The gold standard

Alexandre Bilodeaus Gold Medal/ Credit Flickr user: thelastminute

Alexandre Bilodeau's Gold Medal/ Credit Flickr user: thelastminute

All these medals floating around with the Olympics this week have me thinking, “What’s a gold medal really worth?” Turns out I’m not the only one with things that glitter on the brain.

The Wall Street Journal’s Brett Arends takes a look at whether all the Olympic medalists just should melt down their prizes and take them to the bank when they get home. Unfortunately, the athletes would be in for a surprise.

The deal: No, those gold medals aren’t solid gold. They’re actually silver, and then plated with 6 grams of gold.

The medals at the Vancouver games are worth a lot more–in purely bullion terms, at least–than medals handed out in the past few decades. That’s because they’re pretty big–and, more to the point, because gold and silver prices have been on a 10-year tear.

But there can be more at stake than just the medal for some athletes. A contest run by a sponsor of the Canadian Luge Team will award a $1M paycheck to the Canadian team – if they take home Olympic gold.

One person who is investing in real gold is billionaire philanthropist George Soros. He recently doubled his investment in gold, which analysts fear may not be a good sign for the economy overall.

The BBC spoke with a gold expert about Soros’ sudden change of heart.

Mark Heyhoe, senior mining analyst at Westhouse Securities, said: “He has previously said that gold is the ultimate hedge against inflation – if you think inflation’s going to rise, then I’m not surprised he bought into gold.”

For those of us with less than Ft. Knox in our accounts, NewsHour’s Paul Solman gives practical advice on how and when to invest in gold — it’s not for everyone. Nightly Business Report also investigates the right time for putting your money into metals and other alternative investments.

Putting stock in gold may have about as much chance of return as winning a gold medal, but it does have a similar sense of patriotism and nostalgia. To get your gold fix without breaking the bank, watch American Experience’s The Gold Rush and see where the ‘49ers got lucky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>