Archive for August, 2012

Olympic Medals: Are Gold Medals Made of Gold?

August 7th, 2012 No comments

Olympic Medals: Are Gold Medals Made of Gold?

The 2012 Olympics are here! Excited competitors from all over the world are coming together in order to battle it out to see who is the best in the world within their chosen event. And it doesn’t even matter how many people are actually competing in any particular event, only the first 3 people who finish will receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal for that particular event.

People from all over the world tend to be quite fascinated by these 3 different Olympic medals, yet not much is known about how they are made. Since there are 3 different medals, each one is going to have a different financial value. Anyone who has ever competed in the Olympics and received an Olympic medal can tell you that to them they are priceless.

What are Olympic Medals Made Of?

Most people are going to be surprised to find out that the Olympic gold medals are now made mostly with silver. The silver medal includes sterling silver and the bronze medal is made up of mostly copper. Because gold prices have increased about sixfold in the past 10 years the cost to make the medals continues to rise. No longer is gold $300 an ounce, it’s now nearly $1,600 an ounce. Although silver prices are considerably less than gold, the prices of this precious commodity have also continued to climb in the last decade.

There were 2,300 Olympic medals made for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which have been placed in the Tower of London where they have been carefully guarded until the start of the games. The following is the breakdown of metals used to make each medal:

  • Gold Olympic Medal – 92.5% silver, 1.34% gold, 6.16% copper
  • Silver Olympic Medal – 92.5% silver, 7.5% copper
  • Bronze Olympic Medal – 97% copper, 2.5% zinc, 0.5% tin

Even though the Olympic Gold medal is no longer made from 100% gold, they still hold a high value due to the symbolism they hold. Although it’s not very often that you’ll see an Olympic medal for sale, it does happen. Mark Wells, a 1980 men’s hockey winner, put his Olympic Gold medal up for sale at auction and got an impressive $310,700.

Interesting Fact

It was 1904 during the St. Louis Olympics that gold medals were first used as a first place prize. It was 1912 during the Summer Olympic Games in Sweden when the very last solid gold medals were given out.

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