Prices below are medians (2009), and “average” for earlier years.
Month Price Source
October ’09 $185,000 City of Chicago
May ‘09 $170,000 Chicago Dispatcher
April ‘09 $164,500 Chicago Dispatcher
March ‘09 $165,000 Chicago Dispatcher
February ‘09 $158,000 Chicago Dispatcher
Feb ‘07 $ 77,000 Chicago Tribune
2004 >$40,000 Chicago Tribune
1991 $28,000 Chicago Sun Times
The October list includes two sales at $190,000.
As medallion prices rise despite a sagging economy, this seems to me to indicate that fares are already too high and should be reduced, which would allow medallion prices to fall and, in theory, drivers would be unaffected while passengers benefit.
But Chicago Dispatcher publisher George Lutfallah sees it differently. Due to difficult conditions in the taxi industry, individual medallion owners are selling their medallions to big owners– the taxi equivalent of land speculators. Lutfallah sees this as a bad thing, “a taxi driver who owns his or her own cab is more likely to take better care of both the vehicle and the customer.” He therefore recommends a fare increase. (source: print edition of Chicago Dispatcher October ’09)