Sunday, July 29, 2012

Old Money

In Home History - Part II, an article from a book titled Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College by Franklin Bowditch, referenced Mr. Merriam's estate having a value of ₤1324. This was listed in the Reverend's Will (though I have yet to find it). Now who can tell me how much ₤1324 is worth? Anyone, anyone....?

As of this post, $2,085.04 equals that amount if the conversion happened now. In the 18th century, the pound went much further than it did today, inflation and cost of living have decreased the value over the past couple of centuries. As an example, Yale College's tuition in the middle of the 18th century was 5 Shillings per quarter (1748 - 1749). Likewise, annual cost for tuition was 20 Shillings a year, or ₤1. Room and board were not charged, yet a sweeping fee for the room was (sounds like an Ally Bank Commercial, sorry, couldn't resist). From several classmates' biographies, the annual salary for a pastor was between ₤50 and ₤70 a year (depending on decade and town). So what does all that equate to in today's inflated dollar?

The University of Michigan sponsored a student's research on this topic creating a website to make conversions from the old British pound of 1750 to the 2003 equivalent in US dollars. See the website here.

From the University of Michigan's site, the equivalent value in 2003 dollars is as follows:

Yale College's annual tuition was $204.04. As a reference, in 2003, the actual tuition was $27,130 a year.

A pastor's salary was between $10,200 to $14,300.

The value of Mr. Merriam's estate: $270,152.51.

Interesting, since our home cost us $275,000, accounting for his other assets, perhaps we paid too much... hmmm.