A perfect market is a utopian ideal of economists. In such a market, accurate information is instantly available to all, there are no barriers to trade, participants may be buyers or sellers, and there are no middlemen. But it is generally accepted that such perfection cannot exist in practice — the concept is merely a useful theoretical construct. However, I believe that the game of marbles as played at the Dragon School in Oxford in the 1950s came very close to being just such a perfect market.
The game was played by eight- to 12-year-old boys. Boys could choose to be either sellers or buyers and could instantly change from one to the other. The currency of the game was the titch, the smallest common marble available (more formally a titch semi), and all more valuable marbles were described as being worth ‘25 titch’, ‘48 titch’, etc.