Starting today, millions of Olympic fans will be cheering for their favourite athletes—hoping they’ll score a gold medal and make their countries proud.
But, as it turns out, not one competitor will be bringing home the gold this year; the last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden.
And in fact, gold medals were only offered at the games for eight years, from 1904 to 1912.
“Gold prices have risen six fold in the last ten years alone,” says Terry Hanlon, president of Dillon Gage Metals in Dallas. “Prices climbed from $300 an ounce a decade ago to $1,895 last year.” It’s declined a bit since and stands at $1,580 in July.
The actual composition of the 2012 gold medal is 92.5% silver and 1.34% gold. Copper makes up the rest.
Read: Is gold overvalued?
Silver prices have also surged in the last decade but are considerably less expensive than gold at $27.00 an ounce in July, Hanlon notes.
As a result, the silver medal is 92.5% silver, and the bronze medal is 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.
Before you discount the value of gold medal, though, consider this: in 2010, a gold medal worn by Mark Wells—member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. men’s hockey team— was auctioned off for $310,700.
Before the auction, the medal was valued at only $100,000. And several years before that, Wells even sold a medal to cover medical expenses.