How much is an Olympic gold medal worth? How the monetary value of a medal in Rio compares to previous years

Joe Hall
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Golden gong: Olympic medals may not be pure gold...but they're not cheap either (Source: Getty)

The gold medals awarded to athletes at this year's Olympics are worth roughly $100 less than they were in London four years ago.

At 85mm in diameter, Rio's gold medals are the same size as those draped around necks in 2012, contain the same proportion of gold, copper and silver content — 1.34 per cent, 6.16 per cent and 92.5 per cent respectively — and actually weigh more at 500g compared to the 412g medals in London.

Yet due to a 22 per cent fall in the price of gold in the last four years from $1622 per troy ounce in 2012 to $1320.75 today, the World Gold Council has valued the medals in Rio this year at approximately $600 each compared to the London Games' record-high of $706.

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In total, 812 gold medals have been produced for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games worth nearly $500,000 put together.

$600: How much this year's Olympic gold medal is worth (Source: 2016)

If Team GB were to match their 2012 haul of 29 gold medals this summer, they will return to the UK with $17,400 worth of precious metal in cargo.

According to online gold and silver market Bullion Vault, if this year's medal manufacturers Brazilian Mint made their reward from solid gold they would be worth $39,812 each.

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At the 1904 and 1908 Olympics in St. Louis and London respectively, victorious athletes were lucky enough to be rewarded with medals made from pure gold which worth approximately just $15 at the time.

Instead, London's $706 gold medals are considered by the World Gold Council to be the most valuable ever at the time of the event.

They marked a large increase in monetary value on the 7mm wide and 0.6mm thick gold medals awarded in 2008 in Beijing, worth $215 each with jade the primary ingredient instead of copper.

The gold medals awarded in Athens in 2004 were worth $155 each while in Sydney they were valued at just $80 per medal.

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