View $12 in 1885 → **2021**

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$12 in 1885 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $303.24 in 2017, an increase of $291.24 over 132 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.48% per year between 1885 and 2017, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,427.01%.

This means that prices in 2017 are 25.27 times higher than average prices since 1885, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index.

The 1885 inflation rate was -1.02%. The inflation rate in 2017 was 2.13%. The 2017 inflation rate is lower compared to the average inflation rate of 3.07% per year between 2017 and 2021.

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Cumulative price change | 2,427.01% |

Average inflation rate | 2.48% |

Converted amount ($12 base) | $303.24 |

Price difference ($12 base) | $291.24 |

CPI in 1885 | 9.700 |

CPI in 2017 | 245.120 |

Inflation in 1885 | -1.02% |

Inflation in 2017 | 2.13% |

$12 in 1885 | $303.24 in 2017 |

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for $12 in 1885 (price index tracking began in 1635).

For example, if you started with $12, you would need to end with $303.24 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When $12 is equivalent to $303.24 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single U.S. dollar decreases over time. In other words, a dollar will pay for fewer items at the store.

This effect explains how inflation erodes the value of a dollar over time. By calculating the value in 1885 dollars, the chart below shows how $12 is worth less over 132 years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, each of these USD amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

This conversion table shows various other 1885 amounts in 2017 dollars, based on the 2,427.01% change in prices:

Initial value | Equivalent value |
---|---|

$1 dollar in 1885 | $25.27 dollars in 2017 |

$5 dollars in 1885 | $126.35 dollars in 2017 |

$10 dollars in 1885 | $252.70 dollars in 2017 |

$50 dollars in 1885 | $1,263.51 dollars in 2017 |

$100 dollars in 1885 | $2,527.01 dollars in 2017 |

$500 dollars in 1885 | $12,635.05 dollars in 2017 |

$1,000 dollars in 1885 | $25,270.10 dollars in 2017 |

$5,000 dollars in 1885 | $126,350.52 dollars in 2017 |

$10,000 dollars in 1885 | $252,701.03 dollars in 2017 |

$50,000 dollars in 1885 | $1,263,505.15 dollars in 2017 |

$100,000 dollars in 1885 | $2,527,010.31 dollars in 2017 |

$500,000 dollars in 1885 | $12,635,051.55 dollars in 2017 |

$1,000,000 dollars in 1885 | $25,270,103.09 dollars in 2017 |

Inflation can also vary widely by country. For comparison, in the UK £12.00 in 1885 would be equivalent to £1,465.77 in 2017, an absolute change of £1,453.77 and a cumulative change of 12,114.77%.

Compare these numbers to the US's overall absolute change of $291.24 and total percent change of 2,427.01%.

CPI is the weighted combination of many categories of spending that are tracked by the government. Breaking down these categories helps explain the main drivers behind price changes. This chart shows the average rate of inflation for select CPI categories between 1885 and 2017.

Compare these values to the overall average of 2.48% per year:

Category | Avg Inflation (%) | Total Inflation (%) | $12 in 1885 → 2017 |
---|---|---|---|

Food and beverages | 4.01 | 17,838.54 | 2,152.62 |

Housing | 4.29 | 25,411.37 | 3,061.36 |

Apparel | 2.07 | 1,396.62 | 179.59 |

Transportation | 3.29 | 7,055.56 | 858.67 |

Medical care | 4.80 | 48,395.02 | 5,819.40 |

Recreation | 1.11 | 331.39 | 51.77 |

Education and communication | 1.97 | 1,205.25 | 156.63 |

Other goods and services | 5.15 | 75,880.96 | 9,117.72 |

The graph below compares inflation in categories of goods over time. Click on a category such as "Food" to toggle it on or off:

For all these visualizations, it's important to note that not all categories may have been tracked since 1885. This table and charts use the earliest available data for each category.

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1885 and 2017:

CPI in 2017
CPI in 1885

×

1885 USD value

=

2017 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.S. CPI was 9.7 in the year 1885 and 245.12 in 2017:

245.129.7

×

$12

=

$12 in 1885 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as $303.24 in 2017.

To get the total inflation rate for the 132 years between 1885 and 2017, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2017 - CPI in 1885CPI in 1885

×

100

=

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

245.12 - 9.79.7

×

100

=

The average inflation rate of 2.48% has a compounding effect between 1885 and 2017. As noted above, this yearly inflation rate compounds to produce an overall price difference of 2,427.01% over 132 years.

To help put this inflation into perspective, if we had invested $12 in the S&P 500 index in 1885, our investment would be * nominally* worth approximately $2,006,749.99 in 2017. This is a return on investment of 16,722,816.59%, with an absolute return of $2,006,737.99 on top of the original $12.

These numbers are not inflation adjusted, so they are considered *nominal*. In order to evaluate the *real* return on our investment, we must calculate the return with inflation taken into account.

The compounding effect of inflation would account for 96.04% of returns ($1,927,337.97) during this period. This means the inflation-adjusted * real* return of our $12 investment is $79,400.02. You may also want to account for capital gains tax, which would take your real return down to around $67,490 for most people.

Original Amount | Final Amount | Change | |
---|---|---|---|

Nominal |
$12 | $2,006,749.99 | 16,722,816.59% |

RealInflation Adjusted |
$12 | $79,412.02 | 661,666.85% |

Information displayed above may differ slightly from other S&P 500 calculators. Minor discrepancies can occur because we use the latest CPI data for inflation, annualized inflation numbers for previous years, and we compute S&P price and dividends from January of 1885 to latest available data for 2017 using average monthly close price.

For more details on the S&P 500 between 1885 and 2017, see the stock market returns calculator.

Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:

- King Leopold II of Belgium makes Congo his own personal, colonial possession.
- Congo is given to Belgium whilst Nigeria is awarded to Great Britain during the Berlin Conference
- Bismarck, German chancellor, conquers Cameron and Togoland
- Louis Pasteur conducts the first successful test of an anti-rabies vaccine
- Gottlieb Daimler invents the first motorcycle.

Raw data for these calculations comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index (CPI), established in 1913. Inflation data from 1665 to 1912 is sourced from a historical study conducted by political science professor Robert Sahr at Oregon State University.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “$12 in 1885 → 2017 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 30 Nov. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1885?amount=12&endYear=2017.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.

Cumulative price change | 2,427.01% |

Average inflation rate | 2.48% |

Converted amount ($12 base) | $303.24 |

Price difference ($12 base) | $291.24 |

CPI in 1885 | 9.700 |

CPI in 2017 | 245.120 |

Inflation in 1885 | -1.02% |

Inflation in 2017 | 2.13% |

$12 in 1885 | $303.24 in 2017 |