Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Vanessa Hudgens, Derek Hough, Julianne Hough, Paula Abdul and Chita Rivera Team Up to Support Dancers Impacted by Cancer
- Read the Cover Story: Prince Harry: Finding My Purpose
- Sisters Abandoned in Cardboard Boxes as Infants Thank the Mother Who Gave Them Up: 'She Made the Right Decision for Us'
- Jennifer Lopez Ain't Your Mama: Shares Sexy Bikini Snap Before Her New Album Drops
- Gladys Tordil, 44, Allegedly Gunned Down by Estranged Husband in Maryland High School Shooting Leaving Another Injured: Report
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 14, 1980
- Vol. 13
- No. 15
The Hunt Brothers Stumble, Silver Prices Tumble, and Walter Hoving Feels Sterling at Tiffany's
The outspoken Hoving, 82, hadn't named names, but everybody knew whom he meant. Beginning quietly in 1973, the Hunts and a group of their Saudi Arabian friends had purchased nearly $6 billion in silver. They, and other speculators scenting a windfall, had driven the price of the metal from three dollars an ounce in 1972 to nearly $60 early last winter. Tiffany's, never to be confused with Krazy Bob's Discount City, suddenly found itself charging prices that shocked even Hoving, a capitalist to his blueblooded spleen. "We were really ripping off the customers," he confessed, "but we couldn't help it. I thought it was unconscionable that people were accumulating such quantities of silver in complete disregard of other people's welfare," he said. "I mean, photographic film was so expensive that a doctor called me to say he had to charge patients so much for X-rays he simply wasn't taking all that he should."
For Hoving, silver has never been just something to sell. "Our policy," he declares, "is that we at Tiffany's are making the antiques of the future." With posterity in mind, he was appalled when owners anxious to convert their goods into cash began lining up to dispose of their heirlooms. "I think a lot of the sales came from stealing," he says. "There were even stories of burglars with electric furnaces in their vans who melted down what they stole on the spot. Of course," he adds, "if people sold their own antiques and they were from Tiffany's, that too was a crime. I don't think people should buy silver as an investment. They should buy it because it's beautiful or because they need an attractive present for their children or grandchildren," he continues, breaking into a favorite story. "I know of a woman who inherited silver flatware from her grandmother. She in turn gave it to her granddaughter, who promptly went out and sold it. The old lady cut her right out of her will. It served the girl right."
Though he is a man of starchy convictions, not all of those personally authored Hoving ads are either preachy or pugnacious. Some are cunningly commercial. A week before the panic that sent silver costs plunging, he offered customers an unprecedented 15 percent discount on all silver merchandise, explaining that Tiffany's had bought the metal when prices were lower and wanted to pass the saving on to its customers. The day after prices tumbled to $10.80 an ounce, Hoving upped the discount to 25 percent and rejoiced in the apparent triumph of virtue. "A little while ago," he said later, "a nice-looking woman came into the store. She told me that she and her husband had sent their daughter to college and now she was marrying a nice boy. She wanted some presents to come from Tiffany's, she said, 'because we know they'll be right.' That made me very happy. Finally I asked her what business her husband was in and she told me he was a letter carrier. That made me feel better than if I'd sold a million-dollar ring to someone. That's what all this was about." If that sounds un-Tiffany's, well, in 1978 Hoving, the majority stockholder, sold his family firm for $104 million to Avon Products, Inc.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!