A loaf of Bread for a penny in 1880

QUESTION:  I find it so interesting using your currency converter. However, I’m never sure which measure is best to follow for what I need. I hope you can help. For example, if a penny could buy a loaf of bread in the 1880s, what measure would I use to see how much that would be now? I’m interested in what it would have cost a person in terms of how much they were earning compared to how much they were having to spend out on the bread, if that makes sense. From all the reading and research I’ve done so far I think I should be looking under the commodity section, and on either ‘labour value’ or ‘income value’, but I’m not sure of the difference between the two. I really would appreciate some help with this. Also, which measure would I use to see how much a person’s wage would be equivalent to now? I think that I want to see it in the way of how much a person would be able to buy with the wage, rather than just the inflation rate. For example, I want to see how much they would have earned so I can they see how much of that would have been spent on rent, food, etc.

ANSWER:  I always say the right measure (and there are usually more than one) depends on the question.  You have done a fabulous job of thinking what questions you want to answer, so you have the right answers, and that is the answers.  Here is what the comparator says.

If you want to compare the value of a £0 0s 1d Commodity in 1880 there are three choices. In 2017 the relative:
real price of that commodity is £0.38
labour value of that commodity is £1.88
income value of that commodity is £3.06

That the real price is so low indicates that relative to other consumer goods, bread is much cheaper today.  The labour value is generating a relative wage value of the loaf of bread in 1880 and say it would correspond to almost two pounds today.  The average income today is more than just current wages, so the relative cost of that loaf of bread as measured by average income is over three pounds.

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