This coming July 15th at Luzhniki Stadium, only one team will win the iconic FIFA World Cup trophy, deemed as the most valuable trophy in the world of sports. Made of 18 carat gold and weighing 13.2 pounds, you probably want to ask out loud, “is it really worth that much?”
Back in 1971, the year the trophy was completed by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, it was valued at US$50,000. But in a 2010 Sports Pro feature article, the value of the same trophy soared to US$10 million. Eight years later and the trophy’s estimated value doubled, at US$20 million, according to USA Today.
Let’s leave historical and artistic valuation to the experts for now and talk for a minute about melt value. Melt value simply refers to the monetary value of an item based on the precious metal it contains. In other words, it’s a more tangible way of assessing an object’s worth.
For example, what if someone steals FIFA’s trophy today? (This actually happened, by the way, in March 1966 prior to that year’s World Cup competition, the Jules Rimet Trophy went missing and was only found later by a collie dog named Pickles.)
So, going back to melt value, what if someone stole and tried to sell the pure gold in the trophy? How much would it sell for? Well, if the stealing and selling happened in 2010, the trophy’s gold would sell for about US$187,761. After all, it was the year when an ounce of gold was worth $1,420.25.
In 2017, however, the gold price per ounce was lower, at $1,261.67, so the trophy’s estimated monetary worth would be about US$166 796.28. It’s not much, right? It pales in comparison to the salaries of the world’s highest-paid football players.
So why do footballers work so hard to get a hold of it and raise it for the world to see? There’s probably immense historic value stored in this piece. In fact, it’s immeasurably valuable that none of the current and future winners could take it home.
That’s right. The winners only get to bring home a replica of the original trophy.
So much trouble for something that’s not even real, right? Well, yes and no. Wait until you hear about the prize money for the winning team. Have you bought tickets to the World Cup?