The notorious Hunt Brothers, Nelson Bunker and William Herbert Hunt, were the heirs of the oil tycoon H.L. Hunt. The family was one of the richest in America at the time. In the early 1970's, the family bought large amounts of silver as a hedge against inflation. By 1979, the Hunt Brothers had bought up 200 million ounces - the equivalent of half the world's deliverable supply. The price of silver had moved from $2 per ounce in 1973 to $5 per ounce in early 1979 and then shot up to $50 in early 1980.
The officials at COMEX checked this cornering of the silver market by raising margin requirements. The Hunt Brothers were highly leveraged and were unable to meet their margin calls, so they were forced to sell. The price of silver fell dramatically. On March 27 1980, the price fell 50 percent in one day, from $21.62 to $10.80, in a crash known as Silver Thursday. The Hunt Brothers were forced to declare bankruptcy.
- The Hunt Brothers and the Silver Market. Traders Log.