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CHANEL Fine Jewelry to Celebrate The New York Public Library Treasures Collection
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: Jerry Seinfeld attends as CHANEL Fine Jewelry Celebrates The New York Public Library Treasures Collection at The New York Public Library on June 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Jared Siskin—Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

A million dollars can go a long way. But for people who made a million dollars in years past, that amount of money went even farther. That's because inflation eats away at the purchasing power of $1 million — or any amount of money, for that matter — over time.

Read More: What Is Inflation, and Why Should I Care?

Using this trusty inflation calculator, we figured out several millionaires "firsts" in history, like the first athletes and media stars to make $1 million. Included on this list is John Jacob Astor, the first American multi-millionaire. He made his fortune in the fur trade. When he died in 1848, he was worth an estimated $20 million. His fortune would be worth approximately $100 billion in today's dollars.