The Value of Money

When reading about even recent historical events it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on the value of money. If a copy of Green Line cost 25p in 1982 what would be the equivalent price today? If you are earning £15,000 to day what would have been the equivalent salary in 1972?

Use the table below to get a quick view of either what a pound in a particular year would be worth in 2017, or the equivalent of one 2017 pound in a particular year. For a calculator there are various online calculators available - we have based this table on the one at which covers the years 1751 to 2017

Of course no calculation is going to be completely accurate - the relative prices of goods and services vary over time and which figure you use for inflation will affect the outcome. Looking at basic commodities one thing stands out - over the last 200 years the price of agricultural land (which you can see as the basis for material property) has increased and the price of wheat (and thus food) has decreased relative to each other. One of the ways in which late stage capitalism has pumped wealth from the relatively poor to the rich... subject for a discussion on political economy and ecology.

To answer the questions above -

  • the equivalent cover price for GreenLine #1 today would be 88p; whilst that might still cover the printing costs for 5 double sided A3 sheets with the front in colour, the 10p charged per month for a postal subscription is equivalent to 35p today which certainly wouldn't cover postage costs.
  • A salary of £15k today would be equivalent to £1,155 in 1972
Year £1 then £1 now
1990 £2.29 43.7p
1989 £2.46 40.7p
1988 £2.59 38.6p
1987 £2.69 37.2p
1986 £2.79 35.8p
1985 £2.96 33.8p
1984 £3.10 32.3p
1983 £3.25 30.8p
1982 £3.53 28.3p
1981 £3.95 25.3p
1980 £4.66 21.5p
1979 £5.28 18.9p
1978 £5.72 17.5p
1977 £6.62 15.1p
1976 £7.71 13.0p
1975 £9.58 10.4p
1974 £11.10 9.0p
1973 £12.10 8.3p
1972 £13.00 7.7p
1971 £14.20 7.0p
1970 £15.10 6.6p


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