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Old 01-25-2015, 09:12 PM   #1
Madnessinabottle
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Default Help with pulp prices

I have a pulp adventure in the works but I'm really struggling to find a good source for 1920-30's prices.

I'm speaking as broadly as possible, from Rent to food to the cost of a gun. I like to give my Players free reign to do as they please and then drop a steaming pile of plot on their living room floor, then watch them cry as they try to get the stains out.

And please can we hold back on the sarcasm, I know how to google, I have searched for info in old threads. I'm really just hoping you guys have ran similar games and have a few links bookmarked.

It's a world adventure kill the mummy, foil the cults affair, if that's helpful.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:18 PM   #2
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Help with pulp prices

GURPS Classic: Cliffhangers has 4-5 pages of generic prices for the 1920s and 1930s, but to a first approximation you can just divide modern day prices by 10 or so.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:23 PM   #3
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Help with pulp prices

For generic prices, take a look at http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1930s.html . For example, in 1939 the average yearly income was about $1700, a car cost about $700, and a house cost about $3800. They suggest dividing current prices for consumer goods by 12, but that's obviously not right for any of those three things!

I believe that most editions of Call of Cthulhu have tables of prices for the era between the World Wars, which will cover a lot of what you're looking for.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:25 PM   #4
DanHoward
 
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Default Re: Help with pulp prices

An old Sears mail order catalogue would be perfect for this. Here is one from 1912
https://archive.org/details/catalogno12400sear
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:30 PM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Help with pulp prices

Pulp Guns 1 has slightly more detail on price conversions from historical US$ to GURPS$. If you run into historical prices in British , the exchange rate during the period was pegged at US$4.85 to 1.

If you want lots of prices for the period, a department store catalog is really useful. You can sometimes get them as PDFs on eBay, or as used books via the http://used.addall.com/ search engine.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:32 PM   #6
Madnessinabottle
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Default Re: Help with pulp prices

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
An old Sears mail order catalogue would be perfect for this.
I'm British, so there'll be no luck in me finding any of those anywhere. (Unless you edit your post while I'm writing this :P)

I didn't expect such a rapid response, Would any of you know about travel fare at the time? Train between cities or a steamer to asia/europe? or even just the cost of fuel, which I know wasn't always oil based gasoline or Petrol.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:44 PM   #7
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Help with pulp prices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madnessinabottle View Post
I'm British, so there'll be no luck in me finding any of those anywhere. (Unless you edit your post while I'm writing this :P)
Dan Howard posted a link to a scan of a Sears catalogue, which I'm downloading. The best sources I know for British prices are the various editions of the Army & Navy Stores General Price List, which are available as used books - I've taken up collecting them. However, they are not cheap, except for the 1939-40 catalogue which was reprinted a few years ago.
Quote:
I didn't expect such a rapid response, Would any of you know about travel fare at the time? Train between cities or a steamer to asia/europe? or even just the cost of fuel, which I know wasn't always oil based gasoline or Petrol.
There are some prices for that in GURPS Cliffhangers, and the CoC price lists, I think.
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Old 01-25-2015, 09:55 PM   #8
Madnessinabottle
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Default Re: Help with pulp prices

All in all, thank you guys, that's set me :)
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:10 PM   #9
jSarek
 
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Default Re: Help with pulp prices

I'm not sure what it's source is, but this page has prices for a variety of items, including travel and fuel: http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/priceguide.html (links at the bottom will take you to other useful info on the era).

As a point of interest, according to Wolfram|Alpha, $1.00 in 1936 was roughly equivalent to $17.36 in 2015.
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Old 01-27-2015, 02:22 PM   #10
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Help with pulp prices

A factor of about 13.5 between 1925 and 2014, according to the CPI calculator maintained by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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