How Much Would Alaska Cost in Today’s Dollars?

Posted: March 31, 2014 at 6:01 am

In 1867, Andrew Johnson’s radical Secretary of State signed a deal with Russia, buying “Seward’s Icebox” for $7.2 million. At that time, that worked out to roughly 2 cents an acre. In today’s dollars, William H. Seward would have bought Alaska for around 30 cents an acre.


Johanna Kinney, City Clerk in Seward, said they’ll be closing offices today to celebrate “Seward’s Folly.”


Kinney: “I think it’s an important day, and as it’s our namesake of our town, city offices and state offices are going to be closed in observance of Seward’s Day and William H. Seward and his foresight and wisdom in acquiring our great state of Alaska.”


The purchase was nicknamed “Seward’s Folly” at the time, and only passed Congress by one vote. It took another 30 years before the Klondike gold strike changed public opinion about the value of Alaska.

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2 Comments to “How Much Would Alaska Cost in Today’s Dollars?”

  • Ed M says:

    Seward’s Folly is and was exactly that …America was coned into a “fraud of sale” the Russians didn’t sell the lands but the Fur Trading Company only and signing of the treaty by which the United States bought Alaska from Russia. The occupants of the lands (the NATIVES) where sold without there approval…the sale money didn’t go to them. Go to the Soldotna Library and read the true history!!

  • fred says:

    America was coned?