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Characterization of the YBa2Cu3O7–Au composite at room temperature has been performed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Measured spectra on the chemically etched surfaces have been found to be representative of the bulk material. Analysis of the core-level spectra of copper indicated the contribution of the Cu(3+) valence state in the samples. The core-level spectra of gold showed the Au valence state to be between 1+ and 2+. The incorporated gold atoms had no influence on the level positions of the other constituents of the material.