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Nelson Bunker Hunt

Nelson Bunker Hunt
Born 22, 1926 (1926-02-22) (age 91)
El Dorado, Arkansas, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Oil & Mining
Racehorse owner
Political party Republican
Parents H. L. Hunt &
Lyda Bunker

Thoroughbred horse racing awards:
British flat racing Champion Owner (1973, 1974)
Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder (1985, 1987)

Nelson Bunker Hunt (born February 22, 1926) is an American oil company executive. He is best 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.[1] He is also a successful thoroughbred horse breeder.[2]



Hunt was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, and currently lives in Dallas, Texas.[3] 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.

Business career

Nelson Bunker Hunt played a very significant role in the discovery and development of the oil fields in Libya which would later be nationalized by Muammar al-Gaddafi.[4]

He owns the Dallas, Texas based Titan Resources Corp which is involved in the exploration of oil in North Africa[5]. He is chairman of Hunt Exploration and Mining Company (HEMCO).[citation needed]

Silver Thursday

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.[6] In the last nine months of 1979, the brothers earned an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion in silver speculation, with estimated silver holdings of 100 million ounces.[7]

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.[1]

Hunt filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code in September 1988, largely due to lawsuits incurred as a result of his silver speculation.[1]

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 charges of conspiring to manipulate the silver market stemming from his attempt to corner the market in silver.[1] 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.[1]


He has been extremely active in conservative political causes[8] and as of 2008 is a member of the Council of the John Birch Society.[3]

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 "The National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty" (NEPL),[9][10] a conservative fundraising organization later heavily implicated in the Iran-Contra affair.[11] 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),[12][13] as well as providing a $3.5 million loan guarantee for the 1979 Campus Crusade film "Jesus".[14]

Thoroughbred horse racing

The United States National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) has awarded Hunt the title of "legendary owner-breeder".[15] Overall, Hunt bred 158 stakes winners and either bred or owned 25 champions.[16]

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 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.[2]

In 1973 and 1974, Hunt was the British flat racing Champion Owner and in 1976 won the Epsom Derby.[2]

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.[2] 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".[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Eichenwald, Kurt (1989-12-21). "2 Hunts Fined And Banned From Trades". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/21/business/2-hunts-fined-and-banned-from-trades.html. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Bowen, Edward L. (2004). Legacies of the Turf: A Century of Great Thoroughbred Breeders. Lexington, KY, United States: Eclipse Press. pp. pp249–262. ISBN 158150117X. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Nelson Bunker Hunt". The John Birch Society, Inc.. http://www.jbs.org/index.php/aboutjbs1/john-birch-society-national-council. Retrieved 2008-07-05.  (Archived by WebCite)
  4. Lauterpacht, Elihu; Greenwood, C. J. (1984). International Law Reports. 66. Cambridge University Press. p. 340. ISBN 0521464110. 
  5. Ethiopia, U.S. Billionaire's Titan Resources Signs Oil Accord, by Jason McLure, www.bloomberg.com, 8/21/08
  6. Gwynne, S. C. (September 2001). "Bunker HUNT". Texas Monthly (Austin, Texas, United States: Emmis Communications Corporation) 29 (9): p78. 
  7. "Bunker Hunt's Comstock Lode". Time Magazine (Time Inc.) 115 (2). 1980-01-14. 
  8. Tuccille, Jerome (2004). Kingdom: The Story of the Hunt Family of Texas. Beard Books. p. 311. ISBN 1587982269. 
  9. Walsh, Lawrence E. (1993-08-04). "Final report of the independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters". http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_13.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  10. Hamilton, Lee H.; Inouye, Daniel K. (1995). Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran/Contra Affair. DIANE Publishing. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0788126024. 
  11. Berke, Richard L. (1987-04-09). "Investigators say group raised $2 Million for Contra Arms Aid". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE5DB1739F93AA35757C0A961948260. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  12. Diamond, Sara (1989). Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right. Boston, USA: South End Press. pp. p53. ISBN 0896083616. 
  13. Harrington Watt, David (1991). A Transforming Faith: Explorations of Twentieth-century American Evangelicalism. Rutgers University Press. p. 19. ISBN 0813517176. 
  14. Van Biema, David (2003-06-30). "The Life of Jesus in 830 Languages". Time Magazine (Time Inc.) 161 (26): p42. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Nelson Bunker Hunt". National Thoroughbred Racing Association. 2006-05-30. http://www.ntra.com/stats_bios.aspx?id=2142. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 
  16. Blood-Horse.com - February 14, 2005

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