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Prices in pre-and early industrial Germany: staple food; 1330 - 1850

Resource Type
  • Gerhard, Hans – Jürgen; Kaufhold, Karl Heinrich
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    Description: Food and commodity prices are central indicators and a popular research area in economic and social history. Examples for this are the historical cyclical analysis, the analysis of regional disparities and the research on historical living standards. The basis of the collection of price historical sources in hand is a comprehensive collection of material on price and wage history of the Göttingen institute for economic and social history (Göttinger Instituts für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte). This outstanding collection was based on the works of Moritz J. Elsass from the beginning of the 1930s and was extended in the beginning of the 1960s under the command of Wilhelm Abel in Göttingen. In Göttingen this collection is used since that period as the basis of all historical collections on prices and wages of the archive. In the middle of the 1980s the price historical research was resumed under the command of Hans-Jürgen Gerhard with a larger scale and with the financial help of the Volkswagen foundation. It was concentrated on Northwest Germany (Westphalia, Lower Saxony, the Hanseatic Cities, and Schleswig-Holstein) and was concentrated on the period from around 1650 to 1850. “The comprehensive material taken mainly from archives became part of the historical collections of prices and wages of the Institute for economic and social history of the University of Göttingen and extended the collections of the institute substantially. For the publication in hand a large part of the raw material was transformed in order to get consistent and comparable price series which are universally usable. This meant especially a careful investigation of the measurement of sizes, weights and monetary values used in the sources. The considerable effort in this process made it necessary to publish initially only a part of the data.“ (Gerhard/Kaufhold, a. a. O., p. 1). The selection leaded to the present price and data collection for unprocessed food staples: Product group 1: Wheat and wheat products (tables for barley, oats, rye, wheat, respectively in the consolidated locations); product group 2: legumes, vegetables potatoes and fruits (tables for beans, yellow and green peas, lentils, potatoes, respectively in the consolidated locations); product group 3: meat and meat products (table for meat, beef, veal, lamb, goat meat, pork, respectively in the consolidated locations). Altogether 16 locations were consolidated. Some time series go back to the year 1330 without gaps. In those cases the data was collected from a high number of different archives and libraries in the North German area. The price series are sorted by product groups, within each group by goods and listed by alphabetically ordered regions. Due to this three-part order all price tables have a tripartite serial number. Data tables in Histat The price tables are subdivided by three product groups: A. – Tables, Group 1: Cereals and cereal products, tables for barley, oats, rye, wheat, respectively in the consolidated locations; B. – Tables, Group 2: Legumes, vegetables, potatoes and fruit, tables for beans, yellow and green peas, lentils, respectively in the consolidated locations C. – Tables, Group 3: Meat and meat products, Tables for meat, beef, veal, lamb, goat meat, pork, respectively in the consolidated locations. Register of tables in HISTAT: The following overview contains only the differentiation of price tables to unprocessed basic foods; prices for the goods are divided into further subdivisions for each of the following 16 locations: 01. Braunschweig 02. Bremen 03. Celle 04. Detmold 05. Duderstadt 06. Emden 07. Göttingen 08. Hamburg 09. Hannover 10. Herford 11. Lüneburg 12. Minden 13. Münster 14. Osnabrück 15. Paderborn 16. Waake A. Group 1Cereals and cereal products A.10 Barley A.20 Oat A.30 Rye A.40 Wheat B. Gruppe 2: legumes, vegetables, potatoes and fruits B.10 Beans B.20 Peas B.30 Lentils B.40 Vetches B.50 Potatoes C. Group 3: Meat and meat products C.10 Beef C.11 Veal C.12 Ox meat C.20 Mutton C.21 Goats C.30 Pork
Temporal Coverage
  • 1330-01-01 / 1850-12-31
  • 1330 to 1850
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany; Territory under investigation: the federal states Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and North Rine Westfalia between 1330 and 1850. Included Towns: Braunschweig (01), Bremen (02), Celle (03), Detmold (04), Duderstadt (05), Emden (06), Göttingen (07), Hamburg (08), Hannover (9), Herford (10), Lüneburg (11), Minden (12), Münster (13), Osnabrück (14), Paderborn (15), Waake (16).
  • Germany (DE)
  • North Rhine-Westphalia (DE-NW)
  • Lower Saxony (DE-NI)
  • Schleswig-Holstein (DE-SH)
  • Bremen (DE-HB)
  • Hamburg (DE-HH)
Collection Mode
  • Quellen: Materialien aus Staats- und Stadtarchiven sowie aus Bibliotheken. Geheimes Staatsarchiv Berlin (Preußischer Kulturbesitz); Spezialarchive: Clausthal (Altregistratur des Oberbergamtes); Göttingen (Preis- und Lohngeschichtliche Sammlungen des Instituts für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte der Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen); Waake (Privatarchiv der Familie von Wangenheim).
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 2190
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
All metadata from GESIS DBK are available free of restriction under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. However, GESIS requests that you actively acknowledge and give attribution to all metadata sources, such as the data providers and any data aggregators, including GESIS. For further information see
Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8512 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Gerhard, H. – J./Kaufhold, K. H. (Hrsg.), 1990: Preise im vor- und frühindustriellen Deutschland. Grundnahrungsmittel. Texte: Hans-Jürgen Gerhard. (Göttinger Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte; Bd. 15). Göttingen: Verlag Otto Schwarz & CO. (Datenfile in histat)

Update Metadata: 2017-12-29 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-07-29

Gerhard, Hans – Jürgen; Kaufhold, Karl Heinrich (2015): Preise im vor- und frühindustriellen Deutschland: Grundnahrungsmittel; 1330 - 1850. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.