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What an Ounce of Gold Bought You in 1950

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It’s 1950, the Andrews Sisters are on the radio and you’re cruising down the road in your Chevy. As you stop to fill up your tank, you exclaim, “Twenty-two cents a gallon! That’s highway robbery!” You head to the station down the street offering gas for nineteen-cents a gallon. Times were a lot simpler back then, and everything cost a lot less than it does now. Gold included.

In fact, in 1950, the average price of gold per ounce was $40.25. Today, a gallon of gas will cost you just over three and a half dollars in the Puget Sound region. That’s about eighteen times what an average gallon of gas in the US cost in 1950. So how does gold hold up? Today an ounce of gold will cost you about $1,200. Which means an ounce of gold costs nearly thirty times what it did in 1950. In 2006 the average price of gold was about $600 an ounce—half of what it is now. In 2008, almost $900 an ounce.

Just like every other commodity, the price of gold fluctuates. But unlike every other commodity, gold is absolutely essential for some of the world’s most lucrative industries. Gold’s conductivity makes it necessary to manufacture most electronics. Your cellphone, computer, and TV all contain small amounts of gold. Gold’s application in electronics is part of why there is such a strong demand for this precious metal.

But with all that said, it’s still over $1,200, and that’s a lot of money. For many today that amount is enough to pay mortgage or rent. You could buy a new laptop, or a top-of-the-line smartphone. By contrast, in the 1950s, $1,200 could buy you a house.

Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business located in Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us for a free evaluation.

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