Living in “Library Land”, you get to see some really unique and interesting books, as well as some that are just strange but fascinating. Strange? You know; the kind of book you can’t quite believe that someone actually took the time and trouble to write; but is so cool that you’re just jealous you didn’t think of the idea first! Today, I’m going to discuss one- actually two of those books.
It; I mean they, are called the Value of a Dollar. The first volume covers the years 1600 to 1865, while the second volume covers the years 1860 to 2009.So what kinds of information can you find in these books that you just can’t find anyplace else and why are they cool? More importantly, how can you use them to ‘ace’ that paper or be the star of your firm?
First, you need to know how they are organized. The material in each volume is organized by eras. Within each era, you can find sections on incomes, investments of the time, food costs, financial rates and exchange, and “consumer expenditures”. The financial rates and exchange section in each era is especially cool. If, for instance, you wanted to see what a “brass skillett” cost in 1673, you would find out that it cost 6 shillings and 6 pence,
I know; you’re thinking what a fat lot of good that does. BUT… then you turn the page to the rates of exchange section, get out you calculator, and note that in 1670 a shilling was worth $6.00 in 2002 dollars, while a pence was worth $0.70. So getting out your trusty calculator, multiplying each, and then adding to totals, you’ll see that your “brass skillet” would have cost $40.20 in 2002 dollars. To gain a better appreciation of just how expensive that was then, look at the section of wages from the era, and you’ll find out that a “schoolmaster” made 30 pounds a year ($120 x 30 = $3600).
So let your imagination run wild. Think of how these could be used in labor negotiations, estate settling, genealogy, history, or 100 other uses. They’re just fun to read as well. Are you amazed yet? Come give this title a look and a test drive; it’s on display in the library, and you’ll and find out why I never, ever loose at Trivial Pursuit!
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