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GIFTS FROM 'THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS' ARE CREATIVE BUT COSTLY AT $15,581.96

 TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 27 ~PRNewswire~ -- If your true love has tired of the usual Christmas gifts such as perfume, slippers and neckties, perhaps he or she would be more receptive to, say, a partridge in a pear tree, seven swans-a-swimming or the other 10 items listed in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," all of which can be had for a mere $15,581.96.
 For years, PNC Trust Company of Florida has been providing truly creative gift givers with a price list of all of the items in the famous Christmas carol. This year's total represents a 0.82 percent increase over last year's $15,455.79 price tag. That's a lower inflation rate than the government's Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation that was up 3.2 percent for the same period.
 "The difference in our Christmas Price Index (CPI) versus the government's CPI suggests that maybe inflation is lower than the rate indicated by the government's index," said PNC economist J. Patrick Bradley. "More important, both measures show slower price gains."
 Bradley, who along with colleagues has been tracking the prices in the song for eight years, added, "Although the past several holiday seasons have been dismal ones, we're predicting a 3 to 5 percent increase in sales this year. In other words, a recent post-election surge in consumer sentiment says it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."
 Consumers interested in purchasing gifts from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" could pay as little as $12 or as much as $7,000 for some of the items. This year, the price of partridges remained unchanged at $15. "Animals are a steady business where there's not much inflation," explained Bradley.
 With declining gold prices, the cost of five gold rings fell from $412.50 to $300. "The lack of demand for jewelry during the recession is primarily to blame for tumbling gold prices," said Bradley, noting this is the fourth year the cost of gold has plunged. Just three years ago, five gold rings fetched $750, more than double this year's price. That's good news for those giving a ring as a Christmas present.
 What, then, accounts for the price increase in the total gifts listed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? Again the story in 1992 is the rising service prices. Although the unchanged minimum wage kept the cost of eight maids-a-milking steady at $34, the price of the salaried entertainers went up. A local musician's union charges $1,053 and $1,140.75, respectively, for 11 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming. Those prices are up from $1,003.86 and $1,087.52 in 1991.
 Bradley called local dance companies to check prices for nine ladies dancing and 10 lords-a-leaping. The ladies' rate was $2,606.83, up from $2,555.72 a year ago. And those leaping lords now run $2,924.88 instead of 1991's $2,839.69. The entertainment performers' rates are up from 1991; however, their annual fee increases have slowed from a range of 5.7 to 5.9 percent in 1991 to a range of 2.0 to 4.9 percent in 1992, reflecting the government's findings of slower income growth. "The Christmas Price Index seems to mirror the government's Consumer Price Index, only more so," said Bradley.
 Items whose prices remained steady included two turtles doves, three French hens, four calling birds, six geese-a-laying and seven swans-a- swimming. Those seven swimming swans are still the most expensive gift on the list at $1,000 per swan or $7,000 for the flock. A pear tree is a consumer's best bargain at $12.50.
 If people want to be true to the song, then by the end of the 12 days they will have given their true loves 12 partridges in a pear tree, 36 calling birds, 40 maids-a-milking, 22 pipers piping, and so on, for a total of 364 presents costing $71,618.71.
 The complete list with prices:
 PNC TRUST COMPANY OF FLORIDA'S CHRISTMAS PRICE INDEX TABLE
 1989 1990 1991 1992
 One partridge in a pear tree $39.95 $27.48 $27.50 $27.50
 Partridge 15.00 15.00 15.00 15.00
 Pear tree 24.95 12.48 12.50 12.50
 Two turtle doves 50.00 50.00 50.00 50.00
 Three French hens 15.00 15.00 15.00 15.00
 Four calling birds 280.00 280.00 280.00 280.00
 Five gold rings 750.00 600.00 412.50 300.00
 Six geese-a-laying 150.00 150.00 150.00 150.00
 Seven swans-a-swimming 7,000.00 7,000.00 7,000.00 7,000.00
 Eight maids-a-milking 26.80 30.40 34.00 34.00
 Nine ladies dancing 2,084.40 2,417.90 2,555.72 2,606.83
 Ten lords-a-leaping 2,316.00 2,686.56 2,839.69 2,924.88
 Eleven pipers piping 905.58 947.70 1,003.86 1,053.00
 Twelve drummers drumming 981.05 1,026.68 1,087.52 1,140.75
 Total cost of items
 in Christmas Price Index 14,598.78 15,231.72 15,455.79 15,581.96
 Percent change 5.90 4.34 1.47 0.82
 True cost to buy all
 items in song 70,961.21 72,205.12 71,907.19 71,618.71
 Percent change 4.75 1.75 (.41) (.40)
 PNC Trust Company of Florida is an affiliate of PNC Financial Corp. PNC, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is the nation's 13th-largest bank holding company, with assets of $46.6 billion. It operates approximately 550 community banking offices in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Delaware and conducts business through additional offices in 16 states.
 PNC's principal banking affiliates include: Pittsburgh National Bank, Pittsburgh; Provident National Bank, Philadelphia; Citizens Fidelity Bank, Louisville, Ky.; Central Trust, Cincinnati; Bank of Delaware, Wilmington, Del.; Northeastern Bank, Scranton, Pa.; Marine Bank, Erie, Pa.; PNC National Bank, Wilmington, Del.; CCNB Bank, N.A., Camp Hill, Pa.; Hershey Bank, Hershey, Pa.; The First Bank and Trust Company, Mechanicsburg, Pa.; and PNC Trust Company of Florida, Tampa and Vero Beach, Fla.
 -0- 11~27~92
 ~Editors: For more information on Provident National Bank's Christmas Price Index, call Pat Bradley at 215-585-5314, or Rebekah Fickling at 215-585-7677.~
 ~CONTACT: Linda Wolohan of Provident National Bank, 215-585-5453~
 (PNC)


CO: PNC Trust Company of Florida; PNC Financial Corp ST: Florida, Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ECO

JS-MK -- PH006 -- 1802 11~27~92 13:03 EST
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Date:Nov 27, 1992
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