Every estimate out there assumes that [the Tower of Pimps] is made of 4 solid gold blocks one cubic meter in volume, however what they do not take into account is how those blocks are created… the blocks are each made of 9 gold bars/ingots. [T]his changes the value, so we could also use this to figure out what is more valuable, the ToP blocks or Michael's Diamond Sword.
FriscoFlame’s question is a two –parter: 1) how do we appraise the Tower of Pimps and once we do that 2) is it more expensive than Michael’s diamond sword? Before we run off and appraise the ToP, let’s figure out the price of our building materials.
The US Mint
states that one gold ingot has the dimensions of 7 in x 3.625 in x 1.75 in, meaning its volume is 12.375 in3. The Mint also states that a gold ingot weighs 400 ounces. With yesterday’s gold price
at $1252.73 an ounce, a gold ingot (or as I like to call it: the @Joel
401k special) costs $501,092.
We have a few options to value the ToP. We can assume each block is solid gold, use the Minecraft recipe of 9 ingots per block, or melt the gold down and just “paint” it onto the surface of a frame. We know that each block’s length is a meter (39.37 inches) which means the volume of a block is 61,023 in3. Scale for reference:
Put four of those together and you have 244,094 in3 of blocks that need filled with gold. With a gold ingot’s volume 12.375 in3, you’ll need 19,725 bars
to make a solid ToP which would cost you $9,883,903,517
(or 10% of all the goods and services
the city of Austin produced in 2013).
What about the Minecraft recipe? Minecraft uses 9 ingots per block, which would require 36 blocks. Given that 19,725 ingots are required to make a solid gold ToP, I’m assuming that the Minecraft universe is mixing the gold with other cheaper metals to fill that volume (or simply coat the outside of it). However it’s done, the 36 ingots will still cost $18,039,312
You might say “Gee James, that’s still pretty expensive. Is there a cheaper way?” Well, we could always try to “paint” the gold onto a ToP frame. Surely that’d be cheaper … right? First, let’s figure out the surface area. Since the blocks are stacked, the bottom three blocks only show 4 of their six sides, with the top block showing 5 sides. Converting the square meter sides to inches yields a total visible surface area of 669.29 in2. This site
suggests that one gallon of paint can cover 350 square feet (4200 square inches). If one gallon contains 231 in3 of liquid
, then it will take 0.055 in3 to cover 1 square inch of surface. Again, recalling that a gold bar’s volume is 12.375 in3, how many bars will @steffie
need to meltdown to paint 669.29 in2 of the ToP? 36.81
It would appear that the Minecraft recipe, whether it was intentional or not, is nearly the exact number of bars that would needed to paint the outside of the ToP. Now that’s a pretty awesome result.
We have our costs to build the ToP, but what about Michael’s sword? Diamond-tipped tools are used all the time, but those diamonds are artificially manufactured and are not naturally occurring. Furthermore, in Minecraft, the diamonds that are found are the polished jewels, so we’ll use those in our calculations. A poor quality (color, shape, clarity) 1.69 carat diamond costs
$5,630. The same diamond has a volume of 0.0379 in3. Assuming that we only coat the edge of the longsword, means we’ll only need to cover 35 inches
of it (if the whole sword was a diamond, it’d likely get crushed, but not scratched, in combat). We’d need 924 of those poor quality diamonds to cover the edge of the sword, which would cost $5,198,824.
To answer your question, FriscoFlame, the ToP, however you build it, will be more expensive than Michael’s diamond sword. As for @Geoff
, and @Lindsay
if you’re going to make a real ToP, I’d recommend just painting gold on the visible section (and maybe building it 1/100th scale). Don't forget to keep your questions coming! One week you may see your question answered!