Here’s a snapshot of consumer prices sixty years ago. This ad for Kroger’s appeared in the Pittsburgh Press, August 23, 1956.
It’s not a perfect method of comparing prices (because silver is also a commodity whose price varies), but the easiest way to compare pre-1964 prices is to remember that a dollar equaled one silver dollar, four silver quarters, or ten silver dimes, each of which weighed one ounce. So if you think of the prices in terms of ounces of silver, you’ll get an idea of what prices were really like then. The price of silver today is about $18, so by multiplying these prices by 18, you’ll get an idea of what items cost then.
A pound of ground beef cost 39 cents, but by this comparison, that would equal about $7 a pound. A pint of mayonnaise was 47 cents, the equivalent of $8.46 in today’s money. Tuna was two cans for 63 cents, which works out to $5.67 per can in today’s money.