How Much is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Worth?

This year’s Olympic medals will be the heaviest ever at a Summer Olympic Games by nearly double. At 400 grams (roughly 9-tenths of a pound), they outweigh the medals from Barcelona that had been 231 grams. The medals are also the largest ever in diameter at 85 mm, or about 3.5 inches. Of course, even these are dwarfed by the misshapen discs that were the Vancouver medals. They ranged from between 500 to 576 grams – winter medals are usually larger and heavier, and also less round.

Mel Stewart's 1992 Olympic medal, that until now was the heaviest ever for a summer Olympics

Mel Stewart’s 1992 Olympic medal, that until now was the heaviest ever for a summer Olympics.

The 2012 edition of the winners’ medals are hardly gold at all: they’re made of 92.5% silver, 6.16% copper, and just 1.34% gold, but with today’s inflated commodity prices this still makes them quite valuable.

Of course, there’s an added value that goes along with a gold medal. The perks, the free airline upgrades, the sudden demand for speaking engagements and endorsements. But we were curious about exactly what the hard value of the metal in the medal.

We’ve calculated, in terms of melted, commodity value, the spot prices of this year’s gold medals. Traders expect these prices to drop by the time the Olympic awards are handed out, but this should be fairly close to what they’ll be in August:

370 grams of silver: $356.04
24.64 grams of copper: $2.99
5.36 grams of gold: $300.18

Total Value: $659.21

The medals at the first Olympics where gold medals were given out regularly, 1904 in St. Louis, were dwarfed by the current brand, as they weighed only 21 grams and were just 37mm in diameter. But those were made of pure gold – $15.32 in the prices of the day, or $1173.94 at today’s market price.

But of course, being an Olympic medal, we all know they’re worth much, much more than that on the free market. How much depends largely on who is buying and who is selling, though Olympic medals don’t always have events or winners identified, so proving provenance can be a challenge.

Anthony Ervin sold his gold medal from the 2000 Olympics for $17,100, saying that it was just a symbol. He then donated the money to tsunami relief.  Ukrainian boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko auctioned off his 1996 gold medal for $1 million for charity, but was then returned to him by the winning bidder. You can currently buy a bronze medal from soccer from the 1956 Olympics on Ebay for $12,000.

To most athletes (as Michael Phelps touched on in his 60 minutes interview) the medal is more symbolic; they’ll show the medal to others who want to see it, but to the great ones it was about the journey and the victory as much as it was the hardware.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "How Much is a 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Worth?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

That’s my kitty, Honey Badger…. (and “Honey Badger Don’t Care”)

When you say yours is the heaviest, did you count the weight of the duct tape?

I’ve seen a lot of Olympic medals. 1984 and 1996 are the best…in my opinion.

The 1980 Lake Placid medals (executed by Tiffany & Co.) are pretty spectacular as well. I remember watching Eric Heiden win his five when I was a boy, and I still remember how the light played off the shallow, dish-shaped surface of the gold. Really stunning medals! The Tiffany blue-and-white ribbons are pretty cool, too.


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »