The Orginal Six
Often considered the most recognizable icon of the game, the top hat
is also one of the original pieces created in 1935. The token was
based on the hat the game’s lead character, Mr. MONOPOLY, would wear. Of course, when the game was introduced, he was known as Rich Uncle Pennybags, and many have speculated the character was based on J.P. Morgan.
The piece of choice for reigning US MONOPOLY champion, Richard Marinaccio, the thimble is another of the original pieces from 1935.
Much like the top hat and shoe, the thimble has appeared in most
versions of the game that have been released.
Earlier this year, fans of MONOPOLY voted on a new token to add to the game. They also voted on which piece it would replace. With only 8% of the vote, the iron was the low man on the totem pole. Perhaps saddest to see it go is MONOPOLY World Champion, Bjorn Halvard Knappskog, who used the piece in his last championship match. The iron should have seen the writing on the wall, it was the second least popular piece in a 1998 vote.
Around since the beginning, the shoe is modeled after the practical work shoe of the 30’s. Instead of changing its design with the times, the Shoe
has remained the same and is a symbol of both hard work and the
riches that can come along with it.
The die-cast metal battleship token is actually somewhat of a game piece celebrity. The piece was originally used by Parker Brothers in a game
called “Conflict.” When that game failed it was easy enough for the
company to take the pieces and use them in MONOPOLY.
Since then, it has also been used in the game “Diplomacy” as well.
Often called the cannon even though rumor is the piece was supposed to be called the howitzer, this piece is closely tied to the battleship. The cannon was also used in “Conflict” and tossed in with MONOPOLY as that game failed. In 1946 it changed from its original design to the more recent long cannon style. Unlike most pieces, the cannon was simply dropped from the lineup without any kind of fan vote or campaign.
1935 & 1936
The car was added just a touch earlier than the other pieces in this section, appearing as the seventh token. The racecar steals its sharp looks from a 1930’s roadster. The original idea was to design the car token based on the car Mr. MONOPOLY would drive around.
It’s undergone a few variation changes through time and sported a “3”
on its side until sometime in the 1960’s.
The purse became the eighth playing piece to join the MONOPOLY family, and it has a bit of an odd history. It appeared and disappeared from sets beginning in 1935/1936 until it was finally retired in the early 50’s. Early on, the game pushed the limits expanding to 10 tokens (the purse being one of them) and then scaled back and continued to oscillate this way for years. The purse seemed to be thusly added and removed as these changes occurred.
Rocking Horse (Retired)
The rocking horse is one of the more hard to find pieces nowadays. It was only around from the 30’s to the 50’s and it didn’t appear in many editions of the game during that time.
The lantern is tied at the hip with the rocking horse. Both were added at the same time and removed in the 50’s when the Scottie dog, the wheelbarrow, and the horse and rider were added.
One of three new tokens added in the 1950’s, the Scottie Dog became Mr. MONOPOLY’s right hand-man/pup. The token has become the most loved of all the pieces and received the most
votes to keep it during the recent ousting of the Iron (29% of the vote to be precise).
Introduced in the 1950’s wave of token change, the wheelbarrow was one of the pieces that replaced the lantern, purse, and rocking horse. The wheelbarrow was included as an emblem of hard work and one of the prime tools needed to build the properties around the board. It barely survived the recent vote and is clearly not the most popular piece ever as it placed dead last in the vote in 1998.
Horse & Rider (Retired)
The horse & rider became a staple piece beginning in the early 50’s until it met
a similar fate as the cannon (being removed without much fanfare).
New in the
Sack of Money
The sack of money became the first new token added in over 40 years in 1999. It beat out the piggy bank (20% of the vote) and the bi-plane (29% of the vote) in a vote Hasbro ran to join the elite ranks by securing 51% of the vote of 1.5 million people.
Unfortunately for the sack of money, it was retired less than a
decade after it was introduced.
The winner of the vote earlier this year, the cat is the newest piece you’ll find if you purchase a new set. The cat defeated the diamond ring, a guitar, a toy robot, and the helicopter to find itself among the lot.