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Prices in Preindustrial Germany: Food, Beverages, Spices, Raw Materials and Industrial Products, 1736-1850

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Gerhard, Hans-Jürgen
  • Kaufhold, Karl Heinrich
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • CESSDA Topic Classification:
    • History
  • Abstract

    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 standard. 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 in 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 consistent and comparable price series that are universally usable. This meant especially a careful investigation of the measurement of sizes, weights and monetary values used in the sources. Publishing the price series started in the 1990s. The first publication was on food staples (see Gerhard, H. – J./Kaufhold, K. H. (Hrsg.), 1990: Preise im vor- und frühindustriellen Deutschland. Grundnahrungsmittel. Texts: Hans-Jürgen Gerhard. (Göttinger Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte; Bd. 15). Göttingen: Verlag Otto Schwarz & CO. Archiv-Nr.: ZA8484; in histat). In this second volume of the complete work, one finds the prices for food, beverages, spices, raw materials and industrial products. The tables of the price series are first sorted by the two product groups: (A) Food, beverages and spices and (B) raw materials and industrial products. Within these groups will be differentiated according to individual product groups: A.: wheat products and rice; vegetables and fruits; poultry/ poultry products; milk and milk products; fish; beverages; spices / flavorings; other food and related products (coffee, cocoa, olive oil, tobacco). B.: vegetable raw materials / seeds; animal raw materials; metals and metal salts; minerals; textile plant-based; textiles animal based / leather goods; colors / colorants / color timbers; metal ware; fats / oils / soaps; fuel and lighting; building materials and timber; other industrial products. A third subdivision concerns the goods of each product groups and the consolidated locations. Due to this three-part order all price tables have a tripartite serial number. With the publication of a selection of altogether 400 price series (133 in the first and 267 in the second volume) the material presentation of this project is concluded. Data tables in HISTAT: The price tables are first divided into the two main product groups (A and B). Each is subdivided by price, source type and by sub product groups. The individual tables (not listed here) are differentiated according to the individual goods and the consolidated locations: A: Food – Beverages - Spices Table part A1: Prices from Hamburg’s Commodity Price Current (Hamburger Preiscouranten), Product group: Food, beverages and spices: A1.01 Cereal products and rice A1.03 Vegetables and fruits; poultry / poultry products A1.04 Milk and milk products A1.05 Fish A1.06 Beverages A1.07 Spices / flavorings A1.08 Other food and related products (coffee, cocoa, olive oil, tobacco) Table part A2: Prices from other location A2.01 Cereal products and rice A2.02 Vegetables and fruits; poultry / poultry products / sausage products A2.03 Vegetables and fruits; A2.04 Milk and milk products A2.05 Fish A2.06 Beverages A2.07 Spaces / flavorings; A2.08 Other food and related products (coffee, cocoa, olive oil, tobacco). B.: Raw materials and industrial products Table part B1: Prices from Hamburg’s Commodity Price Current (Hamburger Preiscouranten) B1.01 Vegetable raw materials / seeds B1.02 Animal raw materials B1.03 Metals and metal salts B1.04 Minerals B1.05 Textile plant-based B1.06 Textiles animal based / leather goods B1.07 Colors / colorants / color timbers B1.08 Metal ware; fats / oils / soaps B1.09 Fats / oils / soaps B1.10 Fuel and lighting B1.11 Building materials and timber B1.12 Other industrial products Table part B2: Prices from other locations B2.01 Vegetable raw materials / seeds B2.02 Animal raw materials B2.03 Metals and metal salts B2.04 Minerals B2.05 Textile plant-based B2.06 Textiles animal based / leather goods B2.07 Colors / colorants / color timbers B2.08 Metal ware; fats / oils / soap B2.09 Fats / oils / soaps B2.10 Fuel and lighting B2.11 Building materials and timber B2.12 Other industrial products
Temporal Coverage
  • 1736 / 1850
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany; federal states: Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and westfalian Part of North Rhine Westfalia. Included Towns: Emden, Oldenburg, Hamburg, Bremen, Lüneburg, Celle, Hannover, Braunschweig, Detmold, Goslar, Gittelde, Elbingerode / Rote Hütte, Waake, Göttingen, Lauterberg / Königshütte, Duderstadt.
  • Germany (DE)
Collection Mode
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 2346
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
  • ZA8601 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Gerhard, H.-J./Kaufhold, K. H. (Hrsg.), 2001: Preise im vor- und frühindustriellen Deutschland. Band 2: Nahrungsmittel, Getränke, Gewürze, Rohstoffe und Gewerbeprodukte. (Göttinger Beiträge zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte; Bd. 19/20). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner. (Datenfile in histat)

Update Metadata: 2020-10-20 | Issue Number: 17 | Registration Date: 2015-07-29

Gerhard, Hans-Jürgen; Kaufhold, Karl Heinrich (2015): Preise im vorindustriellen Deutschland: Nahrungsmittel, Getränke, Gewürze, Rohstoffe und Gewerbeprodukte, 1736-1850. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.