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What trade would you add to these lists of "Greatest Ever"?


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These two articles list "The Greatest Trades Ever":

 

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43713770/The_Greatest_Trades_of_All_Time

 

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/01/top-10-greatest-trades-of-all-time/

 

But I would add this one:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

 

...the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($233 million in 2011 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).
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Not trying to be political (because it just fact) but I don't think any private citizens or fund's trades can compare to those of the traders/executives at money-center banks because they sit on completely asymmetrical trades.  Government will literally bailout other foreign nations with tax money to save the banks within their borders. 

 

Paul Volcker is on record saying US banks have been insolvent several times over the last 30 years and they were bailout out in secret.  Richard Koo remarked that, during his time at the Fed, they did "everything legal, para-legal and quasi-legal" to ensure that US banks don't take loses.

 

Not even Warren can boast that an entity with secrecy and a printing press engage in "quasi-legal" actions to ensure he makes a gain.

 

 

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Guest Hester

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

 

...the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($233 million in 2011 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).

 

Assuming each acre is worth $10,000 today (a lofty assumption), then that is a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 6.27% pre-inflation.

 

The Louisiana Purchase wasn't really a "trade" in the traditional sense, since it was kind of taken by force from the native Americans, who were already occupying it.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

 

...the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($233 million in 2011 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).

 

Assuming each acre is worth $10,000 today (a lofty assumption), then that is a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 6.27% pre-inflation.

 

The Louisiana Purchase wasn't really a "trade" in the traditional sense, since it was kind of taken by force from the native Americans, who were already occupying it.

 

True, but I was thinking about the water and mineral rights over the two centuries that are included...

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That CNBC list was garbage for the most part.  The other list was modestly better.  Every one of those trades could easily be usurped by one Buffett act that created more wealth than many of those trades combined...his hiring of Ajit Jain!  But hands down, the greatest trade in the last fifty years was Bill Gates getting ownership of MS-DOS from IBM.  Cheers!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

 

...the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($233 million in 2011 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).

 

Assuming each acre is worth $10,000 today (a lofty assumption), then that is a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 6.27% pre-inflation.

 

The Louisiana Purchase wasn't really a "trade" in the traditional sense, since it was kind of taken by force from the native Americans, who were already occupying it.

 

But that doesn't account for all the wealth that the territory has produced over the last two centuries.

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That CNBC list was garbage for the most part.  The other list was modestly better.  Every one of those trades could easily be usurped by one Buffett act that created more wealth than many of those trades combined...his hiring of Ajit Jain!  But hands down, the greatest trade in the last fifty years was Bill Gates getting ownership of MS-DOS from IBM.  Cheers!

 

Actually, according to Paul Allen in his autobiography, Microsoft at that time was the premier supplier of basic software for the early PCs, including Apple, but they didn't have a disc operating system because discs were just starting to displace tape drives.  IBM was using them as the go to company to do it all, so they took the IBM executives on short notice to the company that owned the only reliable DOS to sign a contract.

 

The owner was far away hiking or something and couldn't be reached, and his wife was put in the awkward position of dealing with the IBM higher ups.  His wife insisted that IBM sign the standard contract her husband's company used, and she refused to sign the contract IBM had prepared.  The IBM execs took Allen and Gates aside and told them that that would never work because it would take six months for IBM's legal department to approve a nonstandard contract. 

 

Gates and Allen realized how ticked off the IBM execs were, and they saw an opportunity instead of a problem.  They said to the IBM execs, "the heck with it, we'll do the operating system just like we're doing everything else", and IBM agreed.  At that time neither IBM nor Microsoft knew how important having a superior disc operating system would be for dominating the new industry.

 

Allen knew a guy at a small software co in Seattle who had been working on a PC DOS and had left his company to branch out on his own.  They bought the rights to his rudimentary system for $35K, not knowing if it would eventually work satisfactorily or not.  As it turned out, it actually had a superior design than the other DOS that was the industry standard at the time. As they worked the bugs out of the DOS they acquired, MS DOS became the standard for the IBM PC and eventually the industry standard.  Allen doesn't relate any major problem licensing their DOS to IBM.  IBM was happy to get a license from Microsoft for a bargain fixed fee.  :)

 

The rest is history. :)

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That CNBC list was garbage for the most part.  The other list was modestly better.  Every one of those trades could easily be usurped by one Buffett act that created more wealth than many of those trades combined...his hiring of Ajit Jain!  But hands down, the greatest trade in the last fifty years was Bill Gates getting ownership of MS-DOS from IBM.  Cheers!

 

Whoa!

 

I forgot about that! Good point...

 

Watch this video:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCn8IkEuHKk

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Purchase

 

...the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km2) of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total sum of 15 million dollars (less than 3 cents per acre) for the Louisiana territory ($233 million in 2011 dollars, less than 42 cents per acre).

 

Assuming each acre is worth $10,000 today (a lofty assumption), then that is a compounded annual growth rate of roughly 6.27% pre-inflation.

 

The Louisiana Purchase wasn't really a "trade" in the traditional sense, since it was kind of taken by force from the native Americans, who were already occupying it.

 

6.27% capital appreciation.  But that land has thrown off cash regularly (taxes, etc.).  On the other hand, the government has also dumped a lot of capex into it (highways, surveying townships).  Hard to calculate a good return!

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Timber is pretty valuable and Johnny Appleseed really did a lot with just some seeds and walking around for 40 or 50 years.  I don't know the value of it all, but I'm sure it's a lot and he didn't put much money into his venture. 

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