Warren Buffett turns 87 on Wednesday, and over the past half-century, he has turned a failing textile company into a legendary conglomerate.
Using historical price data for Berkshire Hathaway class A shares from a retrospective analysis of Buffett’s outsize returns and Yahoo Finance, we calculated how much $US1,000 of Berkshire stock would be worth today if you had invested that money at the end of each year of Buffett’s tenure.
That $US1,000 invested in 1964, when Buffett took over the company and shares were just $US19, would be worth about $US14 million today, based on the $US268,910 price of the stock on Wednesday — and $US1,000 invested in 1990 would be worth $US40,286 today.
If you were to invest $US1,000 in Berkshire every year since 1964, your total investment would be worth a little over $US111 million today.
Here’s a chart showing the current value of Berkshire Hathaway stock bought at different times in the past 53 years:
Investments from the first couple of decades of Buffett’s stewardship would have grown that $US1,000 to several million dollars. After about 1980 or so, those gains were much more modest, though still impressive.
To get a better handle of the values of the past 30 or so years, which are hard to see in the above chart because of the large returns in earlier years, here’s the same chart using a logarithmic scale, in which the vertical axis is incremented in powers of 10, making it easier to see the range of price returns we’re looking at: