What Are Olympic Medals Really Made Of? (And What Are They Worth?)

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What Are Olympic Medals Really Made Of? (And What Are They Worth?)
Image: Getty Images


Once upon a time, the gold medals bestowed at the Summer Olympic Games were made of solid gold. Due to a significant increase in events, this is no longer the case. (If it was, the combined cost of gold medals at the Rio Olympics would have topped $17.5 million.) Instead, the chief material used in the construction of gold medals is fairly underwhelming. This infographic breaks down the composition and monetary value of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

This infographic comes from the gold and silver online retailer JM Bullion. As explained below, the “gold” medals at the Rio Olympics are actually 98.8 per cent silver. Only the outer coating, which comprises 1.2 per cent, or approximately 6g, is made of gold.

Each gold medal has a total value of $548, which is less than double the value of a silver medal ($292). Bronze medals, meanwhile, have a value of just $2.16. I’m pretty sure the plastic soccer trophy I got in primary school cost more than that — and this was in the ’80s.

[Via JM Bullion]

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