Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The cost of Beans
So my goal was to figure out how much my heroine needed to pay for her 6 months supplies. I used a replica 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue to find prices. They even sold food out of these catalogs.
There were several kinds of flour, I went with the one that was the easiest to figure- $1.48 for a 48# bag. Doubled that to $3 for 50# and my character would pay $24 for the flour. Dry beans were $.03 a lb so double that to $.06 times 100 you get $6 for dried beans. But I figured they were hiking most of the time and wouldn't have time to cook beans so I found a price for canned baked beans. 3# cans were $1 a dozen so figure $2 for a dozen and say they go half and half. Half dried and half canned so the canned beans would cost: so 24 cans of beans would be $4. Bacon was harder to figure. They had it and other canned meats in the catalog. You could get bacon for $.60 a pound so I figured $1.20 in Skagway. Making it $120 and the most expensive item to purchase. Sugar depended on the price they (Sears & Roebuck)p purchased it for. They didn't give a price in the book. I guessed it at $.40 a pound. Tea was- again depending on what you picked - $.35 a pound, so $.70 for my story. And coffee was $.20 to .35 a pound. Again, I doubled that. and last was the canned fruit. Those ran anywhere from $.08 a can to $.28. And I doubled that.
The total I came up with to purchase the supplies for the trip was around $300, plus they had to have $200 in their pocket. That was a lot of money to have just to get to the Yukon gold country and then risk your life and hope you found gold.
While I think I could have handled traveling across the continent with a wagon, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made a Yukon gold seeker! Would you have put that much at stake to try and find gold?