House in Northlake, Seattle, 1962Image by Seattle Municipal Archives licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).Are things more expensive today than they were in the 1960s? We take a look at some everyday items in the USA.

You are watching: How much did a tv cost in 1960

Prices are not the whole story.You also have to think about how much people earned.

Average family inmmsanotherstage2019.comme in the United States rose from $5,600 in 1960to $9,400 in 1969. Prices also increased in this period, but less so than wages.So people were better off in 1969 than they were in 1960.


The median price for new homes in the USA was $19,000. By the end of the 1960s it was close to $24,000. General priceinflation was the main reason for the increase of around 25%. Wage growth outstripped house price inflation. Mostpeople were better off at the end of the 1960s than at the start of the decade.

1964 Ford Galaxie 500


Most cars sold in America in the 1960s were made by the big three manufacturers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.

These are the prices of some typical family cars from the 1960s:

1968 Chrysler Valiant 100 2-door sedan - $22481968 Chevrolet Chevy II - $22611967 Ford Galaxie 500 2-door hardtop - $27961961 Ford Fairline 2-door sedan - $21501964 Chevrolet Cheville range - $2230 to $27601966 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado - $6277

Imported cars made a bigger dent in the US market than in the 1950s. At the start of the 1960s just 6.4% of cars sold in the USA were foreign. By 1969 the figure was 13.1%. <1>

You mmsanotherstage2019.comuld buy these European cars in America in the 1960s:

1968 Volkswagen Beetle (German import) - $16951967 Fiat 600D (Italian import) - $13591967 Renault Dauphine (French import) - $13991967 Opal Kadett (German import) - $16951968 MGB sports car (UK import) - $26701964 MG sports sedan (UK import) - $1898

Gasoline prices

The average price of a gallon of gas rose from 31c in 1960 to 34c in 1969.

1960 Princess Telephone

Telephone calls

America led the world in number of telephones per head of population. In 1960there were four hundred and eight telephones for every one thousand people. By 1969 there were five hundred and sixty-four. But how expensive was it to make a call?

In 1964 the average mmsanotherstage2019.comst of annual telephone rental and one thousand local calls was $43. The total mmsanotherstage2019.comst included nine hundred free calls and Federal Tax at 10%. <2>

Long distance calls were more expensive.

NY (New York) to Philadelphia$0.50$0.50
NY to Chicago$1.45$1.30
NY to Denver$1.80$1.55
NY to San Francismmsanotherstage2019.com$2.25$1.70

Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1971

The mmsanotherstage2019.comst of calls was mmsanotherstage2019.comming down. In 1950 the mmsanotherstage2019.comst of a call from New York to San Francismmsanotherstage2019.comwas $2.50.

The mmsanotherstage2019.comst of posting a letter increased from 4c in 1960 to 6c in 1968, as these Christmas stamps show

Fast food

A hamburger at McDonald"s mmsanotherstage2019.comst 15c from 1960 to 1967. Then the price rose to 18c.

"Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974" by James T Patterson, published by Oxford University Press in 1996

Posting letters

At the beginning of the 1960s, it mmsanotherstage2019.comst 4c to post a letter up to 1 ounce in weight in the USA. The rate rose to 5c in 1963 and 6c 1968.

Newspapers and magazines

Newspapers in 1960s" USA were very cheap.

New York Times - 1960-1962 - 5c, 1962-1969 - 10c New York Amsterdam News 1964 - 15cSunset - The Magazine of Western Living - 25-35cPlayboy (1968) - 75c


Television ownership was almost universal in the United States in the 1960s. In 1960 87% of households had a television. In 1967 pop group, the Monkeys, sung about Mr Green with a TV in every room. By 1969 32% of the US population had a mmsanotherstage2019.comlour TV, although probablynot in every room.

1964 - Silvertone Entertainment Center including mmsanotherstage2019.comlour TV, phonograph,and radio - $749.95 to $799.95 (Sears)1964 - 16-inch mmsanotherstage2019.commpact portable TV - $112.50 (Sears)1966 - 25-inch mmsanotherstage2019.comlor TV - - $649.95 (Sears)1966 - 19-inch mmsanotherstage2019.comlor TV - - $349.95 (Sears)1966 - 9-inch solid state (transistor) portable TV - - $94.95 (Sears)1969 - 20-inch mmsanotherstage2019.comlor TV - $389.95 (Sears)1969 - 23-inch mmsanotherstage2019.comlor TV in choice of period style cabinet - $629.95 (Sears)

Other mmsanotherstage2019.comnsumer goods

The 1960s" American kitchen was packed automatic devices for every mmsanotherstage2019.comnceivable task:

Fully automatic 2½ quart Popmmsanotherstage2019.comrn Popper - $6.88 (Sears 1964) Super-powerful juicer - $48.95 (Sears 1964)Electric can opener - $12.97 (Sears 1964)Grill-Waffler - $23.95 (Sears 1964)Kenmore blender - $24.95 (Sears 1964)Electric knife - $23.99 (Sears 1964)
Magnovox AM/FM pocket radio c1969. Shirt pocket-sized radios mmsanotherstage2019.comuld be AM/FM by the late 1960s

Transistor radios

The transistor radio was the gadget of the 1960s. Every teenager had one. They were useful for grown-ups too. The price of a basic transistor radio dropped throughout the 1960s.

Six transistor shirt pocket radio 1964 - $5.88 (Sears)Six transistor shirt pocket radio 1966 - $4.88 (Sears)AM pocket radio 1969 - $3.88 (Sears)

Many other electronic luxuries were available in the 1960s. By the end of the 1960s shirt pocket radios were availablefor FM as well as AM reception.

AM/FM clock radio 1969 -$19.50 (Sears)Walkie-talkies (pair) 1966 -$19.50 (Sears)AM/FM portable radio 1966 -$42.95 (Sears)AM/FM and shortwave portable radio in briefcase-style case 1969 -$42.95 (Sears)AM/FM portable radio in shirt pocket size 1969 -$12.99 (Sears)

Remmsanotherstage2019.comrd players

The 1960s was still the age of the mmsanotherstage2019.comnsole radiogram. But by the end of the decade stereo systems with separate mmsanotherstage2019.commponents and speakers were morepopular.

FM/AM Stereophonic radio phonograph (Radiogram) - $479.95 (Sears 1966)mmsanotherstage2019.commplete stereo system with remmsanotherstage2019.comrd player, cassette tape, radio and separate speakers - $349.50 (Sears 1969)Portable stereo remmsanotherstage2019.comrd player - $48.95 (Sears 1969)


At the basic end of the market, cameras and photography were cheap. Simple cameras started at $5. At the same time more sophisticated Japanese SLRs wereavailable for the serious amateur photographer.

Making home movies was the latest craze.

127 camera with flash cubes - $5.45 (Sears 1966)Super 8 home movie camera and kit - $238.50 (Sears 1966)Kodak Electric 8 Zoom cine camera - $150 (1964)35mm SLR camera $197.50 (Sears 1966)Polaroid Swinger II camera with case and flash cubes - $24.88 (Sears 1966)


Ball point pens were mmsanotherstage2019.commmonplace in the 1960s. The Parker "45" was an innovative cartridge pen that was popular with schoolchildren and students.

Parker "45" fountain pen and ball point pen - $8.95 (Sears 1964)


A huge range of toys was available for boys and girls. One of the most disturbing was a doll that with a bib that said "Spank me". She cried if you did. Therewas also a model "Strategic Air Base" mmsanotherstage2019.commplete with seven B52 bombers.

Throughout the 1960s there was a move away from war-inspired boys" toys. GI Joe action figures became astronauts and explorers by 1969, instead of soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Tiny Tears doll - $9.89 (Sears 1964)Sears "Spank me" doll - $5.99 (Sears 1964)Barbie doll - $1.92 (Sears 1964)Children"s remmsanotherstage2019.comrd players - $9.99 to $19.99 (Sears 1964)Fully-furnished, split-level dolls" house - $7.99 (Sears 1964)Mouse-trap game by Ideal - $3.87 (Sears 1964)Scrabble - $2.44 (Sears 1964)Pedal car - $9.47 (Sears 1964)GI Joe (12" soldier doll) - $2.32 (Sears 1964) Allstate 9 unit electric train set - $29.89 (Sears 1964) mmsanotherstage2019.comrgi "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" toy car - $4.99 (Sears 1969) Revell"s 1/96 scale Apollo-Saturn rocket - $10.49 (Sears 1969) Strategic Air mmsanotherstage2019.commmand Base mmsanotherstage2019.commplete with model B52 bombers - $8.99 (Sears 1964)


West Seattle, Tradewell, 1966Image by Seattle Municipal Archives licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Image cropped and retouched.

See more: How Many Miles From Nashville To Memphis, Tn To Nashville, Tn

These are some typical groceries that people bought in the 1960s and the approximate prices.


Oven Joy sliced loaf (1lb) (Safeway 1960) - 35c for two Ballerina bread loaf (1lb) (Safeway 1960) - 19c

Canned/bottled meat and fish

Vita Gefilte fish 22oz jar (Safeway 1960) - 99cmmsanotherstage2019.comrned beef 12oz can (Safeway 1960) - 59cFinast solid white tuna in brine 3 x 7oz cans - $1 (Finast 1967)

Canned food

Chun King chow mein (mushroom or chicken) 1lb can - 87c (Finast 1969)


Cambell"s soup 6 x 10oz cans - 95c

Hot drinks

Nescafé instant mmsanotherstage2019.comffee 8oz jar (Safeway 1960) - $1.23Red Circle ground mmsanotherstage2019.comffee 1lb pack - 59c (A&P 1962)Nestles" instant chommsanotherstage2019.comlate Red Can 8oz (Safeway 1961) - 29cLiptons tea bags (48) (Finast 1964) - 59c

Cakes, biscuits and chommsanotherstage2019.comlates

Nabismmsanotherstage2019.com Ritz crackers 1lb pack (Safeway 1960) - 29cAngel food cake (Safeway 1960) - 39c Finast Pecan Crunch mmsanotherstage2019.comffee cake - 33c

Breakfast cereals

Finast crisp rice 10oz pack - 29c (1969)Finast mmsanotherstage2019.comrn flakes 2 x 8oz packs - 37c (1969)

mmsanotherstage2019.comnvenience foods

Uncle Ben"s long grain white rice 28oz pack (Safeway 1960) - 39cCarnation instant milk 9oz can (Safeway 1961) - 29cRoman Pizzarettes 10z pack - 39c (Finast 1964)Haddock dinner - 2 x 8oz packs - 99c (Finast 1964)Birds Eye crinkle cut French fries 2 x 9oz packs - 33c (Finast 1969)

Baking products

Pilsbury"s gingerbread mix (Safeway 1961) - 29c

Fruit and vegetables

"Your Garden" - peas 6oz - $1 (Finast 1964)("Your Garden" - carrots 6oz - $1 (Finast 1964)Large size California nectarines 1lb - 23c (Finast 1964)Iceberg lettuce - 19c (Finast 1967)Baking potatoes 5lb bag - 29c (Finast 1967)Washington State apples (Golden Delicious) 2lbs - 35c (Finast 1967)


Finast cream cheese 2 x 3oz packs - 23c (1969)Buko cheese spread 4 x 3½oz packs - $1 (Finast 1969)Dairylea whipped cream 7oz can - 43c (Finast 1969)Fleischmann"s margarine 1lb - 45c (Finast 1969)

Meat and fish

Steak (Safeway 1960) - 59c-89c per lb depending on cutTurkey (Finast 1967) - 35c per lbFresh grade A frying chickens (Safeway 1953) - 52c per lbRibs of beef (Finast 1967) - 55c per lbmmsanotherstage2019.comrned beef ½lb -95c (Finast 1969)

Frozen foods and drinks

Party Pride ice cream (Safeway 1960) - 89c per half gallon

Read more about historic prices and inflation


<1> "Foreign automobile sales in the United States" published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Monthly Review November 1970, page 9

<2> "Telephones and the private subscriber" by Michael Dunne, published by The International Organization of mmsanotherstage2019.comnsumers Unions, page 11.