Tonight I discovered that finding out the historical worth of money is a little tricky to calculate. :) On Poirot tonight, he bought 19 pairs of silk stockings in order to trap a thief. The clerk kept warning him that they were “very expensive”. The final bill was 35 shillings per pair. I thought this was rather odd that a value not involving pounds would be considered “very expensive”. Feeling very detective-oriented, I had to investigate.
First of all, I found a nice conversion chart for British currency. 35 shillings is 1.75 pounds. The story took place in roughly 1928, but that doesn’t change the shillings calculation because even after the decimalization in 1971, shillings and pounds kept their 20-to-1 ratio.
Trying to find “current worth” of historical monies was a little more difficult. I found the How Much Is That? site, and it seems that 1.75 pounds is worth about $95 in present day. Good stockings are about $15 a pair now, and since nylon was invented in 1935, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that good stockings would be about 10 times more expensive in 1928.
© 2005, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.