Monthly Archives: August 2012

What Olympic “Gold” Medals are made of?

Olympic gold medals have not been made from pure gold since 1912 games. The 2012 games awarded 302 gold medals, making the cost to make that many medals from solid gold much too high to be practical. Each host city has an organizing committee that determines the specific composition for each games. However, the International Olympic Committee has certain requirements for Olympic medals. All medals must measure 60mm across and 3mm thick. Gold medals must have six grams of gold plating. The majority, 92.5 percent, is made from silver. The rest of the medal is copper.

Most winners hold on to their medals. However, a few are willing to sell them. The value of the metal within each gold medal is about $600. However, to collectors these medals can be worth much more. Each Olympic medal has a story behind how it was won. The ones from more famous athletes or memorable story lines during the Olympics are worth more.

Olympic medals can show up on eBay, and many are sold through special dealers of Olympic memorabilia. The average selling price for an Olympic gold medal is around $10,000. More famous gold medals fetch a higher price. One expert claims Michael Phelp’s record breaking 19th medal could be worth up to $50,000 at auction. A medal from the 1980 United States Hockey team was recently auctioned for $310,700. It all depends on the event and the history surrounding the victory.

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