Facts about Olympic medal history and design
The Prestige of Olympic
• The Olympic medals are perhaps the most iconic
examples of precious metals being used as a direct
representation of prestige and achievement.
• This presentation will
cover some cool factoids
about the metals that
make up these medals.
Why Precious Metals?
• The common misconception is that gold, silver, and
bronze medals are awarded at the Olympics for
first, second and third places because each position
corresponds with the value of each precious metal.
• The content of each medal actually corresponds to
the “Ages of Man” in Greek mythology.
• The Ages of Man describe distinct time periods in the
history of mankind.
The Ages of Man
Golden Age: man lived under
the god Chronos with a very
heavenly lifestyle – plentiful
food, long lives, and peaceful
Silver Age: men lived under
the god Zeus. Though they still
lived long lives, they fought amongst themselves and were
subjugated by their gods, rather than invited to walk among
Bronze Age: men were hardened and violent – waging wars
with bronze tools.
The First Olympic Medals
Although the design for Olympic medals changes often,
their precious metal composition (as established by the
IOC) has remained pretty consistent since after the 1912
• Gold and silver medals were awarded starting in 1896.
• Bronze medals were introduced to the awards
ceremony in 1904.
The Metals in the Medals
When new medals are cast for each Olympics, they are
made with a specific metal content.
• Gold Medal: 550 grams of silver (at least 925–1000
grade) plated with 6 grams of pure gold
• Silver Medal: 550 grams of silver (at least 925–1000
• Bronze Medal: Copper alloyed with tin and zinc
The Gold/Silver Medal
• As you probably noticed, gold medals are actually
almost 1% gold. But, it’s a practical construction.
• Considering the number of medals awarded, the
expense of creating solid gold medals could become
• 550 grams of gold would be smaller that the same
amount of silver. Since the sizes would no longer
match, either gold medals would need to be bigger
(increasing cost, and making them quite heavy) or the
size of the silver and bronze medals would need to
• During the most recent Olympics (2012 in London),
the value of the precious metal content for each
Olympic medal was approximately:
• Gold Medal: $800
• Silver Medal: $500
• Bronze Medal: $60
• Of course, the precious metal value can’t hold a
candle to the intrinsic value!
Manhattan Gold & Silver (MGS) is a precious metals refiner that has been based in
Manhattan’s historic Diamond District since 1985. We are a B2B company that
buys and recycles precious metal scraps that accumulate in other businesses.
The industrial sector
• MGS also creates charts, calculators, and other online tools for our customers to
• Try our Precious Metals Prices app, which lets you monitor the real-time precious metals
market situation from anywhere, right from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
Recycle your Precious
Metals for Profit
• MGS accepts gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
• Payouts are based on the London Fixing.
• Up to 99% payout (among the highest in the US)
• Up to 98.5% for gold brought in for hand testing.
• Not in NYC? Ship us your precious metals using our Ship &
Sell service which offers:
• Same day wired payment (once lot is received)
• Discounted, insured shipping
• Payout calculator
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