We’ve Been Lied To–The Olympic Gold Medals Aren’t Even Made Of Pure Gold And Are Worth Less Than Your Mom For A Night

(JK about the mom joke in the headline, bro. I’m sure she’s worth more.)

If Michael Phelps wanted to sell one of his billion Gold medals to fatten up his wallet even more than it already is, the time is now. Ya ya there is sentimental value and all that jazz that will likely deter Phelps from selling them, but the “gold” medals aren’t even made of pure gold and they haven’t been since the 1912 Stockholm Games.

That’s right, we’ve been lied to. The medals are gold-plated, about 1 percent gold, with the rest an alloy of silver and copper. The melted gold and silver of a gold medal is worth about $587 in current market prices.

So basically Michael Phelps has 23 medals that are, at face value, worth as much as a necklace at a mall kiosk. The value is in what they represent, it’s about what it is, not what it’s made of.

Per the Denver Post,

Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko sold his 1994 medal for $1 million in 2012. Mark Wells, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. hockey team, sold his in 2002 for $40,000.

Phelps’s medals are worth at least $100,000 a pop, maybe more if they’re from an especially noteworthy race.

So Michael’s 23 Golds are intrinsically worth $13,501, but would likely catch a market value of $2.3 million. If I were Phelps, I’d throw that shit up on eBay before I stepped off the podium. But, then again, I have no honor or integrity.

[h/t Denver Post]

Matt Keohan Avatar
Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.