One of my closest friends is a Monopoly collector. She has like a gazillion versions of the game, including vintage and digital ones. I remember when we were walking down the Strip with a “Las Vegas” version in our possession. Some random dude yelled at us, “Hey, what are you going to do? Go back to your hotel room and play that? You’re in a city full of games.” How right you are, sir. And I think directly after that incident we bumped into an “Old Elvis” and the rest is Las Vegas history…well, if Vegas actually had a history. Anyway, I hope my friend never buys this next Monopoly.
At the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History there’s a Monopoly game made of 18-karat solid gold and encrusted with priceless jewels worth 2 million dollars. The set of dice is worth 10,000 dollars alone. Why so much, you ask? Well, the number dots aren’t just regular old dots, but full-cut diamonds. 165 gemstones make up the properties on the board, while the “Chance” and “Community Chest” cards have been photo-etched. The Smithsonian received the game as one of twenty jeweled art objects from the personal collection of world-renowned artist and jeweler Sidney Mobell. Last fall the Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, had a Monopoly tournament to celebrate the special Monopoly becoming part of a temporary display at their Wall Street location. So what happens if you land on Free Parking? House rules say I get to take this baby home…I could pay off more than a few bills with the diamonds and buy a house with that gold.
P.S. Making expensive board games is totally a thing. Who knew?