500 Year Chart of Silver

I’m not sure exactly what to make of this huge chart — but it looks interesting!

click for larger chart


via Goldinfo (hardly an unbiased source!)

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. jck commented on Jan 9

    surely doesn’t look like a bull market…

  2. Abobtrader commented on Jan 9

    Interesting chart.

    You need a subscription to the Economist for this, but they have a wider commodity price index going back over 150 years. I found this story from 1999, which shows a chart of commodity prices on a long-term decline, again in real terms.


    Just as the equity mkt has an upward drift, so it appears the commodity mkts have a downward drift. Shorts with deep pockets may have the last laugh yet. I don’t have any positions on but short oil and short gold is looking increasingly tempting. I read that Jim Rogers once sold gold only for it to go up some $200 shortly after…he had the last laugh.

  3. voort commented on Jan 9

    This chart resurfaces from time to time, I guess to prop morale of silver afficionados about the impending silver breakout, always around the corner.
    While PM are likely to do well in comings years, the chart merely suggest that a 5 thousand years downtrend may be followed by a 5 thousand years uptrend. Whether it offers any short term (<100 years) clues I'm not sure...

  4. sean commented on Jan 9

    My decision to short silver in 1477 looks very prescient now.

    I almost covered during the ~100 year trading range from
    the 1640’s to the 1740’s, but I didn’t want to fall prey to the siren of overtrading.

    – Sean

  5. john commented on Jan 9

    I’d bet that virtual ANY metal exhibits the same price trend as silver over the past X00 years (due to inefficient extraction, etc)….though I don’t have a chart, I believe the price of aluminum mimics the silver chart. In Napoleonic times, aluminum was more valuable than gold.

  6. royce commented on Jan 9

    As production techniques have improved, hasn’t the inflation adjusted price of most stuff come down? Clothing, food, etc. Everything except whale oil anyway. I can’t even find it in the stores.

  7. Big Al commented on Jan 9

    Silver was used massively in photography, but no longer, even X-rays are not using it as much, since GE came out with their system.

  8. B commented on Jan 9

    Your post is absolutely hilarious. Btw, you might want to cover soon. You need to spend some of those profits to help boost the economy.

  9. Zmetro.com commented on Jan 9

    500 Year Chart of Silver

    Barry Ritholtz….

  10. Zmetro.com commented on Jan 9

    500 Year Chart of Silver

    Barry Ritholtz….

  11. Lord commented on Jan 9

    Gold is very rare.

  12. Blackwood commented on Jan 9

    Timothy R. Walton wrote an amazing book on how gold and silver transformed the world financial markets. It’s also an entertaining read. Recommended!

    On whale oil:
    Nye Lubricants was selling whale oil in the US up until 1978.

    When Abraham Gesner figured out how to distill kerosene from petroleum the whale oil industry became obsolete.

    In 1856 whale oil peaked at $1.77 per gallon, falling by 1896 to 40 cents/gal. Yet it could not keep pace with the price of refined petroleum, which dropped from 59 cents per gallon in 1865 to a fraction over seven cents in 1895.


  13. Sean commented on Jan 10


    I’ve been thinking about covering my 500 yr short.

    As retirement approaches, only 200 years away, I’m shifting to less volatile assets…

    – Sean

  14. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 10

    Yer killin me Sean!

    I’m wiping tears from my eyes!

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