W. Herbert Hunt: A Life in Silver and Oil

W. Herbert Hunt is an American oil billionaire who, along with his brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt and Lamar Hunt, tried but failed to corner the world market in silver. According to Forbes, as of January 2015 his net worth was estimated at $2.0 billion.

Early Life

William Herbert Hunt was born on March 6, 1929, in El Dorado, Arkansas. He is the son of H.L. Hunt, an oil tycoon who founded Placid Oil, once one of the biggest independent oil companies. Hunt has six siblings, including Lamar Hunt, who owned the Kansas City Chiefs.


In the 1970s Hunt and his brother Nelson Bunker Hunt acquired 195 million ounces of silver, worth nearly $10 billion at the peak. When the price of silver collapsed 80% in 1980 the brothers lost their fortune in the silver trading scandal called Silver Thursday; together they lost a billion dollars. William Herbert Hunt went bankrupt in 1990, but was able to recover years later. In 2012, Hunt sold a minor portion of Petro-Hunt’s assets in the Williston Basin to Halcon Resources for $1.45 billion, lifting his net wealth to an estimated $3 billion. Petro-Hunt continues to operate in the Williston Basin and across the US.

Personal Life

Hunt is married to Caroline Lewis Hunt of Ruston, Louisiana. They have four children together.


In addition to the silver trading scandal, Hunt has also been involved in a number of other controversies. In 1983, he was accused of violating federal securities laws by manipulating the price of silver. He was acquitted of the charges, but the case cast a shadow over his reputation.

Philanthropic Work

Hunt is a generous philanthropist. He has donated millions of dollars to a variety of causes, including education, healthcare, and the arts.

Awards and Recognition

Hunt has received a number of awards for his business and philanthropic achievements. In 1987, he was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He has also received the Horatio Alger Award and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

W. Herbert Hunt is a complex and controversial figure. He is a brilliant businessman who has made a fortune in the oil industry. He is also a generous philanthropist who has donated millions of dollars to worthy causes. However, he is also known for his involvement in the silver trading scandal of 1980, which tarnished his reputation. Despite his flaws, Hunt is a fascinating and influential figure in American history.