G Plan sideboard prices in 1968 and 1974 adjusted for inflation !
We have 1968 and 1974 G Plan catalogues with price lists , so it’s very interesting to see what pieces would now cost adjusted for inflation to 2018 equivalents .
1968 was an important year for G Plan as the Fresco range for bedroom and dining rooms was launched , whilst the Brasilia range for dining and Quadrille for bedrooms was still on offer and would be for another year or two . The circular astro coffee table was also available for the first time , but the oval version was still to come . Quadrille nests were still selling in 1974 , so we have a great chance to compare prices over the 6 years of turmoil for the British economy , with high inflation continuing throughout the 1970s .
We prefer the slightly shorter Brasilia ( its about 8 cms less ) or Gold Label G Plan sideboard to the Fresco , but in 1968 the Fresco would have cost you £62.5 whereas the Brasilia was £53.5 . As the Fresco range was for bedrooms and dining rooms it should over time have become cheaper to produce and more cost efficient as it became the only range . The same is true when comparing the Fresco chests with the more stylish and more sought after Quadrille ones , the Fresco was more expensive than it’s older sister the Quadrille , perhaps because it was NEW !
We’ve used an online British Historic Inflation comparison site for our figures which tell a fascinating tale . In 1968 the 7ft ( 213cm ) Fresco sideboard cost £62 10 shillings , which according to the Inflation calculator would be £1080 , but by 1974 the identical sideboard had risen to £115 which using the same calculator is equivalent to £1340 now . In real terms that’s over 20% more in only 6 years .
If you look at the G Plan circular coffee table it was introduced in 1968 at £19 19 shillings , which is today £345 , by 1974 it was selling at £32.50 or a modest increase to £374 . We’re selling them currently for £165 in good vintage condition , but we’ve seen a few on Ebay with Buy it Now prices of between £350 and £450 !
The Quadrille nest costing £16.5 in 1968 ( £285 ) was £32.50 ( £374 ) in 1974 . So a whopping third more approximately .
A 6 drawer Fresco newly introduced would have cost you £34.5 in 1968 ( £596 ) and by 1974 it was £63 ( £725 ) so again a 20% rise in real terms .
I’m at a loss to explain why coffee tables hadn’t risen much but cabinet pieces and nests had . I’ve also checked the standard circular dining tables and in today’s terms they went up from £630 to £897 between 1968 and 1974 so again around a third increase in real terms . Maybe the glass in the coffee table hadn’t risen in cost as much as the teak , and maybe less labour involved as a percentage of final cost than in other pieces .
In 1968 there was a large pool of traditionally trained craftsmen in the furniture industry with 6 year apprenticeships on low wages , and a ratio of about 1 apprentice to 3 craftsmen in the large furniture companies like G Plan . Gradually these apprenticeships disappeared as more companies went over to cheaper manufacturing using more machinery and less labour . G Plan and McIntosh and others still used traditional cabinet making techniques during the 1970s but others such as Shreiber didn’t , and over the years some of the smaller companies disappeared . In the 1970s an increasing amount of cheap flat pack furniture was being imported into the UK from Germany and even Sweden and Denmark , so British traditional makers were taking a smaller share of the market . There are still young cabinet makers being trained in the traditional ways today , but far fewer than in the 1960s and 1970s , and unlike the car and other industries there are no real shortcuts so no opportunity for traditional furniture companies to improve productivity . Therefore the labour cost of making in the UK has risen much faster than inflation , and so will costs of good veneers and timbers . For all these reasons it would probably mean that if G Plan were still selling Fresco pieces today they would cost a lot more than the historic inflation calculator would suggest .
The only UK company still making teak furniture in a style similar to what they did in the 1970s is Nathan , and their quality back in the 1960s and 1970s was never as good as G Plan . If you look at their pieces in the shops they’re probably around 50 % more than vintage G Plan pieces would be if you just use the Inflation calculator to come up with a price , so a 7ft Fresco sideboard that should be £1340 would be around £2000 if of Nathan quality , but we’d guess around £2500 to £2750 if to the 1970s G Plan standards . No wonder that vintage G Plan pieces can be found for sale today all over the world . G Plan quality was the same in 1978 as it was in 1968 as was that of McIntosh , but by the early to mid 1980s things had changed , both in style and quality .