How Does The Value of Gold Medal Change With Time?

October 29, 2016 8:24 pm


The IOC stipulates that a gold medal must contain six grams of gold plating over a silver base in a gold medal. The amount of silver in a gold medal though can vary. Surprisingly enough the value of a gold medal which was won at one Olympic can be worth a totally different amount four or so years down the line. This is solely due to the ever fluctuating commodity pricing, forex rates and interest rates.

Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps celebrating one of the Gold Medals in Beijing.

There are a number of examples to highlight this fact and one can simply take the example of Michael Phelps. Before winning the gold medals at Rio Olympics, the swimmer already had 18 gold medals to his name having a value of around $4500 or so in total as of now.

One can also take the case of Sir Steve Redgrave who won gold at five consecutive olympics and the last one was in Sydney in 2000 and at that point his gold medals had a value of a mere £180. Due to the fluctuation in pricing and weakening of sterlings value in terms of Dollars his medal collection now is worth around £1000.

Another one can be Usain Bolt, who, having missed the gold medal in 2004 which was worth around $78 that time won three gold medals at Beijing 4 years later and three more at London Olympics as well which are worth around $500 as of now. This clearly show a staggering increase of gold prices as compared to the 2004 gold prices. The London medals were worth around 300 dollars which clearly shows that there was an increase of over 450% since 2004.

Another worthy example is that of Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis-Hill’s gold hauls. Denise Lewis won her gold medal in the women’s heptathlon in Sydney 2000 and then her medal was worth around $30-$40 (at 2000’s exchange rates). Jessica Ennis-Hill’s gold in London 12 years later in the same event was worth around £200 (2012 exchange rates).The value of the medal increased a whopping 389%. In other words the gold in Ennis-Hill’s medal was worth 389% more than the gold in Ms Lewis’ medal in sterlings.

Ennis-Hill after winning the gold


So clearly all these forex rates and interest rates do matter a lot in finding the price of a gold medal. When all these Olympics winner take their place on the podium they don’t have the value of this gold silver etc. on their mind obviously but these values matter a lot as we can see from these famous examples.

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