What Peter Minuit gave the Manhattoe tribe was a package of trinkets and cloth valued at 60 guilders, roughly equivalent to $24.
Today’s value of the real estate on Manhattan is roughly 50 billion US$ (according to my Public Library for the years 1991 and 1992). Assume the land accounts for a quarter of this, i.e., 12.5 billion.
Now, if Minuit had put this money into a bank (and until 2008, they were safe places) for, say, an interest rate of 5.4%, then – after 382 years – his payout in 2008 would have been
$24*1.054^382 = $12,744,552,672,33
hence a bit more than today’s value of what he traded in. Silly guy, isn’t ?
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