What was a million francs worth in 1953?
May 31, 2009 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find old historical exchange rates? Right now I'm looking for the crosses between British Pounds, US Dollars and French Francs in the mid-1950s.

Monthly or yearly exchange rates would be fine. Bonus points if you can find currency data that goes back more than 50 years.

I'm reading Casino Royale (which is surprisingly good, by the way) and trying to get a handle on the cash figures being thrown around.
posted by b1tr0t to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

If you think the rates on ErWenn's link look awfully stable, that's because at the time, the major currencies were pegged to the US dollar. Table of rates.

For the mid-50's:
1 British Pound = $2.8
350 French Francs = $1

Given that, you also need to look at purchasing power to properly evaluate the pound values they use.
posted by smackfu at 8:50 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Even if you know the exchange rate, you wil need to know how much $n in 1950 is worth in today's terms. ErWenn's linked site also has a section on the purchacing power of the dollar. This is based on consumer price inflation: $803.97 in the year 2008 has the same "purchase power" as $100 in the year 1955. Additionally, to get a feel for the value of a pound, dollar or franc, you might research average wages, or track prices of some goods (e.g. a car, train ticket, etc.) to find out how "big" a price would feel to somebody during that time.
posted by keijo at 1:35 AM on June 1, 2009

If you are interested in the broader cultural context of James Bond you should take a look at The Man Who Saved Britain. It places Bond in the context of post war austerity and the desolation of the Empire.

(I'm not trying to suck the fun out of your beach reading, this is a good book!)
posted by shothotbot at 7:03 AM on June 1, 2009

Wolfram Alpha? (scroll down and note the historical graph)

I couldn't get it to provide data for a specific year—I tried adding "1953" and "in 1953" to the end of the query, but that didn't seem to give me what I wanted. I only messed with it for a couple of minutes, though—Wolfram can do some pretty need stuff as long as you phrase your query in a way it can understand.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:14 AM on June 1, 2009

Ooh, have a look at this.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:18 AM on June 1, 2009

Good point about purchasing power.

I'm not trying to suck the fun out of your beach reading, this is a good book!

Actually, that looks perfect.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:56 PM on June 1, 2009

(Wolfram Alpha can only go back ten years).
posted by glider at 8:21 AM on June 10, 2009

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