Monday, 2 July 2012

How much are the medals worth?

The Euros are over and a rain soaked Wimbledon is into its second week which means that the long awaited Olympics are nearly here. To be fair to the organising committee I am impressed that all the venues are ready. I am looking forward to seeing a flyby of the Olympic park to replace the digital artists impression that has played on the news incessantly for the last four years.

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Today I read a great story on the BBC about the medals. Apparently they are to be stored in the vault of the Tower of London. I love this idea - who would have thought that over 900 years after it was built the stronghold of a conquering king would be used to store the awards of the worlds greatest athletes.

The BBC reports that eight tonnes of gold, silver and copper have been mined in America and Mongolia to make the shiny awards. In total 4700 medals for 805 events all made of gold, silver and bronze. This sounds expensive. I wondered exactly how much.

Well according to my research a gold medal is actually made of silver which is then gold plated, 550 grams of silver covered in 6 grams of gold. The silver medal is made of an alloy of silver and copper, 509 grams and 41 grams respectively. Whereas the bronze is made of an alloy of mostly copper mixed with some tin and zinc.

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At these amounts of metal I estimate that a gold medal is probably worth about £325, a silver medal £170 and a bronze medal about £2.50

Now the numbers don't quite work but let's assume out of the 4700 medals there are approximately a third of each so that's about 1566 of each type. So, this means in total the gold medals are worth 1566 x 325 = £508,905. The silver medals 1566 x 170 = £266,220 and bronze medals 1566 x 2.50 = £3,915. Total approx £780,000.

That's a lot of money, I can see why the Tower of London is a good place, surely safer than the banks! But one thing is certain they will be worth a whole lot more to the individuals who win them.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ed
    I too read with interest about the medals safe place being the iconic Tower of London. However we disagree on your final point. They would be well looked after in
    many bank vaults I'm sure. I'm
    Tired of many ordinary good honest people being tarred with the same brush.
    Can you write your next blog about the striking bus drivers or the immigration queues at Hesthrow and what this is doing to the credibility of our great nation?