The price of a share is not necessarily indicative of quality. However, looking at some of the highest stock prices in history can be educational for those interested in the history of the stock market.
Berkshire Hathaway ($ 445,000)
Berkshire Hathaway is the holding company of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The shares reached $ 445,000 per share in May 2021.
Notable companies under the Berkshire umbrella include GEICO Auto Insurance and Helzberg Diamonds. Berkshire is also a shareholder in Apple (AAPL), Bank of America (BAC) and Coca-Cola (KO).
Buffett’s success as an investor led to a fantastic rise in Berkshire’s share price. Berkshire Hathaway A (BRK.A) shares are trading at $ 419,000 per share as of July 22, 2021. For people interested in investing in Berkshire, the company’s B shares (BRK.B) are much more affordable at $ 278 per share as of July 22, 2021.
Coastline ($ 4,699)
In April 2019, Seaboard Corporation (SEB) reached its record high of $ 4,699 per share. Today, the company is trading at $ 3,885 (as of July 22, 2021). Seaboard Foods is one of the largest grain and produce producers in the US.
In addition, the maritime division provides maritime transport services to the Caribbean, as well as to Central and South America. The milling facilities on the coast process and sell grain products around the world. The company may be best known for its large stake in Butterball Turkey.
NVR ($ 5,308)
NVR (NVR) is a home builder operating under the names Ryan Homes, NVHomes and Heartland Homes. It markets in many states, building and selling homes, as well as offering mortgage financing and title insurance.
NVR hit an all-time high of $ 5,308.48 in mid-2021. The coronavirus crisis hit the company, reducing its price by nearly 50% in March 2020. However, it recovered most of those losses within a few months and is listed at $ 5,000 per share as of July 22, 2021.
Amazon ($ 3,773)
Amazon (AMZN) was still hitting new highs in July 2021. The company’s shares suffered an initial setback during the 2020 bear market. However, it soon became clear that Amazon would benefit from the coronavirus crisis as consumers will change their online purchases. The stock is now trading at $ 3,625 per share as of July 22, 2021.
The online bookstore-turned-store rebounded from a terrible drop below $ 10 a share after the dot-com bubble burst. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world as of July 22, 2021.
Alphabet / Google ($ 2,670)
Tech giant Alphabet (GOOG), best known for its Google search engine, hit a record high of $ 2,670.09 in mid-2021. The stock is now trading near its all-time high at $ 2,668 in July 2021. Google generates revenue through advertising, publishing tools, and the Android operating system.
What is driving Google’s growth is the continued adoption of advertising, which accounts for 80% of Google’s revenue (in particular, its AdSense and AdWords platforms). Google has also launched new products in recent years, including its line of Pixel phones.
Calumet and Hecla ($ 1,000)
Calumet and Hecla was a copper mining company that began in Houghton County, Michigan. The company exceeded all expectations when, in 1906, it produced nearly 100 million pounds of copper. That pushed the company’s stock price to $ 1,000 in 1907.
Apple ($ 702.10)
Apple (AAPL) surpassed Exxon as the world’s largest company in 2011. It reached its all-time high in September 2012 thanks to a gain of more than 70% in 2012. After hitting all-time highs, the maker of the iPhone, Macintosh computers, and the iPad suffered a sharp setback. The company had a 7-to-1 share split in 2014 before the share price could fully recover.
On a division-adjusted basis, Apple repeatedly hit new all-time highs between 2014 and 2020. However, $ 702.10 remained the highest price ever for Apple without adjusting for divisions.
General Motors ($ 697.00)
General Motors (GM) had a stock price below $ 30 in June 2020, but the iconic automaker’s history is long and storied. According to The New York Times, GM was the world’s largest automaker from 1931 to 2008, when Toyota surpassed it.
GM led the way in automotive innovation, but also in creating complicated corporate structures. In September 1916, GM hit a record $ 697 per share, but collapsed shortly after because the new car market was sold out. In 2009, the Great Recession forced GM to file for bankruptcy. It later resurfaced, but with the federal government in possession of 500 million shares.
The bottom line
In the eyes of an investor, price does not necessarily reflect value. A more expensive stock does not always translate into a better company. Instead, these stories chronicle the journey from idea to income, from genius to growth, all arranged in a tapestry woven by the ever-evolving machine of American capitalism.