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How much is an Olympic gold medal actually worth?

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How Much Is an Olympic Gold Medal Worth?

If you thought Olympic athletes could one day hawk their gold medals to live a life of luxury once their sponsorship deals had dried up, then think again -- the coveted prizes are barely worth anything.

When medals first replaced trophies in 1904, it only took about ten years before manufacturers realized that solid gold medals were way too expensive to make.

Thus, they started mixing in metal fillers -- such as second place silver -- to bring production costs down.

Even though Rio's 2016 gold medals are purer than ever, they'll still barely contain any of the precious metal -- made by the Brazilian Mint, they'll weigh 500 grams (mostly silver) and contain only six grams of gold.

With the current price of gold, this makes the top prize at most Olympic games worth only about $600, as compared to more than $20,000 for the solid gold medals of the past.

Hopefully, no Olympians ever need to pursue a "cash for gold" scenario with their medals -- not only because they're not worth all that much, but also because that would just be plain sad.

Here's how an Olympic gold medal is made:

24 PHOTOS
Making an Olympic gold medal
See Gallery
Making an Olympic gold medal
The Rio 2016 Olympic medals are pictured at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) takes out gold-plated Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A sculptress from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal at her computer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
Nelson Carneiro, craftsman from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal mold in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
Nelson Carneiro, craftsman from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) works on the Rio 2016 Olympic medal mold in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) puts plates to prepare the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) pours molten metal into a mold to prepare the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) cleans a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) cleans a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) takes out gold-plates Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) takes out gold-plated Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A machine works on a Rio 2016 Olympic medal at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) checks a Rio 2016 Paralympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepare Rio 2016 Olympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepares Rio 2016 Olympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
Workers from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepare Rio 2016 Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
Workers from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepare the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) shows a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepares Rio 2016 Olympic medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
A worker from the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) prepares a Rio 2016 Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
The Rio 2016 gold Olympic medal is pictured at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
The Rio 2016 silver Olympic medal is pictured at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
The Rio 2016 bronze Olympic medal is pictured at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil (Brazilian Mint) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes
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