This weekend, Warren Buffett released his 50th annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Over that half-century, Buffett took the failing textile company and turned it into a legendary conglomerate.
Using historical price data for Berkshire Hathaway class A shares from a retrospective analysis of Buffett’s outsized returns and from Yahoo! Finance, we calculated how much $US1,000 of Berkshire stock would be worth today if you invested that money at different times during Buffett’s tenure.
That $US1,000 invested in 1964, when Buffett took over the company and shares cost just $US19, would be worth about $US11.6 million dollars today, based on the last available closing price of $US221,180 on February 27. $US1,000 invested in 1990 would be worth $US33,136 today.
Here’s a chart showing the current value of Berkshire Hathaway stock bought at different times in the last fifty years:
Investing in the first couple decades of Buffett’s stewardship would have lead $US1,000 to grow to several million dollars by today. After about 1980 or so, those gains were much more modest, although still extremely impressive.
To get a better handle on the last thirty or so years of Berkshire Hathaway, here’s the same chart using a logarithmic scale, in which the vertical axis is incremented in powers of ten, making it easier to compare the large range of price returns we’re looking at:
Finally, here’s a table showing the current value of $US1,000 of Berkshire stock purchased in a given year: