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Thread: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

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    ******* Caleb's Avatar
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    Default What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Well, a little over a hundred years ago, anyway...

    I ran across an old Sears and Roebuck catalog from 1902 recently. It was fun looking at the instruments and their costs. Thought some of you might like a peek. I bet some of these mandolins are still out there being played.
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    Mentally Guitarded Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    I think converting those 1900 dollars to today's, the relative cost for today would be around 2000 to 4000 depending--ranging from the entry model to the fancy one. Conversion factor roughly 100 X from 1900 dollar relative worth to 2012 dollar. Shipping was expensive so it makes since that without Chinese imports, US manufacturers could charge a little more.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    comparing in weeks of hours of laboring , where the wages were in the portions of a dollar a day?
    ( that now sends companies abroad to regain that minimal cost.)
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    I'm wondering if these were considered *quality* mandolins in those days? Were they considered on par with a Gibson or Martin? And how did the prices of those instruments compare to the Sears brands? Either way, that catalog was a cool peek into mandolin history.

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    I think converting those 1900 dollars to today's, the relative cost for today would be around 2000 to 4000 depending--ranging from the entry model to the fancy one. Conversion factor roughly 100 X from 1900 dollar relative worth to 2012 dollar. Shipping was expensive so it makes since that without Chinese imports, US manufacturers could charge a little more.
    Where did you get that figure of 100x, out of curiosity? The best of the answers I could find from quick googling was 1902 $1 = 2008 $28 (presumably a little more now). That would make these the equivalent of, say, a Rogue today.

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    According to Inflation Calculator, $100 in 1900 is worth $2702.70 today.
    Last edited by Mike Bunting; Aug-12-2012 at 3:03pm.
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Mike, I think you need to check your figures. I get $1 in 1902 being $24.86 in 2010.
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Roughly $27 to $1 according to the inflation calculators. So the mandolin in that catalog that cost $3.75 would be $101.25 in today's dollars. Here's another way to look at it, maybe a little more accurate - cost as a percentage of annual income. According to one source, the average annual American family income in 1901 was $750.00; in 2010 it was $49,445.00. $3.75 as a percentage of 1901 income is equivalent to $247.23 in 2010. That catalog shows somewhere a "high end" mandolin for $19.00, equivalent to $1,252.60 today. Mid range $9.00 is equivalent to $593.34. Maybe someone can post the original sale price of a 1901 Gibson.

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    I used an online calculator that gets its data from Oregon State University and I used the year 1900 not 1902 and 2012 not 2010.
    http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Where did you get that figure of 100x, out of curiosity? The best of the answers I could find from quick googling was 1902 $1 = 2008 $28 (presumably a little more now). That would make these the equivalent of, say, a Rogue today.
    I rounded a guesstimation using this calculator: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/

    "If you want to compare the value of a $1.00 Commodity in 1900 there are three choices. In 2011 the relative:
    real price of that commodity is $27.60
    labor value of that commodity is $122.00(using the unskilled wage) or $196.00(using production worker compensation)
    income value of that commodity is $179.00
    "


    I eyeballed a combination of commodity/project costs and real value/labor costs.

    I could be off by a factor of ...everything. Huge variations between the calculation methods- especially the economic ones adjusted for GDP. Anyones guess is about as good as anyones. I did read a ballpark conversion of 100X somewhere but I couldnt find it again. But this calculator is fun to play with.

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    It would also be interesting to evaluate the general "price category" of these instruments.
    In other words, what else cost about $3.75 (and about $19) in 1902, and what do those other things cost today?
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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Snyder View Post
    Mike, I think you need to check your figures. I get $1 in 1902 being $24.86 in 2010.
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    Aak, I corrected my typo, 100 not 1 dollar.
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    Aak, I corrected my typo, 100 not 1 dollar.
    None of these calculations considers the increase in productivity and mechanized production methods, transportation and material availablility today. These things need to be factored in, IMO, to get any kind of accurate comparison of real mandolin prices then vs now. Monetary inflation is only one factor, isn't it?

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Summers View Post
    None of these calculations considers the increase in productivity and mechanized production methods, transportation and material availablility today. These things need to be factored in, IMO, to get any kind of accurate comparison of real mandolin prices then vs now. Monetary inflation is only one factor, isn't it?
    Sure, but it's all just idle chatter, isn't it?
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Re Pete:

    Yep, here's an interesting perspective:

    http://www.economist.com/node/457272
    Last edited by Astro; Aug-12-2012 at 3:52pm.

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    ...
    Last edited by Astro; Aug-12-2012 at 3:50pm. Reason: added nothing

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Good article.
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    It would also be interesting to evaluate the general "price category" of these instruments.
    In other words, what else cost about $3.75 (and about $19) in 1902, and what do those other things cost today?
    Try this site.
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    IMO, the whole thread is idle chatter. The OP, took no position, asked no question, and simply offered something he found interesting. The fact that it morphed into a debate about inflation calculation seems as likely as any other direction it might take. As long as the word "mandolin" is included, I'm game to read it.

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Idle Chatter? A nonsense post turns into a question which turns into a debate about something completely different and vaguely related to the OP?

    Never happens. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    This inflation calculator projects that the $3.75 mandolin's equivalent in 2010 dollars would be $93.22. Supposedly uses only the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which pretty much treats all goods the same -- doesn't differentiate between musical mandolins and kitchen-utensil mandolins...

    So, for what it's worth, quality of mandolins would have been higher then. A $100 mandolin now is pretty near the bottom of the playable barrel, and surely would not incorporate the level of hand-work that even run-of-the-mill catalog products featured 110 years ago. It's the eBay New York Pro MSO, available in a rainbow of colors, that Cafe members caution us against.

    As absolute or general prices move along the CPI, specific prices change their places in the mix. You can get a calculator for a few dollars now that's infinitely more capable than one you paid $100 for 20 years ago. Technology, international trade, consumer demand and resource costs fluctuate so much that straight-line inflation comparisons have limited validity.

    Or so they tell me...
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Baldridge View Post
    IMO, the whole thread is idle chatter. The OP, took no position, asked no question, and simply offered something he found interesting.
    Bingo! I just thought folks here might like to see the pics from the old catalog.

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    Registered User Bill Baldridge's Avatar
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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    Ok, so the the title of the OP was a question. Details

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    for comparison, here's some prices for a model-T ford:

    "Called the 'Tin Lizzie,' the 'Flivver,' or just 'The Ford,' to many the Model T is the quintessential American automobile. In 1906, Henry Ford vowed to produce a single, affordable car for the public. The result was the Model T, introduced in 1909 for $850. By 1912, the efficient production in Ford's Highland Park factory near Detroit dropped the price to $690. At the peak of its production in 1923, when 1,800,000 cars were assembled, the Model T's price was $290."

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    Default Re: What did a mandolin cost 100 years ago?

    further ... receipts for various items in 1900:

    http://www.tighsolas.ca/page634.html

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