Silver Bubble - Investment & Finance Definition
An artificially created spike followed by a rapid decline in silver prices in the late 1970s and 1980. The Silver Bubble was created by the Hunt Brothers, Nelson Bunker and William Herbert, who began buying silver in 1973 when it was $1.95 an ounce. The price hit $5 in early 1979, when the Hunt’s and their associates had amassed more than 200 million ounces of silver, which was estimated to be as much as half the world’s deliverable supply. By early 1980, the prices had peaked at $54 an ounce. Action by the Federal Reserve and a change in trading rules on Comex, the New York futures market where silver traded, stopped the Hunt brothers’ trading strategy. By March 1980, the Hunts were unable to meet a margin call on their futures contracts, sparking a panic on commodity and futures exchanges. A consortium of banks gave the Hunts a $1.1 billion line of credit; despite this, the Hunts lost hundreds of millions of dollars from their speculation. In August 1988, they were convicted of conspiring to manipulate the silver market.