Why Did Silver Skyrocket In 1979?

Disclaimer: We may be compensated for some of the links on this website without any expense to you. This is how we keep our website free for our readers. This site is not intended to provide financial advice.

Why Did Silver Skyrocket In 1979

The surge in silver prices in 1979 remains a significant event in the history of the silver market. To understand why silver skyrocketed during this period, it is essential to consider the historical context of silver and the specific factors that influenced its dramatic increase in value.

Silver has been a valuable commodity throughout history, with various industrial and cultural uses. However, several factors came together in 1979 to create a perfect storm that fueled the rapid rise in silver prices.

In this article, we will explore what happened to silver in 1979, with a particular focus on three key aspects: the introduction to the silver market, the Hunt Brothers’ silver corner, and the role of inflation. We will examine the impact of government intervention during this period to gain a comprehensive understanding of the events that unfolded.

By delving into the historical context and analyzing the factors that contributed to the silver boom in 1979, we can unravel the ripple effects it had on the economy and other commodities. Furthermore, we will explore the aftermath of the silver bubble, including the collapse of the silver market and the legal consequences faced by the Hunt Brothers.

Finally, we will reflect on the lessons learned from the silver boom, highlighting the importance of market manipulation awareness and the role of speculation in commodity markets. Understanding the events of 1979 can provide valuable insights for investors, economists, and anyone interested in the intricacies of the silver market and the broader realm of commodity trading.

The Historical Context of Silver

To understand why silver skyrocketed in 1979, it is important to consider the historical context of silver.

Silver has been a valuable metal throughout history, used for various purposes such as coinage, jewelry, and industrial applications. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Monetary Historically, many currencies were backed by silver or gold. In the mid-20th century, most countries shifted to fiat currencies not directly linked to precious metals.
  2. Price Suppression: In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States, along with other countries, implemented price controls and restrictions on precious metals, including silver. This created an artificial suppression of the price of silver.
  3. Supply and Demand: During this time, demand for silver was increasing due to industrial applications, such as electronics and photography. The artificially low price discouraged production and investment in silver mining.
  4. Geopolitical Factors: The 1970s witnessed geopolitical tensions, including the Cold War and the oil crisis. These uncertainties led investors to seek safe-haven assets, including precious metals like silver.
  5. Inflation Concerns: In the late 1970s, global inflation rates were rising significantly. Investors turned to silver as a hedge against inflation, as it was seen as a store of value that could maintain purchasing power.
  6. Hunt Brothers’ Silver Boom: The Hunt brothers, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt, believed that silver was undervalued and began accumulating large amounts of the metal. Their buying spree, along with increasing investor interest, caused the price of silver to soar.
  7. Regulatory Intervention: As the price of silver skyrocketed, governments and regulatory bodies took actions to curb the volatility and prevent a potential economic crisis. Measures were implemented to limit speculative trading and control the price of silver.

Considering these factors, the combination of suppressed prices, increasing demand, geopolitical tensions, inflation concerns, and the actions of the Hunt brothers contributed to the significant rise in the price of silver in 1979.

What Happened to Silver in 1979?

In 1979, something extraordinary happened in the world of silver. Brace yourself as we uncover the fascinating events that led to the skyrocketing of silver prices. From delving into the intricacies of the silver market to exploring the influential role of the Hunt Brothers and the impact of inflation, we’ll also shed light on the government’s intervention during this remarkable time. Get ready to unravel the captivating story behind the soaring success of silver in 1979.

Introduction to the Silver Market

The Introduction to the Silver Market is a crucial starting point for understanding the events that unfolded in 1979. The Silver Market refers to the buying and selling of silver, which is considered both a precious metal and a commodity. In this market, silver is traded as an investment and a hedge against inflation.

During the 1970s, the Silver Market experienced significant volatility and price fluctuations. This was influenced by various factors, including the declining value of the US dollar, rising inflation rates, and increasing demand for silver as an industrial metal.

Investors and speculators flocked to the Silver Market, seeking opportunities for profit. The high demand for silver led to a rapid increase in its price, causing it to skyrocket in 1979.

This Introduction to the Silver Market sets the stage for understanding the subsequent events, such as the Hunt Brothers’ silver corner, the role of inflation, and government intervention. It highlights the economic implications and influences on other commodities caused by the silver boom.

By examining the Introduction to the Silver Market, we can gain insights into the factors and dynamics that contributed to the historic price surge of silver in 1979.

The Hunt Brothers’ Silver Corner

played a pivotal role in the 1979 silver market. Here are some key details about this significant event:

The Hunt Brothers’ Silver Corner
Who: The Hunt Brothers, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt
What: They attempted to corner the silver market by purchasing large amounts of silver contracts and physical silver.
When: In the late 1970s, particularly between 1979 and 1980.
Why: The Hunt Brothers believed that inflation and the decline of the U.S. dollar would lead to a surge in the value of precious metals, particularly silver.
Impact: Their actions caused the price of silver to skyrocket from around $6 per ounce to almost $50 per ounce within a short period of time.
Regulatory Response: Government regulators, concerned about the potential impact on the financial markets, implemented measures to curb the Hunt Brothers’ influence and stabilize the silver market.

Pro-tip: The Hunt Brothers’ Silver Corner serves as a cautionary tale about the potential risks and consequences of attempting to manipulate commodity markets. It highlights the importance of market surveillance and regulatory measures in maintaining stability and preventing excessive speculation.

The Role of Inflation

The Role of Inflation played a significant role in the events surrounding the silver boom of 1979. As inflation soared during that time, investors turned to precious metals like silver as a hedge against the declining value of fiat currencies. The rising prices of goods and services fueled demand for silver, driving its price to unprecedented levels.

The devaluation of the US dollar due to inflationary pressures further fueled the silver market. As a result, investors sought to protect their wealth by investing in tangible assets like silver, which historically has retained its value during times of inflation.

The role of inflation in the silver boom was also evident in the actions of the Hunt brothers, who began stockpiling silver in anticipation of further price increases. They recognized that as inflation eroded the value of the dollar, the demand for silver as a store of value would escalate, leading to a surge in its price.

Interestingly, the role of inflation in the silver market was not limited to the 1979 boom. Historically, precious metals have often performed well during inflationary periods, as they are seen as a safe haven investment that can preserve wealth in times of economic uncertainty.

Fact: During the silver boom of 1979, the price of silver peaked at $49.45 per ounce, a significant increase from its previous levels.

Government Intervention

Government intervention played a significant role in the silver market during the 1979 boom. The US government, concerned about the rising prices of silver, took action to stabilize the market. The government began selling its stockpile of silver to increase the supply and lower the prices. This government intervention had a direct impact on the market, causing silver prices to drop. The government implemented regulations to curb speculation and restrict the buying of silver futures contracts.

The government’s intervention had both positive and negative consequences. On one hand, it helped alleviate the skyrocketing prices and ensured that silver remained accessible to industries that relied on it. On the other hand, it led to a collapse in the silver market, causing financial losses for many investors.

It is important to note that government intervention in markets can have unintended effects. While it may serve to stabilize prices in the short term, it can distort market dynamics and hinder the natural forces of supply and demand.

In the case of the silver market in 1979, government intervention was aimed at protecting industries and consumers from the volatility of skyrocketing prices. It also demonstrated that government actions can influence and manipulate markets. The lessons learned from this episode include the need for transparency, accountability, and careful consideration of the long-term effects of government intervention.


  • Governments should carefully assess the potential consequences of their interventions in markets.
  • Transparent and accountable decision-making processes are essential to maintain market confidence.
  • Regulatory frameworks should strike a balance between protecting market participants and allowing natural market forces to operate.
  • Continuous monitoring of market dynamics and prompt actions can help prevent extreme market fluctuations.
  • Public awareness and education about the role of government intervention in markets can foster a better understanding of its implications.

The Ripple Effects of the Silver Boom

The rise in silver prices in 1979 sparked a series of ripple effects, impacting various aspects of the economy and even influencing other commodities. Join us as we explore the fascinating consequences of the silver boom, from its far-reaching economic implications to its direct influences on other valuable assets. Brace yourself for a journey through the interconnected world of finance and discover the lasting impact of this historical event.

Economic Implications

The economic implications of the silver boom in 1979 were profound. The skyrocketing price of silver during this period caused extreme price volatility in the commodities market. Investors and traders who had heavily invested in silver witnessed their fortunes rise rapidly. Furthermore, the silver boom led to a speculative frenzy, with many investors rushing to buy silver in hopes of making quick profits. This speculative frenzy created a bubble in the silver market, driving prices to unsustainable levels. Consequently, the sharp rise in silver prices had a destabilizing effect on the overall economy, causing market instability. Investors worried about the potential spillover effects and the impact on inflation, creating uncertainty in other markets.

After a considerable upswing, the silver market eventually collapsed in 1980, resulting in a sharp decline in prices. This collapse had negative consequences for investors who were caught in the bubble. It also highlighted the risks associated with speculative trading and market manipulation. In response to the silver boom, government regulators implemented stricter regulations and oversight to prevent similar situations in the future. This demonstrated the need for market stability and the importance of preventing excessive speculation.

The economic implications of the silver boom in 1979 are a cautionary tale for investors and regulators alike. This historic event exemplifies the potential risks associated with excessive speculation and emphasizes the significance of maintaining market stability. It is crucial to learn from this occurrence to avoid comparable economic consequences in the future.

Influences on Other Commodities


The silver boom in 1979 had significant influences on other commodities. These influences on other commodities can be observed through the price changes and market behavior of various commodities during that time.

Commodity | Influence on Other Commodities
Gold |The skyrocketing price of silver led to increased speculation and demand for other precious metals, including gold. Investors sought alternative investments that were also seen as a hedge against inflation.
Copper |The high demand for silver also influenced the price of copper. The Hunt Brothers’ attempt to corner the silver market caused concerns about the supply of copper, resulting in increased prices and speculative trading in the copper market.
Crude Oil |The volatility in the silver market influenced the prices of other commodities such as crude oil. As investors shifted their focus to silver and other metals, it had an impact on the overall market sentiment and resulted in price fluctuations in oil.
Grains |The silver boom had indirect effects on grain prices. Increased speculation and market uncertainty due to the silver market’s instability influenced investors’ decisions in other commodity markets, including grains.
Livestock |Similar to grains, the instability caused by the silver rally affected the livestock markets. Investor sentiment and the overall economic climate influenced decisions regarding livestock trading, leading to price changes.

The influences on other commodities during the silver boom showcased the interconnectedness of various markets and how events in one can have ripple effects on others. It serves as a reminder of the importance of considering the broader market dynamics when analyzing commodity trends and making investment decisions.

The silver boom in 1979 was a significant event in financial markets, driven by the attempt of the Hunt Brothers to corner the silver market. Their actions led to a surge in silver prices, which had far-reaching effects on various commodities. The impacts were observed across precious metals like gold, industrial metals like copper, energy markets such as crude oil, and agricultural markets including grains and livestock. The volatility and speculation in the silver market influenced investor behavior and market sentiment in these other commodities, leading to price fluctuations and increased trading activity. The events of the silver boom highlighted the interconnectedness of commodity markets and the importance of understanding the broader market dynamics when analyzing and making decisions in these sectors.

The Aftermath of the Silver Bubble

In the aftermath of the silver bubble, the collapse of the silver market sent shockwaves through the financial world. The Hunt Brothers, prominent figures in the silver market, faced legal consequences for their actions. Let’s dive into the dramatic turn of events that unfolded, exploring the ripple effects and consequences that emerged from this historic silver market crash.

Collapse of the Silver Market

The collapse of the silver market in 1979 had significant consequences for investors and the economy. The sudden crash was fueled by various factors, including market manipulation and government intervention, leading to a rapid decline in silver prices.

1. Market manipulation: The collapse was triggered by the actions of the Hunt Brothers, who attempted to corner the silver market by buying up large amounts of silver futures contracts. This created artificial demand and drove prices to record highs, resulting in the collapse of the silver market.

2. Government intervention: As silver prices skyrocketed, regulators stepped in to limit the Hunt Brothers’ dominance in the market. Margin requirements were increased, limiting their ability to continue buying silver, which further contributed to the collapse of the silver market.

3. Ripple effects: The collapse of the silver market had far-reaching consequences. Financial institutions and traders who had heavily invested in silver suffered massive losses, and many were forced to liquidate their positions. This led to a broader market sell-off and created panic among investors, exacerbating the collapse.

4. Legal consequences: The Hunt Brothers faced legal consequences for their attempted silver corner. They were accused of manipulating the market and violating commodity trading regulations. Their actions highlighted the need for stricter regulations and oversight in the commodity markets, particularly in light of the collapse of the silver market.

The collapse of the silver market served as a stark reminder of the risks associated with speculative investing and the potential for market manipulation. It also underscored the importance of government intervention to maintain fair and functioning markets amidst the collapse of the silver market.

Legal Consequences for the Hunt Brothers

The Hunt Brothers experienced notable legal consequences for their involvement in the silver market in 1979. Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt, collectively known as the Hunt Brothers, were accused of trying to corner the silver market, which violated the regulations set out in the Commodity Exchange Act.

The legal repercussions for the Hunt Brothers were severe. They were charged with conspiring to manipulate the silver market and faced lawsuits from various parties, including the United States government and numerous private investors. These legal actions alleged that the Hunt Brothers had engaged in fraudulent and manipulative trading practices to artificially increase the price of silver.

Ultimately, the Hunt Brothers were found guilty and had to face significant financial penalties. They were required to pay millions of dollars in fines and settlements, which eventually led them to declare bankruptcy in order to meet their legal obligations.

The legal consequences that the Hunt Brothers experienced acted as a strong deterrent for other participants in the market. This case emphasized the importance of engaging in fair and transparent trading practices, while also highlighting the potential consequences that can arise from attempting to manipulate commodity markets.

The Hunt Brothers faced severe legal consequences for their attempt to corner the silver market in 1979. Their actions resulted in substantial financial penalties and ultimately led to their bankruptcy, serving as a warning to others about the potential legal ramifications of market manipulation.

The Lessons Learned from the Silver Boom

Get ready to uncover the valuable insights from the silver boom of 1979! In this section, we’ll dive into the lessons learned from this remarkable period in history. From gaining awareness about market manipulation to understanding the role of speculation in commodity markets, we’ll explore the fascinating dynamics that unfolded during this time. Get ready to discover how these lessons still hold relevance today and can provide invaluable knowledge for investors and enthusiasts alike!

Market Manipulation Awareness

  • Market manipulation awareness is the deliberate act of influencing the price or availability of a financial instrument or commodity for personal gain.
  • During the silver boom of 1979, market manipulation awareness was brought to the forefront of public awareness.
  • The Hunt Brothers, Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt, attempted to corner the silver market by buying up large amounts of silver futures contracts.
  • They believed that the value of silver would continue to rise due to inflation and a weakening US dollar.
  • Their actions caused the price of silver to skyrocket, reaching a peak of $50 per ounce in January 1980.
  • This sudden surge in price led to concerns about market manipulation awareness and the stability of the commodities market.
  • The silver market crash in March 1980 exposed the risks of market manipulation awareness and the potential for significant financial losses.
  • As a result, regulators and exchanges implemented stricter regulations and surveillance systems to detect and prevent market manipulation awareness.

The silver boom of 1979 highlighted the importance of market manipulation awareness. It demonstrated the potential consequences of manipulative behavior on the stability and integrity of financial markets. To prevent similar incidents in the future, it is crucial for regulators and participants to remain vigilant and enforce strict regulations. By promoting transparency, fair trading practices, and effective surveillance systems, market manipulation awareness can be minimized, ensuring a more level playing field for all participants.

Role of Speculation in Commodity Markets

In commodity markets, the role of speculation plays a significant role in shaping the prices of various commodities, including silver. Speculation refers to the act of buying and selling commodities with the expectation of profiting from price fluctuations. It involves investors or traders taking positions in the market based on their analysis of supply and demand factors, trends, and market sentiment.

The role of speculation in commodity markets can have both positive and negative effects. On one hand, speculation provides liquidity to the market, allowing for more efficient price discovery. It also enables investors to hedge against risks and diversify their portfolios. Speculation can lead to increased trading volume and market activity, which can enhance market efficiency and price transparency.

Excessive speculation can also create volatility and inflate prices, particularly during periods of market frenzy. This was evident in the silver market in 1979 when the Hunt Brothers attempted to corner the market, driving prices to unsustainable levels. The speculation fueled by their actions eventually led to a collapse in the silver market.

To mitigate the risks associated with the role of speculation, regulators and market participants implement measures such as position limits, margin requirements, and surveillance systems to ensure fair and orderly markets. These measures aim to prevent market manipulation and maintain market integrity.

The role of speculation in commodity markets, including silver, is undeniable. While it provides liquidity and efficiency to the market, excessive speculation can have adverse effects. Balancing the benefits and risks of speculation is crucial for maintaining stable commodity markets.

As you navigate the world of commodity markets, it is important to consider the role of speculation and make informed decisions based on thorough analysis and understanding of market dynamics.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did silver skyrocket in 1979?

The rise in silver prices from $6 per ounce in early 1979 to $50 per ounce in January 1980 was largely due to the actions of the Hunt brothers. They had been buying silver as a hedge against inflation since the 1970s and began purchasing silver in larger quantities to corner the market.

How did the Hunt brothers attempt to corner the silver market?

The Hunt brothers bought futures contracts on 55 million ounces of silver and eventually accumulated around 100 million ounces of the precious metal. Instead of selling the contracts like normal commodity traders, they took delivery of the bullion and air-freighted it to Switzerland.

What caused the dramatic fall in silver prices on Silver Thursday?

The Federal Reserve suspended trading in silver due to the rampant speculation and profits, causing the market boom to abruptly end. On March 27, 1980, the price of silver fell to $10.80 per ounce, resulting in the metal’s biggest single collapse.

How did the Hunt brothers react to the fall in silver prices?

The Hunt brothers lost around $1.7 billion and became the greatest debtors in financial history. They were later convicted of illegally trying to corner the silver market, fined $10 million each, and banned from future trading on the commodities market.

Did the silver market crash of 1980 have any impact on other commodities?

Yes, the crash in silver prices also affected other commodities, leading to panic and a significant drop in stock prices before a rebound.

What were the consequences of the silver market crash for the Hunt brothers?

The Hunt brothers reportedly lost over $1 billion in March 1980 and were eventually forced to declare bankruptcy in 1988.

Related Posts


Recent Posts

Scroll to Top