Facebook stock got hammered last night after reporting disappointing earnings and future outlook.
This is not a strictly numismatic bit of news, but I do have a numismatic reason for writing this.
At its low point last night when Facebook stock had dropped by 24 percent, that worked out to a loss to owners of $126 billion.
That’s quite a whoopsie moment.
It is a blow to a juggernaut, pride of Silican Valley.
So with the $126 billion figure in mind, let's return to reports of a sunken Russian warship with a purported $130 billion in gold on it.
I was skeptical when I blogged about it July 19 – more than skeptical.
The figures were inconsistent even by the standards of a fantasy.
The Donskoi was sunk in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war.
Supposedly it was carrying 200 metric tons of gold.
By my calculations, such a quantity, fantastically large as it is, worked out to $7.8 billion rather than $130 billion at melt value.
Now the South Korean company that announced the discovery of the wreck is backtracking according to a Reuters story posted on the Kitco website.
Even the mathematical inconsistency is pointed out.
Video shot by a submersible had no evidence of gold.
In short, there might be no gold at all.
Fortunately, the missing $130 billion in sunken Russian gold will do no real harm.
Collectors might miss some future sale of recovered treasure, but that is minor.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the $126 billion in lost market value of Facebook stock.
It is major.
Those missing dollars will be subtracted from individual brokerage statements all across America unless the stock recovers in today’s trading.
The lesson once again is of the importance of diversification.
As much fun as stockholder dreams of fortunes generated by Silican Valley firms might be, there is a risk of them turning to ashes.
Facebook might bounce back.
I hope it does.
Better, though, that some of these billions of dollars be cashed out before the crash, to be spread across other assets.
Some of this money could find its way into gold and silver bullion that can be held in one’s hand.
Some might even find its way into numismatics.
The sum of $126 billion could buy 47,727 1804 dollars at June’s $2.64 million sales price.
Perhaps there are that many 1804 dollars in the hold of the sunken Russian warship.
Don’t believe me?
That’s more likely than $130 billion in Russian gold.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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