Not much real gold in Olympic medal

The last time solid gold medals were awarded in the games was in 1912.

By Kim Peterson Jul 30, 2012 4:23PM
If the Olympic gold medal was made of real gold, it would be worth a small fortune.

This year's medals weigh between 375 and 400 grams, CoinWeek reports. They are the largest and heaviest medals in Olympic history. If the gold medal contained 400 grams of actual gold, it would be worth nearly $21,000 (using a spot gold price of $52.20 a gram).

But it's been 100 years since the Olympic games gave solid gold medals to victorious athletes. Now, the gold medal is a mere 1.34% gold and 92.5% silver, with the rest made up of copper, according to Dillon Gage, one of the country's largest precious metals dealers.

The silver medal is truer to form, containing 92.5% silver and the rest copper. The bronze medal is 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.

So how much are these medals worth? Using some back-of-the-envelope calculations, the gold medal is worth around $650. The silver medal is worth about $330 and the bronze medal is worth just $3.

Not that any of these athletes would actually sell their medals, right? No, they do. In fact, a gold medal worn by Mark Wells, part of the 1980 U.S. men's "Miracle on Ice" hockey team, was auctioned for $310,700 two years ago, CoinWeek reports. Wells sold his medal years earlier to pay for medical expenses related to a rare genetic disease.

Most of the metal used in this year's medals came from the United States. Miner Rio Tinto (RIO) said the majority of the metal came from its Kennecott copper mine in Utah, and the rest came from its Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. More than eight tonnes of Rio Tinto metal was used to make the medals. The medals are 85 millimeters in diameter and 7 millimeters thick.

The Royal Mint in South Wales made the 2,300 medals that will be awarded in this year's Olympic games.

More from Top Stocks

Jul 30, 2012 5:37PM
AS everyone knows . the thirl  of competition  and  all the hours these people put into training is worth more than all the gold and silver in the world
Jul 31, 2012 3:28PM
Way to go American womens gymnastics team.
Jul 30, 2012 4:41PM
Jul 30, 2012 5:04PM

"If the Olympic gold medal was made of real gold, it would be worth a fortune... If the gold medal contained 400 grams of actual gold, it would be worth nearly $21,000"


You mean, all this time I've been worth a fortune and didn't know it?


I'm rich! I'm rich!!!!


Jul 30, 2012 11:31PM
The "gold" comes later.  I don't think they are competing for the value of a medals ore...
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

123 rated 1
266 rated 2
485 rated 3
660 rated 4
586 rated 5
652 rated 6
640 rated 7
504 rated 8
289 rated 9
159 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.