Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949
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  1. #1
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    Default Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    A current thread inspired me to browse through an old beekeeping journal of my father where I found this line item from the spring of 1949.
    100 3# packages (w/queen I assume) purchased from Jackson Apiaries. Price ???????
    Get your picks in. Answer coming at 7AM Monday 10/14

    Hint: Total honey and wax income from Approximately 1,000 hives that year was just over $6,500
    Last edited by jim lyon; 10-13-2019 at 07:38 AM.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    $1.25

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    I was only two yrs. old at the time, so I don't recall the real price, but I'll guess $2.29 per package.
    Last edited by Tim KS; 10-13-2019 at 05:50 PM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Mr. Google tells me that the average family income in '49 was $3100. Pretty lucrative business that gets you twice the average income. So each hive averaged $6.50...what a pound of honey costs today. Seems like a lot of work for $6.50 per hive.

    My guess is $350 for the hundred packages.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Quote Originally Posted by loghousebees View Post
    Mr. Google tells me that the average family income in '49 was $3100. Pretty lucrative business that gets you twice the average income. So each hive averaged $6.50...what a pound of honey costs today. Seems like a lot of work for $6.50 per hive.

    My guess is $350 for the hundred packages.
    Just for the record it was a partnership of 2 brothers so their joint income was pretty close to the mean.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    I suspect supply and demand pushed prices down shortly after the end of the war. Hive numbers were at all time highs and now sugar was no longer being rationed. Couple that with a relatively large order and my guess for the lot is $175.00, or $1.75 per package. I was too high the last time so figured it couldn't hurt to low ball this time.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Well not a lot of participation but I have a predicament declaring a winner as I didn't officially declare "Price is Right Rules". Those rules would say Tim was the winner with his $229 guess. However after further review I'm going to make the controversial decision to declare the winner here as loghousebees whose guess of $350 missed the actual cost of $349 by only one dollar!
    How times have changed, having fun reviewing many of their costs in those years which of course has to be put into the context of the time. Lots of 2 and 3 dollar gas fills, also a gas and oil change for $3.50.
    As I mentioned it was a brother partnership, with the two young couples sharing a single car and a 1942 work truck! Now, it seems, any one of legal driving age who dosent own a car feels deprived.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #8
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Interesting. In today's dollars, $3.50 in 1949 equals $36.49. So the price of a 3lb package has sure outpaced inflation. J

  10. #9
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    Spring, Texas
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Remember that in the 50's you could buy all your Bee gear from Sears too.


    I still have my old smoker, hive tool and heavy duty gloves too.

    BEE fun to have an old Sears bee catalogue to look at the prices then.

    Remember you could go to the picture show on Saturday for .15 and little later they went to a quarter and that included the serial and the yo-yo contests they used to run.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    I have enjoyed this, it has been interesting and informative. Maybe the Moderators will begin a new forum titled "History" or "Nostalgia" or some appropriate term. It is important to know the perils and victories of beekeepers of the past. Beekeeping has always been fun and interesting but I don't know that it has ever been easy.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Loghouse, there is a History of Beekeeping forum already.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/for...-of-Beekeeping

    Perhaps I should have moved both of these "guess the price" threads to that forum to give it a little more exposure. I look forward to more of these snipits of history.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  13. #12
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    I have been doing some research into early queen and package producers from a small area in South Alabama. A 1922 article in Gleanings in Bee Culture had 22 suppliers from four contiguous counties in south Alabama. The running price of a queen that was "select untested" was $.75. The price of a "select tested" queen was $1.25 to $1.50.

    Nothing remains of this industry in this area today.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Thanks JWPalmer. I should probably wake up and pay more attention.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    I'll be glad to split the winning prize with you, loghouse. BTW, what was the prize?

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Interesting. In today's dollars, $3.50 in 1949 equals $36.49. So the price of a 3lb package has sure outpaced inflation. J
    In 1949 1 ounce of Gold was $35. Current price $1490.88. 1/10th $149.08.
    Pre August 1972, USD was backed by Gold!
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds" Albert Einstein

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim KS View Post
    I'll be glad to split the winning prize with you, loghouse. BTW, what was the prize?
    The prize? Errrr. How about all the free clover honey you want. Just pay the small $5 per lb. shipping and handling fee.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  18. #17

    Default Re: Cost of 3# package of bees in 1949

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Well not a lot of participation but I have a predicament declaring a winner as I didn't officially declare "Price is Right Rules". Those rules would say Tim was the winner with his $229 guess. However after further review I'm going to make the controversial decision to declare the winner here as loghousebees whose guess of $350 missed the actual cost of $349 by only one dollar!
    How times have changed, having fun reviewing many of their costs in those years which of course has to be put into the context of the time. Lots of 2 and 3 dollar gas fills, also a gas and oil change for $3.50.
    As I mentioned it was a brother partnership, with the two young couples sharing a single car and a 1942 work truck! Now, it seems, any one of legal driving age who dosent own a car feels deprived.
    That's pretty cool, Jim. Would like to see those old ledgers sometime, they tell a story about how things were then. What did they use for a 1942 work truck?

    -Rob

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