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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A gold medal is a medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture.

Since the eighteenth century, gold medals have been awarded in the arts, for example, by the Royal Danish Academy, usually as a symbol of an award to give an outstanding student some financial freedom. Others offer only the prestige of the award. Many organizations now award gold medals either annually or extraordinarily, including UNESCO and various academic societies.

While some gold medals are solid gold, others are gold-plated or silver-gilt, like those of the Olympic Games, the Lorentz Medal, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Nobel Prize medal. Nobel Prize medals consist of 18 karat green gold plated with 24 karat gold. Before 1980 they were struck in 23 karat gold.

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  • ✪ How Much are Olympic Gold Medals Worth?

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How Much are Olympic Gold medals Worth? As far as the value of the raw materials in them, this varies from Olympiad to Olympiad. For the recent 2012 Olympics in London, the medals were the largest of any in Summer Olympic history up to that point, weighing in at 400g for the gold medal. Of this 400g, 394g was sterling silver (364.45g silver / 29.55g copper) with 6g of 24 karat gold plating. At the price of gold and silver when these medals were won by various Olympians, this means a gold medal in the London Olympics was worth about $624, with $304 of the value coming from the gold plating and about $320 coming from the sterling silver. Since then, the price of gold has dropped about 18% and the price of silver has dropped about 39%. How Much are Olympic Gold medals Worth? As far as the value of the raw materials in them, this varies from Olympiad to Olympiad. For the recent 2012 Olympics in London, the medals were the largest of any in Summer Olympic history up to that point, weighing in at 400g for the gold medal. Of this 400g, 394g was sterling silver (364.45g silver / 29.55g copper) with 6g of 24 karat gold plating. At the price of gold and silver when these medals were won by various Olympians, this means a gold medal in the London Olympics was worth about $624, with $304 of the value coming from the gold plating and about $320 coming from the sterling silver. Since then, the price of gold has dropped about 18% and the price of silver has dropped about 39%. For the current 2016 Rio Olympics, the gold medals are one-upping the London Games, weighing in at a a half a kilogram, with about 462g of it silver, 6g gold, and the rest copper. So by current gold and silver prices as of July 13, 2016, these medals are worth about $561 total, with approximately $301 of the value from silver and $260 from gold. So, despite being 1/5 more massive than the London Games Olympics medals, and having the same amount of gold and much more silver, due to the significant drop in gold and silver prices since 2012, the Rio gold medals are worth less at their awarding than the London Games medals were worth when they were awarded. Of course, athletes can often get much more than this selling the medals on the open market, particularly for momentous medals, like the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 men’s U.S. hockey team gold medal. Mark Wells, a member of that team, auctioned his medal off in 2012 and received $310,700 for it, which he needed to help pay for medical treatment. Most auctioned medals don’t go for nearly this much, though. For instance, Anthony Ervin’s 50 meter freestyle gold medal won in 2000, even with all proceeds going to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, only sold for $17,100. John Konrads’ 1500 meter freestyle gold medal won in 1960 only sold for $11,250 in 2011. This is a great return in terms of what the raw value of the materials are worth, but certainly nowhere close to Mark Wells’ medal. Gold medals in the Olympics weren’t always made mostly of silver. Before the 1912 Olympics, they were made of solid gold. However, they tended to be much smaller than modern medals. For instance, the 1900 Paris gold medals were only 3.2 mm thick, with a 59 mm diameter, weighing just 53g. For perspective, the London 2012 medals were 7 mm thick, with a diameter of 85 mm and, as mentioned, weighed 400g. The 1900 Paris gold medals at today’s value of gold are worth about $2300. For the 1912 games in Stockholm, the last year the gold medals were made of solid gold, the value of the gold medals at current prices of gold would be around $870. If the current 2016 Olympic gold medals were made out of solid gold, they’d be worth about $21,625 each. This may seem feasible, considering how much money the Olympics brings in, until you consider just how many medals are awarded during each summer Olympics. For instance, in these 2016 Olympics, about 2,488 medals have been produced, including 812 gold medals. At $21,625 each, that would be just shy of $18 million dollars for the gold medal materials alone. As it is, with the current gold medals having about $561 worth of materials, then $305 for the silver medals, and about $5 for the bronze (which are mostly made of copper, with a very small amount of zinc and tin), about $708,000 is still being spent on the raw materials alone for these medals, not to mention the cost of having them minted.

Contents

Military origins

Before the establishment of standard military awards, e.g., the Medal of Honor, it was common practice to have a medal specially created to provide national recognition for a significant military or naval victory or accomplishment. In the United States, Congress would enact a resolution asking the President to reward those responsible. The commanding officer would receive a gold medal and his officers silver medals.[1]

Competition medals

A medal on a ribbon designed to be worn around the winner's neck.
A medal on a ribbon designed to be worn around the winner's neck.

Medals have historically been given as prizes in various types of competitive activities, especially athletics.

Traditionally, medals are made of the following metals:

  1. Gold (or another yellow metal, e.g., brass)
  2. Silver (or another grey metal, e.g., steel)
  3. Bronze

Occasionally, Platinum medals can be awarded.

These metals designate the first three Ages of Man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age, when men lived among the gods, the Silver Age, where youth lasted a hundred years, and the Bronze Age, the era of heroes.

The custom of awarding the sequence of gold, silver, and bronze medals for the first three highest achievers dates from at least the 19th century, with the National Association of Amateur Athletes in the United States awarding such medals as early as 1884.[2]

This standard was adopted for Olympic competition at the 1904 Summer Olympics. At the 1896 event, silver was awarded to winners and bronze to runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals.

Olympic Games

At the 1896 Summer Olympics, the winners received a silver medal. Since 1904, the winners receive a gold medal, the second-place finishers receive a silver medal and the third-place finishers receive a bronze medal.
At the 1896 Summer Olympics, the winners received a silver medal. Since 1904, the winners receive a gold medal, the second-place finishers receive a silver medal and the third-place finishers receive a bronze medal.

At the modern Olympic Games, winners of a sporting discipline receive a gold medal in recognition of their achievement.

At the Ancient Olympic Games only one winner per event was crowned with kotinos, an olive wreath made of wild olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Aristophanes in Plutus makes a remark why victorious athletes are crowned with wreath made of wild olive instead of gold.[3] Herodotus describes a story that explains why there were only a few Greek men at the Battle of Thermopylae since "all other men were participating in the Olympic Games" and that the prize for the winner was "an olive-wreath". When Tigranes, an Armenian general learned this, he uttered to his leader: "Good heavens! what kind of men are these against whom you have brought us to fight? Men who do not compete for possessions, but for honour".[4] Hence medals were not awarded at the ancient Olympic Games.

At the 1896 Summer Olympics, winners received a silver medal and the second-place finisher received a bronze medal. In 1900, most winners received cups or trophies instead of medals. The next three Olympics (1904, 1908, 1912) awarded the winners solid gold medals, but the medals themselves were smaller. The use of gold rapidly declined with the onset of the First World War and also with the onset of the Second World War.[5] The last series of Olympic medals to be made of solid gold were awarded at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.

Olympic Gold medals are required to be made from at least 92.5% silver, and must contain a minimum of 6 grams of gold.[6] All Olympic medals must be at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm thick.[6] Minting the medals is the responsibility of the Olympic host. From 1928 through 1968 the design was always the same: the obverse showed a generic design by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli of Greek goddess Nike with Rome's Colloseum in the background and text naming the host city; the reverse showed another generic design of Nike saluting an Olympic champion.

From the 1972 Summer Olympics through 2000, Cassioli's design (or a slight modification) remained on the obverse with a custom design by the host city on the reverse. Noting that Cassioli's design showed a Roman amphitheater for what originally were Greek games, a new obverse design was commissioned for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics medals had a diameter of 70mm and were 6mm thick, with the front displaying a winged figure of victory and the back showed a Beijing Olympics symbol surrounded by an inset jade circle.

Winter Olympics medals have been of more varied design. The silver and bronze medals have always borne the same designs.

Other gold medal awards

The award of a gold medal, often coupled with the award of silver and bronze medals to the next place finishers, has been adopted in other sports competitions and in other competitive fields, such as music and writing, as well as some competitive games. Typically bronze medals are awarded only to third place, but in some contests there is some variety, such as International barbershop music contests where bronze medals are awarded for third, fourth, and fifth place.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Polk County History site "Gold Medals All Around"". Polkcounty.org. Archived from the original on 2004-11-06.
  2. ^ Brooklyn Eagle, 15 August 1884 "Preparing for the Championship" Archived 1 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Aristophanes, Plutus, 585.
  4. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, Hdt. 8.26
  5. ^ Melonyce McAfee (August 10, 2012). "Why Olympians bite their medals". CNN. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Jennifer Rosenberg. "Interesting Olympic Facts". Retrieved December 12, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 September 2019, at 02:34
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