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Tool$ Tuesday: Currency Conversion and Haydn’s Messiah

Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here’s Tuesday’s query:

Name: Roland Weiser

Making Sense

Question: I would appreciate the name of the site where you can obtain today’s value for currency in the past. I’m writing a family memoir: my father worked in Cairo, Egypt as a pharmacist in 1906 and was paid LE 18 [Egyptian Pounds] per month. How much would that be in today’s dollar value? I could not find the site, and know you used it for your Haydn story. Many thanks.

Paul Solman: The site I like and use is measuringworth.com. It’s an enormously handy tool for converting dollar figures from the past to the present — and pounds too. Especially interesting is the feature that allows you to compute worth seven different ways: from the CPI to share of GDP. It gives a good sense of how subjective the conversion to ‘today’s’ value can be.

Our story featured Handel, by the way, not Haydn, though I understand your typo: the orchestra that performed the Messiah is “The Handel and Haydn Society.” Maybe we’ll do a story on Franz Josef Haydn next holiday season, or even on his brother Michael, if someone can suggest an economics angle. Seriously. Who’d have thought we’d get a Making Sen$e story out of the Messiah? Not me.

(Watch a larger version of ‘How Handel Orchestrated a Classic Financial Portfolio’ here.)

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions _Follow Paul on Twitter._

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