The Price of Vintage Absinthe..some thoughts

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Nov 2000:The Price of Vintage Absinthe..some thoughts
By Jkk on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 04:39 pm: Edit

It looks as if one franc in c. 1900 was about equal to $5 at present. Any ideas on that anyone?

By Petermarc on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 04:37 am: Edit

thanks for your disclosure, marc...for what it is worth, i highly respect you for being so honest...

By Marc on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 01:23 am: Edit


I'm doing great. I sent you an e-mail.

By Absinthedrinker on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 01:05 am: Edit

Morning Marc, how's it going?

By Absinthedrinker on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 01:04 am: Edit

Here are some comparitive prices from the Vichet catalogue of 1900.

Absinthe Vichet Tres Vielle 72% Ffr 1.7 per litre
Absinthe Vichet Extra Fine 66% Ffr 1.45 per litre

Kirsch 50% Ffr 5.75 per litre
Cognac Grand Fine Champagne 49% Ffr 3.35 per litre
'Divers wines' (Banyuls, Sherry and Port) Ffr 3.25 per litre

So absinthe was comparitively cheap in those days - half the price of wine. I think that French bars still sell a glass of table wine for around the price that a litre of the same stuff would cost in a supermarket so maybe the lower prices on the saucers aren't so way off the mark.

By Marc on Sunday, November 05, 2000 - 12:55 am: Edit

Beer and liquor markup in restaurants is about 500%. Wine is closer to 300%. A frozen margarita
mark-up can be as much as 1000%. Same with some draught beer. Of course, in my joints we do alot of drink specials, buy backs and freebies for regulars. In addition, my bartenders and waiters are a bunch of drunks so they drink up alot of the profits. Having a stoned staff makes The Rodeo Bar and Jack's Joint that much more fun.
Back in the 80's,I used to go through a bottle of tequila a night at The Rodeo. All by myself. I've got the scars to prove it. And the enemies.

By Jkk on Saturday, November 04, 2000 - 09:34 pm: Edit

Don't you think the price of belle epoque absinthe
was about the same as that of pastis now? I know
absinthe was expensive in the middle of the
nineteenth century, but by 1900, the price had
gone down, and the drink was highly popular in
France. Wormwood costs almost nothing, and its
addition or subtraction from a liqueur shouldn't
really affect its price. It seems to me that if
you know the wholesale rate for present-day Pernod
and that of vintage, you could figure out roughly
how much the franc in 1900 was worth in terms of
today's dollar. Or are there other factors I'm
not taking into account?

By Petermarc on Saturday, November 04, 2000 - 01:32 am: Edit

ask marc what the profit margin is on "wine-by-glass" (no offense, marc) i hardly eat out for dinner any more because i have to pay on average almost 3 times the retail price for a bottle of wine with my dinner...and the french do not like/have doggy bags or corkage fees...i know there are restaurants that sell their stock cheaply, but they are few and far between...i imagine it was not so different in the past....

By Petermarc on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 05:04 pm: Edit

it is my opinion that many of the bistro saucers
date from after the ban...i have one with 30 (sous) on it that is hidden with a thistle-flower's the lowest price i have seen...
i think once you get over 3 francs, it's a little pricey for an invoices are hard to figure out, but the stuff was pretty cheap by our

By Jkk on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 04:58 pm: Edit

I can't tell you an equivalent value today, but I just wanted to mention that the monetary system was made over c.1960 so that one new franc was equal to 100 of the old francs. So, a bottle of liquor with the price of, say, 500 francs in 1959,
would sell for about 5 francs a few years later.

By Chrysippvs on Friday, November 03, 2000 - 11:10 am: Edit

After doing some research I have discovered that a regular bottle of absinthe (permier fils, Vichet, Chavin, etc...) cost around 1.50 FF on average per bottle at wholesale rate (around 12 bottles per order or so). We can assume that Pernod Fils was maybe around 2-3FF per bottle, just a ballpark figure until I see an old invoice.

With that in mind, notice the price enameled on most vintage saucers. They usually range between 1FF to around 8FF per glass. If this price is true per glass (which I don't think that the majority of these plates were for absinthe alone) then the bistros were making a killing per glass...almost got their costs back in a glass or so. I know from other sources that a glass of some absinthes would only cost around 5-30 cents per glass (that antimony chloride stuff perhaps?).

This all has left me somewhat confused about the nature of the exact cost of absinthe per glass and per bottle, and it's modern exchange rate.

Anyone know what the Franc of the Belle Epoch in worth today roughly?

Any thoughts, perhaps Absintheur or Peter have seen some other invoices. Anyone have an old menu from a bistro, really a crossection of menus, as I am sure the Cafe Royal and the one that Verlaine slummed in were rather different...

- Justin

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