The Nobel Foundation recently finished announcing the recipients for the 2017 Nobel Prizes. In addition to worldwide recognition, winners receive money, an honorary diploma, and a gold medal. We’ve previously written about Olympic medals and the surprising amount of gold used to make them. Now, we’ll go over the metal content and melt value of Nobel medals.
Prior to 1980, Nobel Prize medals were made of 23k solid gold. Since then, they have been made of 18k electrum and plated with 24k gold. The actual amount of gold used to make Nobel Prize medals varies slightly each year depending on gold prices. On average, the medals weigh about 175 grams each.
Going by this information, we estimate that the 2017 Nobel Prize medals contain at least $5,000 in precious metals. Based on metal content alone, that makes them much more valuable than Olympic gold medals. Of course, the intrinsic value of a Nobel Prize medal is much greater than its melt value, and they usually command high prices on the auction block. Some examples include:
• $795,614 for Alan Lloyd Hodgkin’s medal
• $765,002 for Leon Lederman’s medal
• $390,848 for Simon Kuznets’ medal
• $2.7 million for Francis Crick’s medal
• $4.75 million for James Watson’s medal