# How much is 20000 in 1840 worth today?

In Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre inherits 20000. Assuming this takes place around 1840, how much is that worth today? Just curious as she promptly gives away 75% of it.
Thanks,
Anna.
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takes

Just less than 100 years later (1935) an elderly friend of mine bought her new house for 425, which is now worth about 175k
I'm gonna take a completely wild guess and say about 1.5M
Bruno
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Bruno wrote:

I'm curious as to why you bother to relate the anecdote of your friend's house, if your guess really is "completely wild", and hence not based on the anecdote.
Your guess is evidently not based on it, unless you presuppose whopping negative inflation in the previous 100 years. From 425 to 175k is a factor of over 400 for less than half the period we're covering. Naive extrapolation would support a factor of 1.3M leading to a value guess of £27,000M. That's clearly rubbish, and if we were to suppose that today's properties are overpriced by a factor of 10, the 70-year factor becomes 40, and the 165-year factor 6000, supporting a more reasonable guess of £120M.
That's probably still rubbish, as it's too naive and makes no allowance for inflation having been both positive and negative. And house values are not a good measure. It would be more sensible to look at incomes. Today, a butcher, baker, or electrician would be doing well to earn £20k a year (net).
How much would a butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker have earned a year in 1840? Perhaps £200? If so, the fortune is equivalent to 100 yearly incomes of a trader, or about £2M, which is very close to your guess.
Careful reading of Bronte must surely give some hints about typical incomes.
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JESUS CHRIST!
just a bit of fun that's all m8!
Some people are just sooooooo serious all the time

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On Sun, 27 Jun 2004 11:14:09 +0100, "Bruno"

Well just for fun then. That is the era of the penny post. 1d * 240 * £20000 / 28p = £1344000
Of course you could probably expect the letter to arrive :-)
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Good point. Jane earns 30 p.a. as a governess/teacher. She inherits 20000 which is roughly 667 times her annual salary. So assuming 20k p.a. for a similar post today, that inheritance is worth around 13m in today's money.
Anna.
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Anna, pardon my illiteracy. Did Jane 'live in', or did she live at home and go to the house in which she was governess?
--
John Boyle

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20000

money.

Yes, yet another good point! She lives at the home of Mr Rochester, of whose ward she is governess. The home is somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside.
So her room and meals would have been included. Anyone want to hazard a guess at the salary for a similar post today?
Anna.
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Not a lot, she was 'unqualified' as well wasnt she? So, if she is 'all found' then I reckon only a measly £8k ish.
This would make it £5.3m.
--
John Boyle

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writes

whose

countryside.

She was a pupil at Lowood until around 16 and then stayed on as a teacher for 2 years at 15 p.a. So she certainly had the skills and experience to be a governess.
Anna.
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20000

money.

Yes, yet another good point! She lives at the home of Mr Rochester, of whose ward she is governess. The home is somewhere in the Yorkshire countryside.
So her room and meals would have been included. Anyone want to hazard a guess at the salary for a similar post today?
Anna.
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The page doesn't seem to be working at the moment but http://www.eh.net/hmit/ppowerbp/ will tell you..
Regards Sunil
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And the answer is 963636.36 in the year 2002 has the same "purchase power" as 20000 in the year 1840.
Regards Sunil
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Sunil Sood wrote:

The composite consumer prices index time series on the Nat. Stats site suggests a ratio of 66.3 between 1840 -> now, slightly larger than the calculator.
--
Chris Game

How do I set my laser printer on stun?
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Sunil Sood wrote:

Brilliant! But it's not very clear what prices are being compared though, food prices or labour rates or whatever.
--
Chris Game

"Common sense is that layer of prejudices which we acquire before
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I see that you've got some answers but here's some more historic price information if anyone's interested - <URL:http://www.ex.ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/current/howmuch.html
It really depends upon what you compare it to and whether the comparisons are consistent over the years. Interestingly the purchasing power of £30 in 1840 in todays money comes out at £1,445.45. This demonstrates that earnings have increased at a faster rate than purchasing power.
Daytona
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The only object that our family owned that we have records for from that era is a house. It was built for £2000 in 1830. It was recently sold for £500,000. So £20,000 in property equates to £5,000,000 today. Except that property prices are non-linear and I doubt that a Victorian £20,000 house would necessarily be be up for sale for £5,000,0000.
--
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takes

"Steve Firth" wrote

But what about *TEN* "Victorian 2,000 houses" ? ;-)
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OTOH, forty Victorian £500 houses would probably fetch about £8,000,000 to £10,000,000 in the same area. Cheap millworker's and weaver's cottages in a National Park tend to go for anywhere from £180,000 to £250,000 in the present market.
--
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