Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Price of a Turkey c. 1907

This was first posted for the 100th anniversary of the story, Now we're at the 110th.
Time flies.

Original post:
One of the things an investor should understand is the inevitable debasement of currency. But, every price series is different. Back in September we had a blurb at the end of a post:
If I recall correctly, the Ming Dynasty had to repudiate paper money in the 1450's to end a hyperinflation.
Update: I am pleased with myself.
Found this quote from "A History of Money":
1448 Hyperinflation in China
The Ming note nominally worth 1,000 cash has a market value of only three.
p 183

Here, from Division of Labor, are some topical datapoints:
From the Nov. 17, 1907 NYT:
A turkey at 35 cents a pound is not to be considered by the average housekeepers, and other things one is used to serving at a Thanksgiving dinner being equally expensive, very few persons feel that they can afford to follow the old custom of giving a big family dinner on a National feast day.
We bought our turkey today for $0.69 per pound (I could have paid less and I could have paid more). Thirty-five cents in 1907 was approximately $7.50 in 2006. $150 (equivalent) for a twenty pound bird, I am not sure I would be hosting Thanksgiving dinner either.

The American Farm Bureau at their "Voice of Agriculture" site claims that this year's dinner for 10 will average around $43.
Here's the nominal and real costs for Thanksgiving dinner since 1986.
More on Thanksgiving prices c. 1907
A follow up on yesterday's discussion of turkey prices, the Nov. 19, 1907 NYT reports the following prices for Thanksgiving staples (perhaps an undergraduate paper lies in these data?):