Muro's answer at Money SE discusses the attempt by brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt, William Herbert Hunt and Lamar Hunt to corner the silver mark. But Muro didn't explain the causation. I can't infer why this cornering caused gold prices to drop in 1981.

  • $\begingroup$ As a fact gold prices had increased during the silver bubble and fell when that bubble burst. As a possible explanation, perhaps some people had sold silver and bought gold when they thought the silver price was rising too high, and did the opposite after the silver price collapsed $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Jul 4, 2020 at 19:34
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The answer does explain why prices dropped: the authorities changed the rules, and enforced limits on holdings. The Hunt brothers were forced to sell, and everyone else knew they would be forced to sell. Prices dropped in response. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2020 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


Since nobody is answering this, I will point out that the answer is half there.

  • The cornering attempt directly affected the silver price, but gold went along for the ride. People treated gold/silver as an asset class - “precious metals” - and they traded them on a relative basis (the gold/silver ratio).
  • The rules were changed, and the Hunts were forced to liquidate. This directly drove down silver futures.
  • Gold went along for the ride. People who were long silver and gold got hit my margin calls, and they had to liquidate both. The gold/silver ratio would rise if gold did not move. Finally, people unaware of the details of the silver market would just view this as the end of the run for “precious metals.”
  • Beyond that, it’s just opinions.

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