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The Real Value of 2012 Olympic Gold Medals
Are gold medals really gold?
Olympic gold medals do contain some gold, but probably not as much as you think. The International Olympic Committee states that each of the Olympic gold medals should contain at least 6g of gold. We are struggling to find the technical specifications of this year’s medals from a reputable official source.
How much gold do they contain?
An article in The Daily Telegraph on Friday 3rd August 2012 stated that the gold medals weigh 412g and we have confirmed this on The Royal Mint’s website. However it then went on to state that the gold content* was 1.34%. We calculate 1.34% of 412g to be 5.5208g / 0.1775 troy ounces) so either the medals do not meet the IOC’s specifications or the journalist is wrong. Neither would surprise us.
How much are the gold medals worth?
Based on the live gold price on the afternoon of Friday 27th July (Â£1026.874**) the intrinsic gold had a value of Â£182.27 but don’t forget these medals also contain 92.5% silver*. The fix for silver on the opening day of the Olympics was Â£17.6119** so the silver* (381.1g / 12.25 troy ounces) was worth Â£215.75.
Ignoring the remaining 6.16% copper* this makes the precious metal value of the 2012 London Olympics gold medal Â£398.02 at the start of the Olympics. Obviously these values will now have changed and will continue to do so forevermore.
Unfortunately we do not know when the World Gold Council calculated their price of Â£454 for The Daily Telegraph so we do not know how accurate this is. Journalists tend to omit the price of precious metals at the time of going to press – perhaps so no-one can ever prove them to be right or wrong.
Worth their weight in gold?
We should imagine that to the winning Olympians these medals are worth much more than the intrinsic value, but we have to agree with the Royal Mint – the more that stay in Great Britain the happier we will be.
* We assume the metal content of the medals is based on the core weight, ignoring the gold plating. We could be wrong, but until someone tells us otherwise we don’t know any better.
** Gold and silver fixings taken from the LBMA’s website.