In terms of hours labor it took to pay for a stamp, what was the cost to send a half-ounce letter cross-country on the Pony Express? Would you believe about half the cost to send yourself across the country now?
While touring the Wells Fargo Museum in San Diego, I enjoyed their description of the Pony Express. Of course I had to convert the cost of mailing a letter to now.
According to the museum, the Pony Express ran from April 1860 to October 1861. From April 1861 until October, Wells Fargo ran the Pony route west of Salt Lake City. However, they set the rates and printed stamps for the entire cross-country run.
Wells Fargo reduced the rate to $2 per ½ ounce and then cut the rate further to $1 per ½ ounce.
In terms of average pay of the time, that is equal to about half a ticket to fly from Missouri to San Francisco today.
Let me explain.