Keeping costs in perspective

When I see something like the ad below, the first thing I want to do is convert it to present dollars:

The Duffer Coat, 1960:

(click to enlarge)

Yale Daily News – 11/9/60

Fortunately, this is really easy to do using a tool from This coat costing $29.95 in 1960 would cost $227.00 today. Even more fun is to peg the cost against the historic value of gold. Gold was $35.27/oz in 1960 (per Kitco), and is $1734.70 today, so while you could buy 1.2 of these coats for an ounce of gold in 1960, you can buy 7.6 of these coats with that same ounce of gold today.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not that simple. That coat in 1960 probably had a lot of quality sewn into it. Following that theme and sticking with a brand that has a tradition in quality coats, Burberry has one that costs £895.00 ($1425.00), putting us back at 1.2 coats for an ounce of gold.

So, in my overly simplified analysis, an ounce of gold will still buy you the same quality coat today that it did in 1960.

NB: I am making a huge assumption that the coat in the ad is Burberry quality. I could be way off, but I have no way of knowing. I just take for granted that it wasn’t manufactured in a 3rd world sweatshop in 1960.

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