Who doesn’t like ice cream?

On a recent trip to Paris we spent the early part of an afternoon on the Left Bank, walking along the eclectic Rue de Seine. If you want to get a feel for how Paris used to be, then Rue de Seine is for you.

Standing at the corner where Rue de Buci meets Rue de Seine, outside Bar du Marche, a nice looking gentleman asked in a very friendly tone if he could help me find something (was it that obvious?). In response I asked if he could recommend an ice cream shop and he pointed us to Grom, a perfect place to get a crème glacee between lunch and a late dinner.

Thirty years ago this spring I started working at an ice cream restaurant called Oxford Creamery in Mattapoisett, MA. It was there that I learned how to make a thick malted coffee frappe and to work with customers. Frappes were easy.

It’s hard to believe, but a two-scoop cone back then was only $0.75. Which got me thinking about inflation and the value of a dollar.

Today the same size cone goes for $4.25, or 5.7 times more.

At the end of 1986 an ounce of gold cost $390.90. Today it’s $1,264, or only 3.2 times more. To keep pace with my 5.7 ice-cream multiple, gold would be priced at a hypothetical $2,228.

Whether it gets there or not, gold is a store of value, plain and simple. And measured against prices for ice cream, I believe it offers some value at today’s prices.

You need to understand, though, that it can be expensive to own gold. It doesn’t pay a dividend and it can be frustrating to own through the ups and downs.

In the five years following its 1987 close at $486, by example, gold was down: -15.69%, -2.23%, -3.69%, -8.56%, and -5.71%. Eighteen years later, in 2005 it closed at $513—a long time to “make” 5.4%. Total. And you’re not paid any dividends to wait.

You buy gold with the intention to never sell it.

Once you determine you want gold in your life you need to make sure you can afford it.

Because it could take a long time for its value to be realized by the rest of the world.

Mais ça va.