That means that no matter which one you purchased, you enjoyed a 430 percent return over 23 years. Of course, you would have earned even more with stocks, because that percentage gain excludes dividends.
That sounds pretty good—and it is. Both have appreciated in value much more extravagantly than your average household goods.
Price Appreciation Since June 1990
Unleaded Regular Gasoline...205%
Kilowatt Hour of Electricity...147%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
So what does this tell us—besides that those chickens in your freezer might not be a great investment?
It shows gold and stock prices have both outpaced inflation, at least as far as the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates it. So if you're buying gold on the theory that it will have to rise to keep pace with inflation, keep in mind that it's already risen far faster than the value of the dollar has fallen ... and stocks have done the same thing.
—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg
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