What You Need to Know about Investing in Gold Medals

Gold coins and gold medals look pretty much alike, correct? They’re made of precious metal, they’re usually round, and are stamped with images of people and places. Yet despite those similarities, investing in medals is different from investing in coins. One big difference is that medals are usually minted by commercial mints, rarely by government agencies. A second difference is that medals are not created to be used as currency.

But there are other differences too, depending on the type of medals that you’re interested in collecting or recycling. Here are some things you should know.

Gold Commemorative Medals

These are medals produced to honor significant events. Over the years, they have been issued when presidents were inaugurated, when bridges were opened, when states reached their 100th anniversaries, when Popes came to America – and for many other occasions. If you search on eBay for the term “gold medal,” you will get an idea of what is out there.

 1981 Ronald Reagan Inaugural Medal, courtesy of InauguralMedals(dot)com.

1981 Ronald Reagan Inaugural Medal, courtesy of InauguralMedals(dot)com.

In many cases, commemorative medals were issued only in bronze and offer you no opportunity for gold investment. However, commemoratives have sometimes been minted in multiple editions; bronze, silver and gold versions are offered for sale at different prices. When Ronald Reagan was inaugurated, for example, commemorative medals were issued in those three metals. If you come across any commemoratives that seem to be gold, look for karat stampings to determine whether they are gold.

It is also important to consider collectible value. Like rare coins, some rare and significant commemoratives can have value to collectors that makes them worth more than the melt value of the metals they contain. But be aware of this: Gold-toned commemoratives that are being sold currently by commercial mints are usually plated with extremely thin layers of gold – not enough to be worth recycling.

Prize Gold Medals

For many years, gold medals have been awarded to the winners of marathons, public speaking contests, little league championships – you name it. For that reason, it is not possible to summarize what a so-called “gold medal” is really made of, or what it might be worth. If you find an old gold medal that was awarded at the Olympics, then you have something valuable. A gold medal from a spelling bee? It’s probably not worth anything at all, as you can tell with just one look.

Yet some older gold medals can be deceptive because they are gold-filled or gold- plated. If you acquire or own something and don’t know what it is worth, give us a call at and we will be happy to examine and analyze your gold for you.

Gold Religious Medals

This category of medallic art is really worth watching, because many religious medals are made of gold. You will also find religious medals that are gold-filled or gold-plated. (You’ll find silver medals too.) Some religious medals honor particular saints, shrines or events. Even very small gold religious medals can be worth a good deal of money if they are made of Karat gold, so look for stampings.

Not Sure What You Have? Give Us a Call

More gold could be hiding in medals than you realize. If you have some gold medals and would like to know what they are worth, give us a call at 800-426-2344 and speak with one of our experienced gold refiners.

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