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一块奥运金牌值多少钱?远不止材料费那么点

Alicia Adamczky 2016年08月10日

金牌对运动员是无价的,我们只能看看它对收藏者的价值。

奥运奖牌每两年就会颁发一次(夏奥会和冬奥会)。每当国歌响起,选手眼泪潸然而下时,电视转播镜头往往都会给奖牌来个特写,尤其是金牌。观众们自然而然地就想知道,这玩意儿究竟值多少钱一块?

跟任何东西一样,金牌的真正价值取决于你觉得它应该值多少。同样一块金牌,在发奖机构眼里和选手眼中的价值肯定是不一样的。至于一个收藏家愿意出多少钱收购一块金牌,以及至于把它熔了之后能提炼出几克黄金,就全然是另一回事了。

总之,衡量一块奥运金牌的价值有很多不同的角度。让我们分解来看一看。

材料价值:501美元

第一种办法,也是衡量一块奥运金牌价值的最简单的方法,就是把它融了,看看它的材料值多少钱。自1968年以来,奥运金牌的平均直径是65.8豪米,厚度为6.5毫米,重176.5克。伦敦奥运会的金牌是历届奥运会里个头最大的,重量约在375克到400克之间。

但是金牌并非是用真金做的——至少不全是。每块金牌大约只有6克左右的金属是24K金,主体部分其实是纯银打造的。(这里所谓的“纯”银也并不纯,而是指纯度为92.5%的银,其余部分为铜。)用今天的价值计算,每枚金牌的材料价值大约在366美元左右。伦敦奥运会上颁发的那些块头最大的金牌也就值501美元。(不过以2012年较高的贵金属价格计算,伦敦奥运会金牌当时的成本价大概在777美元左右。)

如果金牌真是用纯金打造呢?据《连线》(Wired)杂志计算,如果是一块十足真金的奥运金牌,其重量估计得在3.35磅上下,价格估计能达到76,000美元左右。

收藏价值:10,000美元到100万美元以上

每届奥运会都会颁发出几百枚金牌,由于很多运动员最终无法靠专业搞体育发家致富,一些运动员在走投无路之际,难免会选择卖掉金牌。拍卖奥运金牌是常有的事,所以如果说你打算买一枚回家收藏,我们这里还是有一些靠谱的数据值得你参考的。

金牌和金牌之间的收藏价值也是有很大差异的。比如波士顿市的RR拍卖公司已经拍卖过很多块金牌了。该公司对《今日美国》表示,一枚“普通”的奥运金牌(比如射箭或水球项目,且金牌得主本身不太出名)大约值1万美元。越是稀有、年代越久的金牌,卖价自然也就越高。RR拍卖公司2016年1月曾拍出四块奥运金牌,里面有一块1924年夏蒙尼奥运会的金牌拍出了47,746.83的高价,1956年墨尔本奥运会上的一块金牌也以10,114.83美元的价格被人收购。

如果一块金牌的得主很有知名度,或者它镀了6克以上的纯金,那么它的价格立马就要上几个档次,拍卖价格也会一路飙升。杰西·欧文斯1936年曾为美国拿下四枚奥运金牌,唯一传世至今的仅剩一枚,而这一枚在2013年以147万美元的高价拍出。美国冰球队1980年冬奥会上的一枚“冰上奇迹”金牌更是有望创下150万到200万美元的价格。不过它在今年夏天的一场拍卖会上最终未能售出。

金牌背后的汗水与训练:10万美元以上

另一个看待金牌价值的角度,就是看看一名运动员要想赢得一枚奥运金牌需要付出多少代价。台上一分钟,台下十年功。专业的技能必然需要专业的训练、培养和器材,这些都是非常昂贵的。

上一届奥运会期间,《纽约时报》曾报道过,美国游泳女将密茜·富兰克林的父母每年都要豪掷10万美元资助女儿的体育事业。奥运自行车健将鲍比·李每年也要自己掏钱支付数万美元的成本,而且是年复一年地如此,只为换来一次问鼎冠军的机会。前短道速滑选手埃里克·弗雷姆曾对《市场观察》坦言,他的体育之路让他的家庭付出了25万美元的高昂成本,换来的还只是两枚银牌。

每个运动、每位运动员、每个家庭,需要为奥运选手付出的“投资”都不尽相同,由于存在这样巨大的差异,我们不太可能对每个金牌选手的付出给出一个比较准确的估计值。另外,牺牲学业和工作去全身心地投入训练,也可能产生巨大的机会成本,导致运动员在日后从事其他行业时,由于缺少必要的学历和社会工作经验,而严重影响其薪资待遇。

即便我们能估算出一个平均成本,另一个因素也会使它变得没有意义,因为谁也不能保证你一定有就资格能站在奥运会的场馆里与天下高手一决雌雄,更不用说拿金牌了。每一个奥运冠军的家庭背后,还有成千上万个家庭为了儿女的奥运金牌梦而付出了无尽的辛酸。有些参加奥运会的孩子背后甚至有举国之力支持,但也不能保证一定就能拿到金牌。说到底,这些花在训练、培养和参赛上的资金,就好比是买了一张极为昂贵的彩票。

奖金价值:25,000美元以上

杰西·欧文斯曾说过:“我有四块金牌,但这四块金牌不能当饭吃。”不过欧文斯后来靠着与马赛跑以及谈论早年职业生涯的成就等,总算还是赚了些钱。如果不是靠这四块金牌带来的名声和荣誉,他的晚年生涯只怕会凄惨很多。

目前,美国奥委会会为每名美国奥运金牌得主颁发25,000美元的奖金,但金牌带给奥运选手的还远不止这些。

一块万众瞩目、具有历史意义的金牌,和一块乏人问津的射飞碟比赛的金牌,它们的价值显然是有很大差异的。同样,一块金牌能给选手带来什么东西,也取决于它的比赛项目、赛事背景以及其参与者。一块热门体育项目的金牌能给选手带来价值上百万的代言合同和极高的名声,然而一没商业支持、二没群众基础的项目的金牌,除了会在这个项目的小圈子里被热议一时,很快就会被社会所淡忘。

金牌是奥运选手人生的顶峰。2012年伦敦奥运会总共颁发了301块金牌,其中每一块金牌背后,都一段不同的人生故事。所以要想说清任何一块金牌究竟值多少钱,几乎是件不可能的事。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

Olympic medals are handed out every two years. As the anthem plays and tears fall, the camera often focuses in on the medals—the gold one especially—and naturally, viewers are bound to wonder how much is that thing worth?

As with anything, a gold medal’s true value depends on your point of view. The organization that hands out medals may value them very differently than the individual who wins one. How much a collector is willing to pay for such a medal is a different animal altogether, as is how much the medal’s metal would be worth if it were melted down.

The point is, there are many different ways to value an Olympic gold medal. Let’s break it down.

The Scrap Value: $501

The first and easiest way of calculating the value of a Olympic gold medal is figuring what the metal is worth if one were melted down. Since the Mexico games in 1968, the medals have averaged 65.8 millimeters in diameter, 6.5 millimeters in thickness, and 176.5 grams in weight. London’s were the largest, at between 375 and 400 grams.

But gold medals aren’t made of gold, not entirely anyway. Only about six grams of each medal are 24-karat gold; the rest is sterling silver. (“Sterling” means 92.5% silver and the rest copper.) In today’s values, that makes the average gold medal worth around $366. London’s bigger golds are worth $501 nowadays. (At the high 2012 precious metals prices, the medals from London would have been worth around $777.)

What if gold medals really were solid gold? Wired calculated that a typical gold medal would weigh 3.35 pounds and be worth around $76,000 in terms of the pure value of the gold.

The Value to Collectors: $10,000 to Over $1 Million

Hundreds of gold medals are awarded during every Olympic games, and it’s inevitable that some athletes—who, more often than not, won’t get rich from their sport—wind up selling them. Medals are auctioned off fairly regularly, so there’s some hard data on what they’re worth to somebody who wants to buy one.

There is a wide variance in what medals sell for at auction. Boston-based RR Auction, which has sold many gold medals, told USA Today that an average price for a “common” gold medal—think archery or water polo, with no well-known athlete’s name attached—is about $10,000. Rarer, older medals can easily sell for much more. Browsing through RR Auction’s archives, there’s a January 2016 sale that included four gold medals, with prices from $47,746.83 for a gold from Chamonix 1924 to $10,114.83 for a Melbourne 1956 gold.

If a medal is gilded with publicity as well as the standard six or more grams of gold, the value equation is completely different, and auction prices can shoot through the roof. The only remaining medal of the original four won by Jesse Owens in 1936 sold for $1.47 million in 2013. One of the “Miracle on Ice” medals from the 1980 Team USA hockey team was expected to fetch $1.5 to 2 million, but it failed to sell at auction earlier this summer.

The Value of All That Time & Training: $100,000+

Another way to look at the value of a gold medal is how much it costs the participant just to have a chance at winning one. Olympic Hollywood fairytales are often big budget affairs. Specialized skills mean specialized training, coaching, and equipment—all of which can be enormously expensive.

Last Olympics, the New York Times reported that U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin’s parents dropped $100,000 per year on her sport. Olympic cyclist Bobby Lea has poured thousands upon thousands of dollars year after year for the chance to top the podium. Former speed skater Eric Flaim told MarketWatch that his sport cost his family at least $250,000, and he got a pair of silvers.

Every sport, athlete, and family has different amounts of “investment” needed, and it’s probably too difficult to calculate an average expenditure in a meaningful way due to the massive variance. Training full time, sacrificing studies and jobs, can have huge opportunity costs as well, as missing out on necessary education and prime years of work experience take tolls on later earnings.

Even if an average cost could be found, a second factor would render it relatively meaningless since you can’t guarantee a spot on an Olympic roster, let alone the top step of the podium. For every family that supports an gold medalist, there are thousands who never get within sniffing distance of the Olympics. Even a child of gilded Olympians furnished with full support of the state can’t guarantee a stuck landing. In the end, all the money spent on training, coaching, and competitions is the equivalent of a really expensive lottery ticket.

The Bonus Value: $25,000+

Jesse Owens once said, “I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals.” Still, Owens did make some money racing against horses and speaking about his accomplishments later in life, which he couldn’t have done if not for the fame and glory he earned by winning all those medals.

Nowadays, the U.S. Olympic Committee gives a $25,000 check to each American gold medal winner. But that’s just the start of what winning gold can earn for an athlete.

Just as there’s a wide spectrum for a medal loaded with history versus one earned in an overlooked skeet shooting competition, the prestige a medal bestows upon the winner depends on the sport and the back story of the event and its participants. A gold medal in a popular sport can mean million-dollar endorsements deals, commentating gigs, and more. But sports without vibrant business models and followings will prevent a gold medal from earning much beyond fame in a small niche community.

A gold medal is the pinnacle for Olympians. But given that there were 301 gold medals given out in London 2012, each with a different story for how it was won, it’s next to impossible to say what any given medal is truly worth.

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