed. By tradition, the blocks are wooden and rounded. Sawdust is usually sprinkled on their tops. In many slave houses, there are usually multiple blocks, one central block and a number of side blocks. The side blocks are commonly about three feet high and five feet in diameter. But, it is a matter of prestige to be sold from the central block. Slaves are seldom auctioned from the side blocks. Usually, fixed prices are set, marked on their bodies with a grease pencil. It is a disparaging term to be called a "side-block girl" similar to being called a "pot girl."
Colored tags may be wired to the collars of slaves at the auctions. White tags signify that a slave is being "held" for a prospective buyer. A red tag signifies the slave has been "sold." A black tag signifies a slave is "ill." A yellow tag signifies that a slave is not to be sold without prior consultation with the slaver. Some colored tags may also be correlated to classes or grades of slaves. A brown tag may be on a low slave such as a female work slave, pot girl, and kettle and mat girl. A gold tag may be on a trained pleasure slave or dancer. There is no uniform color coding though and different houses have their own conventions. It is not common for slaves to be tagged in a regular market except for sold and holding tags. Tagging is most common in auctions. A sales disk, bearing the slave's lot number, is common so men can inspect the slaves before the auction begins and decide who to bid for. Sold slaves can also be marked by placing them in a white hood marked "sold" or by writing "sold" in grease pencil on their left breast. It is standard in marking slaves to use grease pencil on that breast.
Block measurements are a slave's measurements when he is sold by a slaver. Some slavers take very complete measurements including a girl's height, weight, structure of ear lobes, width and length of fingers and toes, width of heels, distance between nostrils, etc. Most of these measurements are taken by a "slave tape" that is marked in horts. Weights are taken on a grain or tarsk scale that is marked in stones. Finger and toe prints may also be taken.
Prices for slave girls varies according to the type of kajira, location of the market, time of year, and many other factors. Some generalizations can be made though please remember that these are not absolutes. The cheapest slaves are usually female work slaves purchased for public kitchens, laundries or mills. They are commonly sold in multi-item lots. The next level are the male work slaves. Then come the girls who can be used as a pleasure slave. The next level includes the male silk slaves. The highest level are special female pleasure slaves, dancers or bred passion slaves.
Many kajirae are sold for copper tarsks. A lovely girl may often go for a silver tarsk. A silver tarsk is a very high price for a semitrained girl. An excellent paga slave would generally go for one to three silvers. Fifteen silver tarsks would be the cost for a good dancer or a lesser girl in an Ubar's pleasure gardens. The major auction house in Ar, the Curulean, is one of the most prestigious of slave markets. A girl there is seldom sold for less than two gold tarns. Beautiful women of High Caste might sell for thirty to fifty gold tarns. The top price for a slave might be gotten for an Ubara or the daughter of an Ubar. She might bring 10000 gold tarns in a private sale.