Other eras

A wild guess on the parts of King Solomon’s wealth that can be quantified – part 4

What would that stack of gold have been worth 1,000 or 3,000 years ago? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Let’s try bringing together the previous guesses (can’t even call them estimates) of the value of those portions of King Solomon’s wealth that are mentioned in scriptures which we can make a feeble attempt to quantify.

An estimate of the value of chariots, horses, 200 large gold shields, 300 small gold shields, and place settings made of gold:

                1,760 talents of silver value of chariots and horses
                  220 talents of gold value of chariots and horses
                    70 talents of gold 200 large & 300 small gold shields
 unknown tack for 2,800 chariot horses and 12,000 Cavalry horses
 unknown armament for 1,400 charioteers and 12,000 cavalrymen
 unknown gold throne
 unknown fleet of trading ships (quantity unknown)
                      3 talents of gold a few dozen place settings
                  293 guess on talents of gold for only above items
                26.92 ratio of talents into tons
                10.88 tons of gold guess on tons of gold


The string of wild guesses gives a point estimate of 293 talents of gold or 10.9 tons of gold expressed in avoirdupois weight, not troy weight.

Note that excludes the value of all the tack to outfit the horses, all the armaments for the charioteers and cavalrymen, gold throne, and an unknown number of expensive ships.

Gold in the past was far more valuable in relative terms than it is today. Here is current value and a few of my estimates for the distant past:

In the avoirdupois system there are 16 ounces in a pound and 2,000 pounds in a ton, so there are 32,000 ounces in a ton. As a reminder, I’m using avoirdupois instead of troy because for large weights, we all think in avoirdupois weights.

Using those prices gives the following wild guesses on the value of the horses, chariots, shields, and one set of place settings:

2019 AD: 1000 AD: 1522 AD:
 $   1,508  $   4,400  $   8,000 gold price/ounce
       10.9        10.9        10.9 guess on tons of gold
  348,800   348,800   348,800 guess on ounces of gold
 $      526  $   1,535  $   2,790 guess on gold value, in millions


So, that small part of King Solomon’s wealth for which we have enough information to try quantifying may have been worth somewhere in the range of $1.5 billion up to $3.0 billion.

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