Nelson Bunker Hunt
|Nelson Bunker Hunt|
February 22, 1926 |
El Dorado, Arkansas, U.S.
Nelson Bunker Hunt (born February 22, 1926) is an American oil company executive. He is known as a former billionaire whose fortune collapsed after he and his brother William Herbert Hunt tried but failed to corner the world market in silver. He is also a thoroughbred horse breeder.
Hunt was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, and currently lives in Dallas, Texas. He is the son of Lyda Bunker and oil tycoon H. L. Hunt and the brother of Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and Kansas City Chiefs.
Beginning in the early 1970s, Hunt and his brother William Herbert Hunt began accumulating large amounts of silver. By 1979, they had nearly cornered the global market. In the last nine months of 1979, the brothers profited by an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in silver speculation, with estimated silver holdings of 100 million troy ounces (3,100,000 kg).
During the Hunt brothers' accumulation of the precious metal, prices of silver futures contracts and silver bullion during 1979 and 1980 rose from $11 an ounce in September 1979 to $50 an ounce in January 1980. Silver prices ultimately collapsed to below $11 an ounce two months later. The largest single day drop in the price of silver occurred on Silver Thursday.
In 1989 in a settlement with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Nelson Bunker Hunt was fined US$10 million and banned from trading in the commodity markets as a result of civil charges of conspiring to manipulate the silver market stemming from his attempt to corner the market in silver. This fine was in addition to a multimillion-dollar settlement to pay back taxes, fines and interest to the Internal Revenue Service for the same period.
He was one of the main sponsors of the conservative organization Western Goals Foundation founded in 1979 by General John K. Singlaub, journalist John Rees, and Democratic Congressman from Georgia Larry McDonald. During the mid-1980s, Bunker Hunt contributed almost half a million U.S. dollars to "The National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty" (NEPL), a conservative fundraising organization later heavily implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. Hunt is past Chairman of the Board of the Bible Society of Texas and the past Chairman of, and significant contributor to Campus Crusade for Christ International's "Here's Life" Campaign (1976–80), as well as providing a $3.5 million loan guarantee for the 1979 Campus Crusade film Jesus.
Thoroughbred horse racing
The United States National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has awarded Hunt the title of "legendary owner-breeder". Overall, Hunt bred 158 stakes winners and either bred or owned 25 champions.
In 1955, Hunt bought his first thoroughbreds and by the 1970s his breeding program had become one of the world's largest and most productive. Winner of the U.S. Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder in 1976, 1985, and 1987, he owned the 8,000-acre (32 km2) Bluegrass Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and raced thoroughbreds in Europe and North America. Among his horses, Hunt bred or raced Vaguely Noble, Dahlia, Empery, Youth, Exceller, Trillion, Glorious Song, Dahar and Estrapade.
Hunt's bankruptcy forced him to liquidate his thoroughbred operations. A 1988 dispersal sale of 580 horses at Keeneland Sales brought in $46,911,800, at that time the highest amount in the history of thoroughbred auctions. In 1999, he returned to thoroughbred ownership, spending a total of $2,075,000 on 51 juveniles and yearlings. At the time Hunt said, "At my age, I don't plan to do any breeding or buy a farm, I just want to have some fun and try to get lucky racing".
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- "H.L. Hunt's Boys and the Circle K Cowboys" by Larry LaBorde