Nelson Bunker Hunt, who has died at the age of 88, was everything a Texan oil tycoon was supposed to be. Once one of the richest men in the world, he made and lost fortunes in crude, commodities, thoroughbred race horses, pizza parlours and commercial development. But he will be remembered most for trying to corner the global market in silver, an endeavour that went down in flames, eventually sending him into bankruptcy, when the bubble in the market for the metal burst in 1980.
He was the second son of HL Hunt, the prototypical wildcatter, who fathered 14 children in three families who did not know of the existence of the others.
Born on February 22 1926, in El Dorado, Texas, Bunker Hunt was by contrast monogamous, with three daughters and a son by his wife Caroline, all of whom survive him. He was very religious and a fervent anticommunist, a supporter of the likes of the John Birch Society.
He also lived modestly, a non-smoking teetotaller who drove old Cadillacs, flew economy class and preferred barbecue shacks to plush Dallas oil clubs.
Having dropped out of the University of Texas, he joined his father’s company but quit to strike out on his own in Pakistan and the Middle East. Dry wells forced him to sell half his interest in the Sarir oilfields in Libya in 1960 to BP, but a year later the partners struck oil and the money flowed. >> Read More