What is the real worth of an Olympic medal? Read on
- Each of the gold, silver and bronze medals measure 85 millimeters in diameter
- They range in thickness from 7.7mm to 12.1mm
- The gold medals weigh 556 grams and contain only about 6 grams of gold
The very best of athletes from all around the world compete for the greatest sporting honour at the Olympics Games every four years – to be immortalised as a medal winner in the oldest and the most prestigious tournament in the history of sports.
And apart from the priceless laurels that they can bring upon themselves, their family and country, athletes stand the chance of bagging pretty lucrative financial prizes, including the gold, silver and bronze medals.
The designs for the medals change for each Games, with Japanese designer Junichi Kawanishi designing the medals for the Tokyo Games. Each of the gold, silver and bronze medals measure 85 millimeters in diameter and range in thickness from 7.7mm to 12.1mm.
The gold medals, which are actually made from gold-plated pure silver, weigh 556 grams and contain only about 6 grams of gold. The 550-gram silver medal is made of pure silver, while the bronze medal is made of a mixture of 95% copper and 5% zinc.
If one is to melt down the metals, the gold medal will be worth around US $800 in today’s market, while the silver and bronze medals will be worth around $450 and $5 each, according to CNN.
They will be much more valuable if not molten. In July, a winner’s medal from the 1896 Athens Olympics was auctioned for $180,000, while Cuban shooter Leuris Pupo’s gold medal from the 2012 London Games sold for $73,200 and his compatriot Ivan Pedroso’s gold medal from the long jump event at the Sydney Games in 2000 fetched $71,335.
All three medals were sold by Boston-based firm RR Auction.
But those prices are eclipsed by $1.46 million paid in 2013 for Jesse Owens’ gold medal from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. That medal, one of the four Owens won at the Berlin Games, has extra significance as it spoiled Adolf Hitler’s planned showcase of Aryan supremacy.
But not all athletes tend to part with their prized medals, in fact, very few ever do.
“They very rarely come up for sale,” Richard Gladdle, from Baldwin’s auction house in London, told CNN. When they are put up for sale, it is usually for philanthropic purposes.