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Albany Automobile Club 1904 Halloween letter

Walt G

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More crazy stuff that reflects upon the history of the automobile. This letter was sent out  in late October 1904 to owners of motor cars urging them to participate in a Halloween parade with their automobile . Hopefully their automobile would be decorated, the occupants in costume, and there were prizes to encourage you to attend and participate as well. $50 in gold for the 1st prize and $25 in gold for the second prize!!

When was the last time anyone reading this was offered that kind of opportunity to participate in an activity on Halloween ??  Most of the car activities we have attended , the car owners are the ones who have to pay $ to let other people look at their cars so the owners can possibly win a ribbon, plastic trophy, or if they are really fortunate a metal bowl or plate that is plated ( but not in gold).

Perhaps some of you may find this amusing - but yes it is a real letter .  $50.00 in gold in 1904 - what would that equal in 2021?


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Two practical ways to look at the value of that prize today. The inflation calculator per google says the dollar today is worth about thirty times the dollar in 1900. So that fifty dollar prize becomes about $1500.

Grass Valley was at that time one of the world's centers of gold mining. A lot of history around here surrounding that. The price of gold around 1900 was about $20 per ounce. So $50 in gold would have been about two and a half ounces. Todays price of gold is about $1800 per ounce (again per google), so those two and a half ounces would be worth about $4500. 


Wonderful letter and look into history! Sure a lot gaiety in those days.

I always enjoy these tidbits you share!

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I wondered if the Fisk mentioned had anything to do with the tire company as well.

The New England Region of CCCA recently had an inquiry/spot on Fisk Tries because they were made there.

People were not making a lot of $ per week/per day in that era. But that being said if yo owned a car in 1904 you had to be fairly wealthy to start with to buy one.


Thanks Wayne, glad to share what I can with everyone . I sincerely appreciate the Forums as a venue to present this for all of you who care to look at or read what is "new" in "old" history, since our club magazine does not have the space to provide same. It makes one think and appreciate the heritage , not just about the automobiles/vehicles but what was going on with the people that lived in that era , Halloween parade! we need more of those. But remember my last name is spelled Gosden not Goblin........................😉

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Below is a picture of a $20 gold piece, or double eagle,

that likely would have been a part of the prize.  It's about

the size of a silver dollar and contains almost an ounce of gold.


But I didn't know that "burnt orange, white, and emerald"

are considered colors of Hallowe'en.  People today are more

likely to think of orange and black.

1904-S 20 Dollar Gold Liberty Type 3 PCGS MS63

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"Period Colors" even for Halloween!  Wonder if there is a judging manual for this , and since the Eastern Fall meet is in October would it be bonus points if cars were driven in to the judging field in period Halloween attire /decorations as mentioned here. Perhaps would be most appropriate for a RR Silver GHOST or PHANTOM or SPIRIT!  😬


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   Well, given the time period (1904), I would suspect that few or any of the club members would be classed as 'working joes' or blue collar workers.

  I can envision the Albany Automobile Club as a fairly exclusive operation with club meeting house and garages available and hefty membership dues and fees. Maybe most of the members autos were chauffeur driven and maintained?

  The disparity between face value of gold coins and the price of gold is probably why gold coins were recalled during the '30s, I think.

  Interesting letter, thanks for posting, Walt.

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As the sun broke through the mists low on the Hudson river, in the early hours of October 31, 1904, Albany emerged from within doors. Not the Albany that had retired the night before, but a new populace that had cast care to the four winds, put on the motley black and orange of the “little folk,” doffed dignity for a space and returned to the naivete of their forefathers.

Ceremony went hand in hand with hilarity, and townspeople ran the streets with country folk who had come from far and near, ail converging on the capital for the coronation of Queen Titania, “undoubted Queen of All Hallow E’en.”


-Fun times...just a bunch of stuff you probably couldn't pull off these days. Pictures of automobiles decorated for parade , winter carnival etc. this would make a cool thread. 



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