Phar Laps career prizemoney in various currencies
Daily Racing Form has career earnings of USD 332,250. Wikipedia has £66,738 (equivalent to AUD 133,476) citing the source as the Australian Racing Museum. Peter Pring has $A112,850 + $US50050.
(USD earning were USD 50,500 not USD 50,050 as widely reported see Daily Racing Form race chart no 69512 for 20 March 1932.)
Phar Lap commenced racing in 1929 just before and raced during the Depression when financial markets were unstable. When he commenced racing one Australian pound (£A1/-/-, now AUD 2.00) was worth slightly less than one pound sterling (£stg 1/-/- (British pounds)). By Melbourne Cup day in Nov 1931 one Australian pound (£A1/-/-) was worth about 30% less than one pound sterling (£stg 1/-/-).
The Wikipedia page titled ‘History of Australian currency’ notes: ‘In 1929, as an emergency measure during the Great Depression, Australia left the gold standard, resulting in a devaluation relative to sterling. Britain devalued the pound sterling against gold in 1931. A variety of pegs to sterling applied until December 1931, when the government set a rate of £1 Australian = 16 shillings sterling (£1·5s Australian = £1 sterling).’
My research suggests that to the extent it can be said there were pegs at all in Phar Lap’s time the pegs were set by the banks although it should be noted there was a reported lack of willingness to trade Australian exports at the advertised bank rates so an ‘outside market’ operated where the rate offered to purchase Australian pounds was about 5% less than the bank rates.
The bank rates of Australian pounds to 100 pounds sterling were published in the Sydney Morning Herald during this period.
The derived decimalized mid rates for dates Phar Lap earned prizemoney, which is the average of the Sydney/Australia on London buying and selling amount for TT (telegraphic transfers) set by Australian banks, are as follows-
DERIVED DECIMALISED MID RATES
From 14/09/1929 to 9/10/1929: £A 1.01250 = £stg 1.00 (now GBP 1.00)
From 2/11/1929 to 5/11/1929: £A 1.01125 = £stg 1.00 (now GBP 1.00)
From 15/02/1930 to 8/03/1930: £A 1.023125 = £stg 1.00
From 12/04/1930 to 17/05/1930: £A 1.063125 = £stg 1.00
From 30/08/1930 to 30/08/1930: £A 1.063125 = £stg 1.00
From 13/09/1930 to 8/11/1930: £A 1.0875= £stg 1.00
From 14/02/1931 to 3/11/1931: £A 1.3025= £stg 1.00 (to last race in Australia)
From 20/03/1932 to 20/03/1932: £A 1.2525= £stg 1.00 (race in Mexico)
Mid rates derived from Sydney Morning Herald editions dated Tue 3 Sep 1929 Page 13, Thu 10 Oct 1929 Page 15, Fri 13 Feb 1931 Supplement Page 5, Thu 11 Feb 1932 Supplement Page 1, Page 4 and Mon 14 Mar 1932 p11.
For those who may be interested in the economic history of the times the supplements are worth a look. Other Australian newspapers I looked at had minimal financial commentary which I found surprising. One writer even advocated that Australia stay with sterling to save Britain from bankruptcy. It seems a given that the writer believed Australians should suffer for the cause. Another writer advocated pegging the Australian pound to wool which the editor essentially dismissed as nonsense so I wonder why the letter was published.
I have worked out Phar Lap’s career earnings as follows:
Australian earnings in Australian pounds (£A) £A 56,426.00
Australian earnings in Australian dollars (AUD) AUD 112,852.00
Mexico earnings in United States dollars (USD) USD 50,500.00
Mexico earnings in Australian pounds (£A) £A 17,329.94
Mexico earnings in Australian dollars (AUD) AUD 34,659.88
Worldwide earnings in United States dollars (USD)* USD 299,982.67
Worldwide earnings in British pounds (GBP)* GBP 65,702.35
Worldwide earnings in French francs (FRF)* FRF 7,640,035
Worldwide earnings in Australian dollars (AUD)* AUD 147,511.88
* Australian pounds converted into pounds sterling (UK) based on rates for telegraphic transfer used by Australian banks and published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Pounds sterling (UK) converted into United States dollars (USD) (and vice versa) and French francs using USD and FRF to GBP 1.00 forex rates published by the Financial Times (London) or Times (London) for the date of the race (or the previous trading day if that is not a race day).