There are many ways to look at the worth of an Olympic gold medal. The pride and prestige of being a gold medalist is undoubtedly priceless, but the medal itself can have different kinds of value on its own.
Breaking Down the Value
The following are just three of the different ways one could break down the value of an Olympic gold medal.
One way to define how much gold medals are worth is by their auction price. Various factors can affect how much bidders are willing to pay, including:
- The athlete
- The year of the Olympic Games
- The season (Summer Olympics Winter Olympics)
- Records broken
- Other circumstances from when the gold medal was won
For example: while most gold medals fetch around $20,000 – $50,000 at auction, Mark Wells’ 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey medal sold for $310,700.¹ In the end, the auction price also includes the value of its story.
Another undeniable type of value is the lucrative endorsement deals and opportunities that come with the medal. These may include:
- Product endorsements
- Foods (like Wheaties)
- Sporting goods
- Athletic apparel
- Fitness equipment
- Spokesperson jobs
- Coaching opportunities
- Television appearances
Being a gold medalist is a major door opener, bringing in income even after they’ve retired from competition. In this sense, a gold medal’s worth could include all the money that could be made from the title.
Scrap Material Value
The most straightforward way to define a medal’s worth is by the price of its materials. Unlike auctions and endorsements, a medal’s scrap value is easily calculated based on known information, including:
- Composition (the types of metal used)
- Purity (of each metal)
- Weight (of each metal)
When you sell to a scrap buyer like Cash For Gold USA, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paid before you agree to the sale.
Calculating the Scrap Value of a Gold Medal
Olympic gold medals are actually made of gold-plated silver. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medals weigh about 556 grams, comprising 550 grams of silver and 6 grams of gold (both 99.9% pure).²
The scrap price of a Tokyo gold medal can therefore be estimated as:
(550 grams * price per gram of pure silver) + (6 grams * price per gram of pure gold)
At the July 27th, 2021 prices per gram ($0.81 for silver, $57.81 for gold), a Tokyo gold medal would be worth approximately $792.36.³
Different years’ Olympic medals vary, and market prices fluctuate. Your medal’s value may differ.
The History of Olympic Gold: How Its Value Has Changed
The very first Olympic medals, awarded in Athens in 1896, did not include gold.⁴ In fact, it wasn’t until 1904 that the concept of giving a gold medal for first place would even officially exist. Prior to those games, first place received a silver medal, while second place received a bronze medal. The St. Louis games were the first to introduce a third place award.
Only three Olympics in history have featured medals made from solid gold:
- Louis 1904
- London 1908
- Stockholm 1912⁵
Not all of the gold was 24k. The medals from the London 1908 games, for example, were made from 14k gold. Nevertheless, a solid 14k gold golf medal from that year was estimated by Christie’s at £20,000 – £30,000 (about $28,000 – $41,000).⁶
After 1912, all gold medals were made from gold-plated silver, largely due to cost. However, some medals have had thicker plating than others, making them slightly more valuable. If you have an older medal, especially one from 1904-1912, you may be able to sell it for a much higher price.
What If Today’s Medals Were Solid Gold?
If today’s Olympic medals were made from solid gold, their scrap value would be impressive, to say the least. At a constant weight of 556 grams, a 24k gold medal would currently be valued somewhere around $32,000. Even at 14k (58.3% pure gold), it would be worth more than $18,000.
Hypothetically, a solid gold medal of the same size as the Tokyo medals could be made. However, gold is denser than silver, weighing about 8.8 grams more per cubic centimeter. At an approximate volume of 68 cm³ (based on size specifications⁷), a solid 24k gold medal would weigh nearly 600 grams more, making it more than twice the real medal’s weight!
This hefty hypothetical medal could be valued at upwards of $64,000, but designers would almost certainly opt for a smaller, lighter design. Still, the example shows how incredibly valuable gold is and how quickly its worth adds up.
How to Sell Your Olympic Gold Medal
Here’s how the sale process works at Cash For Gold USA:
- Request a free appraisal kit online.
- When the kit arrives, place your medal into the free shipping materials and send it back. All shipments are insured, keeping your medal safe through transit.
- Within 24 hours of receipt, we’ll send you our most competitive offer.
- If for any reason you’re dissatisfied with the offer, we’ll send your medal back to you at no cost.
To find out how much your gold medal is worth, start by requesting your free appraisal kit today.
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