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||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:
- $1,508 – value of gold per troy ounce on 12/29/19
- $4,400 – my guess – Estimate of price of silver and gold in Viking Age
- $8,000 – my guess – What was the price of gold in 1522 in relation to today’s dollar
In the avoirdupois system there are 16 ounces in a pound and 2,000 pounds in a ton, so there are 32,000 ounces in a ton. As a reminder, I’m using avoirdupois instead of troy because for large weights, we all think in avoirdupois weights.
Using those prices gives the following wild guesses on the value of the horses, chariots, shields, and one set of place settings:
|2019 AD:||1000 AD:||1522 AD:|
|$ 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.