The aspect of "sale" is applicable in two parts of the Atlantic Slave Trade, as slaves are sold at least twice in the process.
Firstly, after being captured, they are sold to European traders in slave markets on the west coast of Africa. Here, the African traders sold the slaves for European goods, such as guns, alcohol, iron bars, textiles, rum and other manufactured goods unavailable in Africa.
Buyers examined the slaves being traded - some Europeans even brought a doctor to Africa to examine the health of the slaves, making sure there were no signs of disease or aging. The limbs and bodies of the slaves being felt was described to be like how "butchers handled calves." The most commonly sought-for slaves were the healthy fifteen to twenty five year old males - as they received the best prices in the slave auctions in the new world.
These auctions were the second instance of sale in the Slave Trade. The Africans would be put up for auction in America after an arduous 3700-mile voyage across the Atlantic. In preparation for being sold several measures were taken to ensure the best possible market price when it came to being sold: the slaves were fed better in the days before the auction to strengthen them; their skins would be rubbed with oil - to give them a "shiny glow"; and any flaws in the skin, like scars from the tight shackles worn on board ship, would be filled with hot tar to improve ones appearance. .
Auctions were usually set in the open markets of streets, with the slave(s) being sold on some sort of podium, and the prospective buyers eyeing the "products" on sale. On some occasions, slaves were not just for sale, but also for temporary hire from their owners. Buyers would often pay up to $2000 at these auctions for a healthy, well-skilled slave.
With these types of prices, traders usually met at least a small profit from their sales. The highest profits mounted to as much as 300 percent, made by "interlopers" (traders who sold their slaves for more then twice the amount they cost on the Coast.