By the Numbers

Top Ten Weekly Sell-Offs in Gold and Silver

Gold bars
Tom Grill | Iconica | Getty Images

Gold posted its worst weekly percent decline since 1983, as investors sold the metal tocover margin calls and losses in other assets.

Gold futures prices for December delivery settled at $1,639.8 Friday, down $101.9 or 5.9 percent.  It was the worst one-day percent drop since March 2008. 

For the week, gold fell $175 or 9.6 percent, while silver dived $10.73 or 26.3 percent to settle at $30.10 an ounce.

The recent sell-off comes after gold settled at a nominal record high of $1,891.9 back in August 22, marking the thousand-twelfth day of the metal's bull-market run.

During that period, gold prices increased 168.5 percent for the third best bull-market performance since 1975.

According to Bespoke Investment Group, the median gold bull market has lasted 418 days, while the median gain stands at 64 percent. 

That compares to the median gold bear market, which lasted 274 days, with a median loss of 34 percent.

The worst percent bear market in gold was recorded back in August 3, 1981, when prices fell nearly 46 percent over a 315-day period, after they had risen 335 percent to $834 from November 29, 1978 to January 21, 1980 (418-days).

The tables below include the worst weekly-percent declines for gold and silver dating back to 1975, along with the returns for both commodities the week after a large sell-off. 

Friday's decline in gold was the sixth largest on record, while silver had its third biggest weekly percent drop ever.

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