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Record High Silver Spot Price in 1980

There are lots of claims as to what the record price was in 1980 -- $41.50, $48.80, $49.45, $50, $50.50, etc.

Why is this? Because there is the London Fix, New York closing price, intraday high, and other figures that people could use.


Highest London Fix

We believe the best price to use as the record high price of silver in 1980 is $49.45, which was the London Fix on January 18, 1980.

This represents a group of bullion banks with buyers and sellers discovering a mutually agreeable price, at a set point in time (avoiding adding 'high', 'low', and 'average' to the mix).

Highest New York Closing Price

In 1980, there was no "New York" closing price. Trading was done both at COMEX (in New York) and CBOT (in Chicago). As far as we can tell, the COMEX and CBOT closing prices were not actively followed, nor can we even find a record of what they were. Trading at times was fairly light (especially after the liquidation only order), so the closing price would not necessarily be the most useful price to use.

The COMEX closing prices for January, 1980 silver appear to have been $48.80 on January 17, 1980 and $46.80 on January 18, 1980. These are from Jerome Smith's "Silver Profits in the 80's" (p.20), and a few other sources. However, none state definitively that those were COMEX closing prices.

Intraday

The intraday high refers to the highest price during the day. According to "Financial Crises: Understanding the Powerwar U.S. Experience" p.71, and "The Great Silver Bubble" p.144, the intraday price of silver on January 18 1980 reached $50.36 on COMEX and $52.50 on CBOT.

Other Prices

COMEX rules prevented the silver price from moving up or down more than $1 a day (but did not apply to the current month). As a result, the price for March, 1980 silver hit a high of just $41.50 on January 21, 1980, according to Paul Sarnoff's "Silver Bulls" (p.82).

On April 22, 2011 the Wikipedia article Silver Thursday shows a price of $48.70, which appears to be made-up. This price appears as "The previous day the price had risen to $48.70 in New York", but it is not specified where or how that price came from.

High Price Chart, Low to High!

PriceDateDescription
$41.50January 21, 1980COMEX May, 1980 High
$48.40January 17, 1980COMEX Settlement Price
$48.70January 17, 1980Unknown. Appears in Wikipedia 'Silver Thursday'.
Also in The Great Silver Bubble as:
"The previous day the price had risen to $48.70 in New York."
$49.45January 18, 1980London Fix
$50.36January 18, 1980Intraday COMEX High
$52.50January 18, 1980Intraday CBOT High


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