Two British chests of drawers you could have bought new for £28 in 1962 !
We’ve recently bought 2 Mid-Century chests of drawers by good mid-market British makers of the time . We now have a great collection of original catalogues some of which came with price lists . In 1962 inflation was low , unemployment was very low and the average wage in the UK was £799 ( £18000 in today’s terms ) , but we spent our money differently . Fewer people had cars , holidays were rarely abroad and technology was very basic compared to today . In 1962 a vacuum cleaner was expensive , but well built and expected to last 30 or 40 years ! Not long ago we bought a McIntosh teak sideboard bought in 1962 , and the owner still had his 1962 hoover , and it’s original receipt !!
In 1962 , the average house cost £2670 , which in today’s terms is about £60000 , and a Ford Classic was £723 so nearly an average wage . Today the average wage is around £35000 and a house £235000 .
The smaller of the 2 chests is solid afromosia and is by White and Newton and was one of their latest lines , it is in their 1968 catalogue priced at £28 1 shilling , which is about £630 allowing for inflation . The taller chest is by Meredew and new in that year priced in their 1962 catalogue at exactly £28 . The Meredew one is a totally different style , with Italian influence . The drawers are veneered in sycamore with a high glass finish , and the carcase is a mid oak with a natural finish . Both are well made with proper dovetails to the drawers . Afromosia was a dark teak popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s , and is easy to care for , whereas the Meredew which is more shiny and showy is easier to mark , and harder to restore .
The White and Newton chest is in good vintage condition and is priced at £350 on our website . The Meredew one needs the top and sides polishing and has a few small marks to the front if you look really closely and will go on the website priced at only £150 in “as is ” condition .
As a further comparison G Plan introduced their premium Danish Design range by Ib Kofod Larsen also in 1962 . The chest of drawers from that range was priced at £36 10 shillings , which with inflation is today about £775 , so about 25% more than the other 2 at the time . Today the demand for the Danish range means that we would be asking about twice the price of the White and Newton . We reckon that back in the day a 20% higher price got you something a lot better , whereas today it makes little difference .