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Going for the Gold: A Breakdown of the Olympic Gold Medals; What’s a Gold Medal Worth?

After the Olympic Games of 2020 in Tokyo were postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sports fans and enthusiasts have found themselves waiting with bated breath for July 2021, when the games will officially resume.

Of course, no Olympic competition would be complete without the signature gold medals for which athletes across the world strive for.

But, in that case, when did they actually begin to receive these medals? Also, how much might a gold medal actually cost if found on the market today?

A History of Games and Gold

Originally, the Olympic winners of Ancient Greece were not celebrated with medals at all, let alone with glittering gold ornamentation. Rather, athletes that championed their sports were gifted with an olive branch wreath.

In fact, it was not until the Olympic Games of 1896 that medals were formally gifted to the winners — and even then, the winners originally received a silver medal, whereas the second-place winners were given one of copper.

Gold, silver, and bronze medals as we know them today were not instituted until the 1904 Olympic Games, which were hosted in St. Louis, Missouri.

But Is It Gold, Really?

When all is said and done, you may be wondering: Are the Olympic gold medals really made of gold? Well, yes and no.

As producing a medal of solid gold would be an incredibly costly endeavor, Olympic gold medals are primarily comprised of silver and are then plated with gold. That being said, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) specifies requirements for each gold medal, including that each one must be plated with a minimum of six grams’ worth of 24 karat gold.

Putting a Price on Winning

As is standard, the gold medal for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo contains just over six grams of gold plating in total. But — sentiments and accomplishments aside — what is the actual dollar value of such an accolade?

Today, the market value of gold stands at approximately $58.43 per gram, meaning that the gold plating of the medal alone would cost over $350. And, according to the IOC, this specific gold medal weighs approximately 556 grams, meaning that, when the gold plating is removed, there is still approximately 550 grams of silver left. With a current market value of $0.89 per gram, the silver of this particular medal would cost about $489. 

In total, we can calculate that the value of the gold medal for the upcoming Olympic Games would cost about $839 total.

Of course, not all of us are Olympic athletes, but who says we can’t celebrate with a little gold of our own? If you’re looking for a little golden glitz and glamour that suits your budget, you can always stop by Jacksonville’s #1 independent custom jeweler: Hemming Jewelers! Not only do we sell all manner of new and consignment gold accessories, but if you’re looking to put a little money back into your wallet, we’ll also buy your unwanted gold. To learn more, contact us today by calling (904) 354-5959!