A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse; a friend sent me this image, they thought it might be of interest to readers. It’s a hand bill dating from 1841, now pinned up in a local shop (but maybe it should be in the local museum).
I thought £5 in 1841 sounded like a very handsome reward, I asked Mr Uhdd how we might calculate such a thing, he went off to Google the question: it was touch and go whether the answer was going to be either, fascinating, or one of those question where you wished you’d never asked
"The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it… But though labour be the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities, it is not that by which their value is commonly estimated… Every commodity, besides, is more frequently exchanged for, and thereby compared with, other commodities than with labour." – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
It seems you can calculate (and calculations are something I tend to avoid at all costs, I would never make an accountant*) by a host of measures, but for ease, we will distil the question down to two.
By the retail price index… in 1841 £5 was equivalent to £361
and by average earnings… it was £3,830
If someone would like to flesh out the bones of this old horse and its value, please carry on in the comments
This is the quote for me
"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan, 1892.
These days it tends to be quad bikes that get nicked not horses.
* nor would it be wise for me follow a career as an air-traffic controller the conversation would go along the lines of ‘flight 7326 you are clear to land; err, opps, no, I mean flight 3762… Err no; wait a mo; would the blue plane like to land now and can the red one hang around for a minute, thank you.