Here's an example of a rumor that swept through an African community back in 1959. The story appeared in The Bakersfield Californian
(Nov. 10, 1959).
Slave Girl For $7.14 All A Hoax
MOMBASA, Kenya (UPI) — Crowds of Africans who wanted to buy wives for $7.14 each have been told by the government that those stories about slave auctions were only rumor.
Local official W.P.M. Maigacho had to issue an official denial of the rumors after men from outlying tribes twice gathered in the town of Tononka, expecting to take part in a slave auction.
According to the rumors, native girls from a local mission were being sold for the equivalent of $7.14. The purchaser could take the girl to Mombasa and marry her, the rumors said.
I don't know what $7.14 would be in present-day money. Nor do I know what $7.14 would have been in East African Shillings
, which was the currency in use in Kenya in 1959. However, one can assume it was a bargain rate for a wife. It seems like a strangely specific number. Why didn't they round down to $7.00?
Of course, perhaps this news story was itself a hoax — something dreamed up by a bored reporter in Africa. I haven't been able to find any other accounts of the rumor to verify that it occurred.