The traditional phrase “worth your weight in gold” has been used since Roman times, and is a well-known saying signifying that someone or something is very valuable, helpful, or to be treasured.
But taken literally, what ‘value’ would a person be worth if they were worth their own weight in gold?
For a given gold price, the answer not surprisingly depends on the person’s weight, so a more suitable and relevant question might be what value would an average person be worth if they were worth their weight in gold?
Since average weight will vary by gender, a practical calculation would be to run two calculations, one for the average weight of a woman, and the other for the average weight of a man.
Looking at average weight data over regions of the world by male and female yields an average weight for a man of 78.5 kgs (173 lbs), and an average weight for a woman of 69 kgs (152 lbs).
Across the world, human weight data shows the regional averages for both genders from heaviest to lightest run as follows: North America, Oceania, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa. Taking simple averages of these regions for men and women, the average global weight for a man is 78.5 kgs (173 lbs), while the average weight for a woman is 69 kgs (152 lbs).
At a gold price of US $1350, a world average weight of 78.5 kgs (173 lbs) for a man would mean that the average adult male would weigh approximately 1993 troy ounces, and be valued at approximately US $ 3.4 million. Note that 1 kilo = 32.1507 troy ounces.
32.1507 troy ounces * 78.5 kgs = 2524 ozs = US $3.40 million
At the same gold price, a world average weight of 69 kgs (152 lbs) for a woman would mean that the average adult female would weigh approximately 2218 troy ounces, and would be valued at approximately US $3 million.
32.1507 troy ounces * 69 kgs = 2218 ozs = US $2.99 million
Overall, an average adult across the world weighs 2371 ozs, which at a gold price of US $1350 would be valued at US$3.2 million.
Most people will be familiar with the large gold bars that are stored in central bank gold vaults, such as the gold vaults of the Bank of England in London. These ‘Good Delivery’ gold bars are standard bars in the worldwide wholesale gold market, and although they are variable weight bars, each of these gold bars usually weighs in the region of 400 ozs. Assuming one of these gold bars weighs 400 ozs, then the average adult in our global weight calculation would weigh the equivalent of 5.92 good delivery bars. Let’s call it 6 Good Delivery gold bars, which would be a neat pyramid of 3 * 2 * 1 gold bars.
Similarly, when measured in terms of gold kilobars, the average adult from our calculation would weigh the equivalent of 74 gold kilobars.
Gold’s High Density
Density refers to the amount of mass (weight) in a given volume. Gold has a very high density, 19.3 g/cm3, which is higher than most other metals. As an example, a cubic centimetre of gold will weigh 19.3 grams. Gold’s density is also 19 times higher than water, which is why gold panning works, since the gold will sink to the bottom of the pan and separate from other materials.
Gold’s high density also explains why even a 1 ounce gold bar or 1 ounce gold coin will feel heavy when held in the hand, especially for people holding one of these gold bars or gold coin for the first time. It also explains why trying to lift up a 400 oz gold bar, especially with one hand, is a lot more challenging than it first looks.
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