The Olympic and Paralympic victory medals – the facts behind the medals

Lots of people are talking about the Olympic and Paralympic medals, and the questions seem to focus on the same issues. What are they made of? What are they worth? How many are there?

Well, we made them, so who better to clear this up once and for all? With pleasure, we present, the facts behind the medals!

The London 2012 Olympic medals
The gold, silver and bronze Olympic victory medals for London 2012

General medal facts:

  • The last Olympic gold medal to be made entirely from gold was awarded in 1912.
  • Since then, the specific composition of the medals has been decided by the host nation’s National Olympic Committee under guidance from the International Olympic Committee.
  • All 4700 medals for London 2012 were struck at The Royal Mint.
  • The 2012 medals are the biggest and heaviest Olympic and Paralympic Games medals ever made (17 times heavier than the 1912 medals).
  • Each medal is 85mm in diameter.
  • The gold and silver medals weigh 412g, whilst the bronze weighs 357g.
  • The thickness of the medals ranges from 8-10mm.
  • Each medal takes about 10 hours to produce.
  • There are 22 stages involved in the making of the London 2012 Olympic medals (And that’s not including the 21 inspections that are made at every stage or the making of the master tools used to strike the medals in the first place).

About bronze:

The bronze medal is made up of 97.0% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.

About silver:

The silver medal is made up of 92.5% silver, with the remainder copper.

About gold:

The gold medal is made up of 92.5% silver and 1.34% gold, with the remainder copper (a minimum of 6g of gold).

What are they worth?

Metal cost doesn’t really affect the value of an Olympic medal. Melting the medal down for scrap would reduce its value considerably. On March 29th 2012 Wladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian world heavyweight-boxing champion, raised $1m for charity by auctioning his gold medal from 1996. The medal was immediately returned by the buyer out of respect for the achievement it represented.

For more medal facts and figures, follow The Royal Mint on Twitter

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