How much did things cost in 1951 - USA?

Eversharp Reporter ball point pen
Introduced in 1950, the Eversharp Reporter ball point pen sold for a dollar. It remained in production until 1962.

Prices have risen considerably since 1951. This table gives you an idea of how prices have changed since 1951.

Many things were much cheaper: houses, cars, posting a letter and cigarettes.

These are some prices of items in 1951.

1951 priceInflation adjusted
Average house price (1)$9,007$96,000
Gallon of gas27c$2.90
Chevrolet Deluxe car$1,680$18,000
Ford Deluxe Fordor Sedan$1,466$16,000
Average used car selling price (2)$790$8,500
Philco televisions $199.95 to $800$2,100 to $8,600
Philco 1403 television 12½" screen $199.95 plus tax and warranty$2,100
Philco 2102-M television 20" screen, built-in aerial, mahogany veneer cabinet $399.95 plus tax and warranty$4,300
Westinghouse televisions $199.95 to $675$2,100 to $7,200
Zenith 3 way (battery-ac-dc) portable radio (AM only) $45.83$490
9 cubic-foot refrigerator$239.95$2,600
Automatic washer L-4 9lb capacity$244.95$2,600
Furniture: complete bedroom suite (Fleet & Horner, New York)$395-$595$4,200-$6,400
Furniture: Regency sofa, red rayon (Gimbels, New York)$99$1,100
Clothing: men's rayon sports shirt (Gimbels, New York)$2.98$32
Clothing: dresses (Gimbels, New York)$8.00$86
20 cigarettes (average price) (3)20c$2.10
Posting a letter3c32c
Newspaper: The New York Times5c54c
Hamburger at McDonald's15c$1.60
Eversharp Reporter ballpoint pen$1$11
Skylark bread homestyle loaf (Safeway)18c$1.90
Schaefer Beer 12oz can (Safeway)15c$1.60
Turkey per lb (Safeway)49-57c$5.20-$6.10
Sliced American cheese per lb (Safeway)57c$6.10
Coca-Cola 6 bottles (Safeway)29c$3.10
Flour (5lb)52c$5.60
Bread (per lb)16c$1.70
Road steak (lb)$1.09$12
Chuck roast (lb)74c$7.90
Pork chops (lb)79c$8.40
Bacon (lb)67c$7.20
Butter (lb)82c$8.80
Eggs (dozen)74c$7.90
Milk (½ gallon)46c$4.90
Oranges (dozen)49c$5.20
Potatoes (10lb)51c$5.50
Canned tomatoes (No. 303 can)16c$1.70
Navy beans (lb)17c$1.80
Coffee (lb)87c$9.30
Margarine (lb)35c$3.70
Sugar (5lb)50c$5.30


(1) Median family home price from "7th Annual Report of the Federal Housing Administration", 1953 page 240

(2) 'Automobile Facts and Figures' published by the Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1956, page 17

(3) 'Annual Report on Tobacco Statistics, 1959', published by the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, page 50

By Steven Braggs, July 2023

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