Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The ragged trousered philatelists

Leafing through a compiled volume of Gibbons Stamp Weekly (as was) from 1908, I'm impressed by the prices of packets of stamps relative to contemporary wages.

One packet of 1,000 stamps is advertised as Stanley Gibbons' cheapest ever, at 15s: the best-paid painters and decorators in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (c. 1903) are getting 25s a week if they're lucky.

Their contemporary equivalents are getting, say, £400 pw if they're equally lucky, which makes that 15s packet cost £150 today, or something like 10 times the cost of a modern bargain packet of 1,000.