03/28/2008 02:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Melt Your Oscar For Cash

The glitter on the central figure at this year's academy awards ceremony has never been so costly.

With gold at an all-time high, the price of each gilded Oscar to be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Feb. 24 has jumped to a record $500 from $400 last year, academy spokeswoman Teni Melidonian said.

``The skyrocketing price of gold has definitely made things more expensive,'' said Scott Siegel, president of Chicago-based R.S. Owens & Co., which makes the statues.

The 13 1/2-inch Oscar won't be the only piece of glitz at the jewelry-studded event whose value has soared. An ounce of gold rose about 40 percent, reaching $950, in the past year as surging prices of commodities including oil boosted the metal's appeal as a hedge against inflation. While the statuettes are only plated with gold, they can be worth a fortune to their winners, said Kenneth August, a media and entertainment specialist at accounting firm Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

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