In search of historical California commodity prices
February 5, 2015 1:04 PM   Subscribe

This is a two-part question about commodity prices in California in the 1860s. Part 1: How is this newspaper report of "current" (1862) prices read? The @s throw me off. (My best guess is that those are price ranges.) Part two...

Part two: I'm looking for data from two fairly brief periods of time (early 1862, and 1861-1865). I would like to find weekly data for early 1862, and weekly or monthly data for 1861-1865. I can't find an online database that goes back that far, or can be limited to California. Are there print sources I could search for? Governmental reports? (CA's Department of Agriculture was not yet in existence.)

The Global Financial Data dataset looks like it would be perfect, but my university library discontinued its subscription. Is there a good alternative?

Also, I am specifically interested in hay prices, along with food commodities that would matter to any everyday California family (flour, barley, corn, etc.).

Thank you for helping with this oddly specific problem.
posted by mudpuppie to Grab Bag (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes those are bid offer spreads. Flour is 86 @ 87 in that example. (Prices are still quoted this way today, buy for, sell @).

GFD is your best bet for historical price data going wayyyy back beyond recent times.
posted by pravit at 1:32 PM on February 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thanks, pravit. I'll search around for libraries near me that might have access to GFD.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2015

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