walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Math, it is hard

I'm reading _David Crockett: Lion of the West_. It's kind of cool how the author both uses and credits (inline) work done by family genealogists in trying to make sense of Crockett ancestry.

However, there is this mysterious passage.

"On June 4, 1787, John sold the two hundred acres he had purchased four years earlier in Sullivan County for one hundred shillings for fifty pounds. [14] At the time of the transaction, both John and Rebecca signed the bill of sale, which brought them virtually no profit, since one pound sterling was worth about twenty shillings."

There's an error here. Where is it?

Purchase price: 100 shillings OR 5 pounds
Sales price: fifty pounds OR 1000 shillings

That's a 10 bagger, in investor-speak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_bagger). A ten bagger in four years is pretty cool. However, there was some post-revolution inflation which I'm having some trouble quantifying.

Where is the error?

(1) Basic math (my fave)
(2) Close to 10x inflation over the four years in question, unmentioned by the author but presumed to be known by the reader (which I do not know to be true)
(3) An author who thinks that a ten bagger in four years is "virtually no profit"
(4) Some other explanation that currently escapes my imagination?

I checked -- a pound really is 20 shillings, so _that_ is not the location of the error.

Note 14 ibids back to the previous note, which is: "Shackford, David Crockett: The Man and the Legend, 5."

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