From <ACM v2 1898-1899> comes this advertisement for top-shelf Staunton chesspieces:
Now, I like the feel of a weighted piece, one that is “EXTRA FIRM ON BOARD”.
How much would that cost me in today’s dollars?
The official CPI (Consumer Price Index) data provided by the US government only goes back to 1913:
Using these figures I get a price ratio of 23.83, which is certainly a little off when the inflation from 1898 to 1913 is taken into account. So, searching the net for a source which attempts to estimate the cpi before it existed, I found this site:
These numbers come from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, which should be fairly reliable. My previous figure is found to be about 20% low, the actual price ratio (2015/1898) is found to be 28.31.
So, the weighted No. 3 Staunton set would cost $2.50 x 28.31 = $72 in today’s (2015) dollars.
The top-line board would then cost $1.50 x 28.31 = $44 (rounding up).
This isn’t really so far off from today’s prices – provided you don’t need bluetooth connectivity.