29 Jul 2012

Olympic Gold Medals May Glitter, But…

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Inflation is almost as old as the modern Olympic Games (revived in 1896). Boing Boing informs us that the Olympic Gold Medals we are watching being awarded are only gold-plated, and that Olympic Gold Medals have not really been made of gold since a century ago.

The amount of gold in an Olympic gold medal has fallen to 1.34 percent, thanks to gold prices that recently peaked at $1,895 an ounce. At current prices, a pure 400g medal would cost about $25,000 to make, with a total bill of about $50m for the games.

“The last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden,” writes gold brokers Dillon Gage. “Gold medals were in fact only gold for eight years. …

The 2012 gold is 92.5 percent silver, 1.34 percent gold, and 6.16 copper, with IOC rules specifying that it must contain 550 grams of high-quality silver and 6 grams of gold. The resulting medallion is worth about $500. For the silver medal, the gold is replaced with more copper, for a $260 bill of materials.

The bronze medal is 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin. Valued at about $3, you might be able to trade one for a bag of chips in Olympic park if you skip the fish.

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