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Are Gold Medals Worth Much?

Nothing carries prestige and a sense of accomplishment quite like an Olympic gold medal. It signifies the discipline and sacrifice of each athlete and demonstrates for that one moment in time, a person was the best in the world at their respective discipline.

But with words like “gold” thrown around, many people often wonder the same question: how much is a gold medal actually worth? The answer may shock you.

What Are Gold Medals Made of?

Unfortunately, the days of solid gold Olympic medals are long gone. The 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm were the last medals composed entirely of gold and today, a vast majority of the medals are actually made with silver.

Gold medals at the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo actually measured 85 millimeters in diameter and up to 12.1 millimeters in thickness. However, only the exterior is gold, containing six grams of gold that surrounds 550 grams of pure silver.

Silver medals are actually just the interior of a gold medal, made from 550 grams of silver minus the gold exterior, while bronze metals are 95% copper and 5% zinc.

How Much Are Gold Medals Worth?

Putting the extrinsic value of a gold medal aside, if you melted down the entire metal, you’d have about $800 worth of gold and silver with the gold making up about $350 of the value. A silver medal is worth about $450, while a bronze medal is worth only $5.

However, this type of valuation ignores who may have worn the medal, how old it is, and the rarity of the medal itself. Known as extrinsic or numismatic value, these factors can drastically change the value of a gold medal or any other Olympic medal. As such, collectors or owners of Olympic gold medals or any other types of medals should have a valid assessment to identify both the intrinsic and extrinsic value of the medal.

How to Determine the Value of a Gold Medal

From the valuation above, a gold medal may only carry a value slightly above the price of gold based upon the athlete that won it or what event it was in.

But the rarity, age, sport, and athlete all play vital roles in the overall valuation of a gold medal. For example, 1936 Jesse Owen’s gold medal sold for $1.46 million in 2013. Conversely, gold medals from lesser-known athletes fetch between $5,000 and $15,000 at auction.

Therefore, owners of Olympic gold medals or any other kind of athletic gold medals need the keen eye of an expert to properly assess their value. Without an appraisal, owners of gold medals may not know how much their assets are worth, leaving money on the table if and when they decide to sell them.

Gold Medal or Not, Precious Metals Are Always a Great Long-Term Investment

Numismatics and extrinsic value aside, precious metals are always a great investment. Whether you want to hedge against inflation or diversify your portfolio, coins, bullion, and even Olympic medals could be the one asset that’s missing from the ideal blend of investments that can build your wealth.


At London Coin of Newport Beach, we help buyers, sellers, and even those that want to trade.  We are here to ensure you get the best deal whether you’re selling, buying, or trading any form of precious metals.  Give us a call to book a private appointment.  We are your Orange County coin dealer centrally located in Newport Beach.