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Not Just Monopoly Money: Some Games Ship With Real Cash In France

Hasbro is marking the 80th anniversary of its classic Monopoly game in France by issuing real money in some game sets.
Erica Brough
Gainesville Sun/Landov
Hasbro is marking the 80th anniversary of its classic Monopoly game in France by issuing real money in some game sets.

To mark 80 years of Monopoly, game-maker Hasbro has tucked real money into 80 game sets to be sold in France. The amount of cash in the boxes varies; only one set will come with the equivalent of the Monopoly bank.

Finding the 20,580 euros will be a challenge. Hasbro is putting a sticker on 30,000 boxes of the game to announce that they might contain real cash. The company says it sells about 500,000 of the sets in France each year.

While only one game box will include the equivalent of about $23,500, the 79 others will include hundreds of euros mixed in with the colorful Monopoly money.

"We wanted to do something unique," Hasbro France Brand Manager Florence Gaillard tells Agence France-Presse. "When we asked our French customers, they told us they wanted to find real money in their Monopoly boxes."

Gaillard adds that the money was put into the boxes during a secret operation — but Hasbro says that people hunting for the real money could look for two possible hints: The real cash gives the Monopoly boxes a different weight, and it also makes the box bulge a bit.

In the U.S., Hasbro is releasing a special 80th-anniversary edition that includes a range of game tokens such as a lantern (1930s), cannon (1950s) and bathtub (1940s).

As many Monopoly fans know, its roots began much earlier than 1935, as Elizabeth Magie patented The Landlord's Game in 1904. And contrary to its current reputation, the game "was used to demonstrate how property owners could bankrupt their poor renters," NPR's Planet Money reported.

Back in 2002, NPR's Juan Williams reported that The Landlord Game was based on several economic ideas, including "the virtues of the Single-Tax Movement" put forth by Henry George in 1871.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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