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The Hunt Brothers

In the early 1970s, two brothers, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt, from one of America's wealthiest families' tried to corner the silver market.

As a hedge against inflation, the brothers turned to silver to preserve the purchasing power of their money.

william and nelson hunt

Before December 1974, it was against the law for a U.S. citizen to buy or sell Gold bullion.

In 1974, on the floor of the COMEX, Nelson Bunker Hunt declared, "Almost anything is better than paper money."

In 1979, with the help of some Middle Eastern investors, the Hunt brothers were estimated to hold more than a third of the entire world's supply of silver, or nearly 200 million troy ounces of silver.

The Hunt brothers hoarding caused the price of silver to jump from $6.00/troy oz in 1978 to an all-time high of $49.45/troy oz on January 18, 1980.

On January 7, 1980, as the price of silver rose, the New Your Metals Market (COMEX), in response to the Hunt's cornering of the silver market, started to end their manipulative game. 

The exchange rules regarding leverage were changed when the COMEX adopted "Silver Rule 7," placing restrictions on the purchase of commodities on margin.

silver bullion

Unfortunately for the brothers, they had highly leveraged their purchases of silver in margin accounts.

Because the Hunt brothers were over-leveraged in their margin accounts, it made them unable to meet their obligations in the silver market, causing the silver price to drop dramatically.

On March 27, 1980, the price of silver fell from $21.62/troy oz to $10.80/troy oz; this day is also known as "Silver Thursday."

Shortly thereafter, the Hunts were brought in front of Congress and charged with market manipulation.

They were fined $10 million each and banned from trading in American Commodity Markets.

The Hunt Brothers and Silver Thursday

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