Sales and quotations issued daily for the produce markets at Chicago convey expressive details on the cost to buy Passenger Pigeon squabs at various times during the 1870s.
The following notes were among the nearly every-day reports for game as given by either the Daily Commercial Bulletin and Commercial Report and Market Review, both issued at Chicago. From 1871 through 1872, the reports included the number sold, but this was subsequently not reported. During the years when the number sold was given, each available record was extracted from the publication, and entered into a database, along with the details associated with adult birds, which were typically purchased at a greater cost.
No information was given to indicate where these birds had been taken, or shipped from.
- 05/16/1871: 31 dozen squabs at 50 c (31 x 12 = 372)
- 05/17/1871: 69 dozen squabs, 15 c (828)
- 05/19/1871: 1 barrel damaged squabs, 10 c per dozen
- 05/20/1871: 15 dozen squabs, 60 c; 15 dozen damaged at 30 c (360)
- 05/26/1871: 20 dozen dressed squabs at 65 c (240)
- 05/27/1871: 1 barrel squabs at 65 c per dozen
- 06/03/1871: 25 dozen dressed squabs at 65 c (300)
- 06/08/1871: 25 dozen dressed squabs at 50 c per dozen, 20 dozen at 60 c (540)
- 06/09/1871: 50 dozen dressed squabs at 50 c; 30 dozen live at 65 c (960)
During this period, there were 3800 known to have been sold, in addition to the unknown number contained in a barrel.
- 05/04/1872: 21 dozen dressed squabs at 90 c (252)
- 05/06/1872: 42 dozen squabs at 85 c @ $1.00 (504)
This is the greatest price paid to purchase squabs, based upon an evaluation of these available records.
- 05/07/1872: 38 dozen squabs at 60 c (456)
- 05/08/1872: 87 dozen dressed squabs at 60 c (1044)
This is the greatest single day sale, based upon numerics available for this market.
- 05/10/1872: 44 dozen dressed squabs at 50 c (528)
During May, there were a more than 2700 sold in the week's period.
- 04/11/1874: squabs at $1.00
Another example when there was brisk demand for squabs, resulting in a higher purchase price.
- 05/02/1874: squabs at 70 c per dozen
- 05/13/1874: squabs at 50 c @ 60
- 07/07/1876: inside the 50 @ 60 c for live birds, so for squabs; this would correlate to ca. 50 c
- 04/17/1878: squabs sell well at 75 c @ 80 per dozen
- 04/20/1878: squabs at 55 c @ 60; dressed slow at 50 c @ 55
- 04/25/1878: squabs slow at 35 c @ 40 per dozen; dressed at 30 c @ 40 per dozen
- 05/01/1878: squabs at 60 c @ 80 per dozen
- 05/09/1878: squabs slow at 45 c @ 50 per dozen
- 05/13/1878: squabs at 25 c @ 35 per dozen
- 05/18/1878: squabs slow at 25 c @ 30 per dozen
- 05/23/1878: squabs slow at 25 c @ 30 when choice to nearly unsalable for poor lots
There must have been a glut on the market at this time, with prices being so notably low, and since squab carcasses in poor condition were difficult to sell.
- 05/28/1878: squabs at 35 c @ 40 per dozen
- 05/27/1879: 75 c @ 90 for squabs
- 06/02/1879: 60 c @ 65 for squabs
- 06/12/1879: 50 c @ 70 for squabs
- 06/27/1879: squabs at 50 c @ 75
Obviously the squab season lasted from mid-April, and primarily through mid-June, with only a few dates for latter June and into July.
Using the different low price values given, on average it would cost a bit more than $0.50 for a dozen squabs, just a tad more than 4 cents each. This sale price had to pay the expense of acquisition and shipping to Chicago.
Live squabs garnered a better price, because certainly there was no concern with spoilage. But these birds would have required different methods of shipping, an endeavor that may have required providing water and perhaps food, depending upon the length of the trip.