In the event that it might be useful to another writer or curious person, the site Measuring Worth is a great resource for helping understand the historical value of commodities–such as slaves–and more. There’s an interesting article about the economics of historical slavery here at the site. It was, of course, curiosity about the costs of slaves in modern dollars that led me to Measuring Worth in the first place.
While I say in the GQ books that Martin cost more than any other slave sold that day, and that his sale set a record, I didn’t offer a number. I did go through a process of determining what I felt would be a reasonable (for lack of a better term) amount for a slave with Martin’s attributes and training, but then I thought better of putting a price on a person, even a fictional person. Still, I found the Measuring Worth site really helpful to provide context for the 1900 dollar amounts for all manner of goods and services that I ran across in my research.
The site has data for the US going back to Revolutionary times, for the UK going back to the 13th century, and for Australia from 1828 to the present. They also have limited data on China and Japan.