Traditionally, medals are made of the following metals, in order of decreasing value:
- Silver, or silver-gilt, which is in fact used for Olympic "gold medals"
- Bronze or gilt-bronze
- Pewter or lead
- Brass or other metals
Many medals were and are made in several different metals, either representing awards for different places in a competition, or standards or classes, as with the Olympic medals, or simply different price levels for medals made for sale or donation by the commissioner. Medals have historically been given as prizes in various types of competitive activities, especially athletics. The gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals for first, second and third places were first used at the 1904 Summer Olympics. At the 1896 event, silver was awarded to winners and bronze to runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals. The medals for the London 2012 Summer Olympics are the largest ever, reflecting a trend for increasing size in Olympic medals.
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Famous quotes containing the word metals:
“As in digging for precious metals in the mines, much earthy rubbish has first to be troublesomely handled and thrown out; so, in digging in ones soul for the fine gold of genius, much dullness and common-place is first brought to light.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)
“When human beings have been fascinated by the contemplation of their own hearts, the more intricate biological pattern of the female has become a model for the artist, the mystic, and the saint. When mankind turns instead to what can be done, altered, built, invented, in the outer world, all natural properties of men, animals, or metals become handicaps to be altered rather than clues to be followed.”
—Margaret Mead (19011978)