Silverfinger - The True Story Of Nelson Bunker Hunt

Tyler Durden's picture

Over 30 years ago, a man by the name of Nelson Bunker Hunt hatched the perfect plan: protect his inherited wealth (which then was one of the largest legacy fortunes in the world) from the inflationary destruction of "paper" assets by converting his assets into silver, and in the process cover the silver market, and send the price of silver to an inflation adjusted price of over $140 (nearly three times higher than the nearly record nominal silver price hit last week). Understandably, Hunt's name has appeared very often in the popular media in recent months, since after all it was the "Hunt" price that the May 1 silver smackdown (which will most certainly never be investigated) that sent silver from $48 to $42 in seconds that was being protected by the paper cartel. Yet just who is Nelson Bunker Hunt? And how did he cover the silver market when did? What exactly did he do, and is someone doing a comparable silver cornering right now? And, most importantly, why? The answers, all of which are provided in this September 1980 Playboy article reprint, will surprise and astound many, primarily due to the myriad parallels between the world of the 1970s and our own. What follows is one man's attempt to escape from the "system."

From "Silverfinger"

IN THE SUMMER of 1979, an invisible hand reached out from an island in the Atlantic and quietly began tightening its grip on the world’s supply of silver. The fingers of that hand extended to London, New York, Dallas, Zurich and Jidda. But the only visible clue to its existence was a newly formed Bermuda shell corporation called International Metals Investment Company Ltd. That dull sounding little trading company was not just another offshore tax scam but the operating front for a secret partnership seemingly capable of controlling the world price and supply of silver.

Full article (pdf)

Silver Finger by Harry Hurt III - September Issue 1980 - Playboy

h/t Whit

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EscapeKey's picture

This is an exceptional book, and I recommend everyone read it.

Monetary Regimes and Inflation: Peter Bernholz.



In this section it will be demonstrated by looking at 12 hyperinflations that they have all been caused by the financing of huge public budget deficits through money creation. To demonstrate this we present the evidence for twelve of the twenty-nine cases of hyperinflation (Table 2.1) in Figures 5.5 and 5.6.


Almost Solvent's picture

Don't forget to stop at your local coin shop on your way to the local bookstore. 


Or, don't forget to visit your favorite PM site on your way to Amazon.

Matto's picture

Absolutely paramount for all ZH's to understand where the silver market is at right now. Key developments have come through and action is required immediately!!!


Must watch:

Awakened Sheeple's picture

The YouTube vid is unavailable for people in the US. Can you give us a breakdown?

TeMpTeK's picture

I think he did give us the "breakdown"

tonyw's picture

It's Olivia Newton-John - let's get physical

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

This video contains content from UMG. It is not available in your country.

CD's picture

Dude, rickrolling? I appreciate the attempt at humor, but that was too much.

Global Hunter's picture

Physical physical...I wana get physical physical.  It was actually quite clever.

buck4free's picture

It can all be reversed in "15 minutes".

Philidor's picture

On The Serenity of Numeraire Change

The dollar is very sick, being fatally poisoned by years of debt and deficits stretching into both the past and future. It will probably die sometime before 2020. In the meanwhile, the doctors will throw every conceivable possible treatment at the patient in order to extend the patient's life, if only by a few months. In the Weimar Republic, a variety of bizarre laws were passed to hold off the inevitable passing of the Reichsmark (e.g. laws to make manufacturers fill out reams of paperwork applications to the government in order to secure price increases, thus supposedly slowing the rate of inflation). In the U.S. today, the governmental-financial complex ("bankstas") provides ample resources and vehicles for extreme life-support measures. Today's market action was a good example. The secret clue was given by Trichet's small remark the previous week that inflation expectations must be kept in check. After the demolition orchestrated this week in the commodities complex, on essentially no change in the fundamentals, you will have to admit that your inflation expectations have been substantially modified. It's been a brilliant show of force by the bankstas, replete with outstanding PR and talking heads. And while it doesn't address the core problems, it might well extend the patient's life by several months. It also has the brilliant side effect of discrediting the precious metals as a store of value, acknowledging in effect that there is a coming war of ideas regarding the successor to the throne of the dying dollar: shall it be all-electronic currency (the bankstas' choice) or gold and silver (the people's choice)? A currency dies when essentially everyone loses confidence in it. And as the process proceeds, people will be divided into early adopters, mainstream adopters, and late adopters (just like any other new trend) of confidence loss. Knowing that the dollar is dying, I have become an early adopter. Sure, I know that only my dollars can buy things now, but it no longer represents my unit for denominating my wealth. This is what economists call a "numeraire", or unit of value. But I am still working on my mental acceptance the change of numeraire from dollars to gold, where in the latter the only question is, what is my wealth in ounces? I take solice from the fact the Giovanni de Cosimo became the richest man in Italy around the early 1400's through owning only about 90,000 florins (about 9,000 ounces, worth roughly just $13 million at today's prices). The Zen of numeraire change is difficult to achieve, and it takes great effort for me not to anguish upon my dollar-based losses this week. I admit to not yet mastering this level of serenity. At the point of the dollar's death, however, I am confident my Zen practice will have served me well, regardless of the outcome of the battle for succession.

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

Would you measure your wealth in ounces of precious metals (real money for over 6,000 years), or would you measure it in Bernank IOU notes (paper ponzi currency in a coma) signed by Mr Geithner?

I thought so. I also love the sound of a flatliner in the morning.

i-dog's picture

"shall it be all-electronic currency (the bankstas' choice) or gold and silver (the people's choice)? "

This is the crux of the battle. Well said! May the people prevail.

PS. I also like your creative handle ... says it all :)

gorillaonyourback's picture

its was interesting reading about silverfinger and how paul volker played a very key role in the demise of the price of silver.  They r doing the same thing now increasing margin requirements  maybe next allowing only liquidation sales.  the price kept going up it was only when volker raised the interest rate to dry up all the money is when silver came tumbling down.  THIS TIME I DONT THINK THE FED HAS THE BALLS TO RAISE INTEREST RATES.  maybe that guy talkin about a slingshot trade maybe on to something.  I personally believe or have faith the comex is broke and out of silver so im going to wait till monday or maybe tommorrow if i see a rate of silver price increases that i like to buy. 

 BUT then again if been wrong before, they r printing lots of money and its not getting into the publics hands so if they raise rates things cant get much worse or can they any opinions?

Captain Benny's picture

Heres a rough chart of APMEX raw # of sales over the last few months.... just transaction #s, but you can get the picture.

Titus's picture

Later testimonywould reveal that nine of the 23 Comex board members held short contracts on 38,000,000 ounces of silver. With their 1.88 billion dollar collective interest in having the price go down, it is easy to see whyBunker did not view them as objective regulators. At the same time, though, the C.B.O.T. restrictions madeBunker even more bullish on silver, because, as he put it, “they show a silver shortage exists.”

Sam Clemons's picture

So wait, 12 of 12 or 12 of 29 were caused by govt budget deficits?

mgochoa's picture

For a moment I thought you were talking about Playboy. 

GregGH's picture

How nice to see the first post also be a post worth reading ... thanks for sharing the link for the book ... my iPad is filling up much faster than I am reading them .. but thanks there the less


RealitiveMind's picture

Benny Zimbabwe at your service . . . . .

ShittyLipsMcCrapStain's picture

Ordered up another 300oz at 33 today....thank you very much.

traderjoe's picture

What kind of silver? Where? If junk silver, I can understand price...

Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

I sold everything at $45.  This is nothing more than a speculative blow off.  Buy now and you are catching a falling knife, IMHO.  The banks are insolvent.  With QE2 winding down and Federal spending under pressure, the debt bubble has reached another peak.  I suspect another round of deflation is beginning.  Remember what happened to commodities the last time that happened?


tmosley's picture

Last time was nonsense.  The dollar as safe haven?  Please.

That's not to say it won't happen again.  People can be stupid.  But I somehow doubt it this time.

I won't let go of my physical for any price in dollars.  Only gold.

Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

In the USA the money supply is measured by total debt outstanding.  All the FED has managed to do, even given its radical and illegal (as defined in its charter) measures, is hold the house of cards up.  Well, guess what?  Just because FASB changed the accounting rules hasn't made any of the non-performing loans start magically paying.  Those loans are on the books for probably more than double what they are worth.  As banks are forced to sell off their REO, they will have to realize the losses.  That is deflationary, as in money (credit) disappearing into thin air.  When the money (credit) supply shrinks, remaining dollars and safe debt will be more valuable.  People who think the FED is in control are mistaken.  The bond market is in control.  Bond prices are predicting deflation.  The USG will not continue to print because that will mean yields will rise and make the interest payments unbearable.  The world's largest debtor cannot afford to let that happen.


Oh, and I bought my silver at $6.50 and less.  At the time people were curious as to why anybody would want it.  Now I am hearing office chatter about gold an silver...

traderjoe's picture

And how would the financial system survive that sort of deflation? How would the gov finance the deficit? As things fall apart - why would people have more confidence in the dollar?

Global Hunter's picture

If things go LC's route there is going to be a lot of pension plans and 401k plans under water furthermore even non investors pay attention to the stock market (even if they just hear it on their evening news).  I think the stock market dropping will cause at first concern and then panic whereas inflating the way out causes the illusion that everything is OK as most will just see that the markets are going higher and not give it too much consideration. They will be hoping that nobody makes the connection between price increases at the grocery store and price increases in their retirement funds.

LudwigVon's picture

How would the gov finance the deficit? 


This is the part I don't get in that scenario as well...

LudwigVon's picture

1. money (credit) supply shrinks, remaining dollars and safe debt will be more valuable.


2. continue to print because that will mean yields will rise

I agree with most of what you say, however, just like today, they seek to strike a balance between these two forces. Printing does continue to finance a good majority of the deficit. There will be further pressures to make fiscal cuts as this would aid the economy.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

Just because FASB changed the accounting rules hasn't made any of the non-performing loans start magically paying. Those loans are on the books for probably more than double what they are worth. As banks are forced to sell off their REO, they will have to realize the losses. That is deflationary, as in money (credit) disappearing into thin air.


In the deflationary collapse of bank credit you’ve described (w/which I largely agree), the idea is that the liquidated proceeds will flow into the remaining dollars.  I believe this is an overly strict, if traditional, interpretation of the deflationary thesis.  What if, instead, the remaining proceeds flow into “money” (broadly and correctly conceived) instead of FRNs per se’.  (After all, FRNs are really just debt instruments backed by debt whose value seems likely to deflate along w/the deflating values of their collateral backing.) 

In that case, value fleeing out of credit instruments seems just as likely to flee into the money forms of long-standing (i.e., into gold and silver).  Indeed, as JP Morgan (the man, not the shell of an institution that carries his name) noted, “gold is money; nothing else [is].”  It IS money because it cannot be conjured into existence costlessly.  That’s why, at bottom, honest people love it, and why dishonest people loathe it. 


Dr. Porkchop's picture

Ben Shalom Johannes Gutenbergnanke.

ShittyLipsMcCrapStain's picture

Isn't that Benny Hill?


Henry Chinaski's picture

I remember the seventies.  They sucked.

Yes, I see a lot of similarities to the present days, but without the price and wage controls... so far.

EscapeKey's picture

Oh, they're coming. And it'll all be caused by the "speculators", completely ignoring that the gains of ALL "speculators" won't make a dent in the deficit.

Fiscal illeteracy FTW! (sadly!)

Gold 36000's picture

Why do you care are you not across the pond?

EscapeKey's picture

You think the situation differs here in Ole Blighty? Fuck, I have to listen to morons on a daily basis blaming it on "speculators" and switching off when I attempt to explain the "deficit" to them.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

Don't engage the troll... he's already exposed himself as a multiple account posting douche. Except he forgot to log out when reponding to himself.

StychoKiller's picture

(S)He's also responded to his/her own posts -- perhaps it's cyber-induced Schizophrenia! :>D

Troublehoff's picture

Shit, at least the 'morons' you speak to are paying attention enough to at least consider what the reasons for inflation might be.

The majority of people in this country are narrow minded and never consider the fundamental reasons as to why the world is as it is.

They don't understand or care to understand fractional reserve banking. When I tell them that the private banking institutions which employ our elites are allowed to borrow money at the base rate and lend it back to the government (us) at a much higher rate of interest, at zero risk they do not seem to care or make the connection that this is effectively a licence to print money which is backed by the productivity of the taxpayer

True, it is not rocket science to deduce that we are fucked and heading for an economic depression but the level of obsfucation  and the abstraction level at which people live their lives mean that it just doesn't feature in most peoples world view.

It is more palatable to a politician to add to an already large debt load than to allow any of the unpleasant side effects of a deflation such as defaults, skeletal public services / entitlements or high unemployment.


For these reasons, I've got to agree with you. We're heading for some severe inflation. Sooner or later.

Caviar Emptor's picture

I take difference: the seventies were better than now economically and whole lot more fun. 

Freddie's picture


At least Nixon, Ford and Carter had a USA BC and were eligible.


Caviar Emptor's picture

Party central. Great nightlife. Loads of freedom.  Nonstop booty call. 

EscapeKey's picture

Booty time, booty time

Across the USA

Booty time, booty time


cpnscarlet's picture

The 70s in NYC - Dad layed off by Chase; expensive hobby (Lionel Trains) and no summer jobs; mugged in Prospect Park twice; Even Catholic school education started to suck; graffiti EVERYWHERE; welfare hotels in Park Slope; subway fare always increasing...John (F***ing) Lindsey...Abe (Bullsh*t) Beame...people actually thinking liberals had answers...

NO FUN AT ALL....except for Joan C....what a rack!

Freddie's picture

Wow you dated Joan Crawford?

WmMcK's picture

I thought he meant Collins, I always preferred Severance.