Monopoly Man: The man, the myth, the monocle?

Mr Monopoly: The Monopoly Man

He’s an American icon known for his brashness and cheer. He’s inspired Halloween costumes for decades. He’s unabashedly wealthy. He’s… a fictional character on a board game box.  

That’s right. Somehow, a two-dimensional cartoon has the ability to capture people’s imagination with his style and personality — even if the latter is fabricated! 

Read on to learn more about Mr. Monopoly, also known as Rich Uncle Pennybags or the Monopoly Man, who’s been a board game fixture for generations.

  • Mr. Monopoly is a fictional character on a board game box. He’s an American icon known for his brashness and cheer, and he inspired Halloween costumes for decades.
  • Hasbro Entertainment began as a toy company with the introduction of Mr. Potato Head. They have expanded their reach internationally with toys, puzzles, sports, media, and other themed game offerings, including Monopoly.
  • The Monopoly Man is a character from the game Monopoly. He appears on all the boxes of the classic Monopoly game, cereal boxes, video games, and other Monopoly paraphernalia.
  • The Monopoly Man was designed by Daniel Fox, who in 2013 contacted a historian with family material proving her grandfather designed the timeless Monopoly mascot.
  • The Monopoly man symbolizes American businessmen, wealth, status, real estate dealings, capitalism, and greed.
Mr Monopoly: The Monopoly Man
Mr Monopoly: The Monopoly Man

A Man of Mystery

Everybody recognizes the Monopoly guy, but no one seems to know his story or even much about who he really is. It turns out that how we view Mr. Monopoly may be a false memory! Read on to find out more about this fascinating character and how he differs from our perception in actuality. 

Who Is the Monopoly Man? 

Hasbro Entertainment began as a toy company in the 1940s with the introduction of Mr. Potato Head. Soon following were GI Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, Twister, and many other fixtures of kids’ entertainment. 

In the nearly one century after its initial founding, the conglomerate has expanded its reach internationally with toys, puzzles, sports, media, and other themed game offerings. 

Among the most popular board games that Hasbro offers is Monopoly (originally from Parker Brothers), a notoriously time-consuming game and American family favorite. 

Monopoly displays wealth and real estate themes as players try to amass property and cash to force their competing players into poverty and out of the game. Many people think the board is based in New York City, but its names are actually from Atlantic City

Though he doesn’t appear on every box, the character of Mr. Monopoly (also called The Monopoly Man) offers his hand through the middle “O” of the game title in a grandiloquent gesture. He resembles a stereotypical businessman with a suit, top hat, and cane. This cartoon has been the mascot for the Monopoly game almost since its inception. 

Exuding prosperity and cheerful enthusiasm, Mr. Monopoly has appeared on the box lid of multiple variations of the classic game, as well as cereal boxes, video games, and various Monopoly paraphernalia. Another nickname for the character is “Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Who Designed Monopoly Man?

Artist Daniel Fox created the Monopoly Man. For decades, no one knew this, but in 2013, the artist’s granddaughter contacted a historian with family material proving her grandfather designed the timeless Monopoly mascot. 

Mr. Monopoly actually made his first appearance in a game by Parker Brothers that preceded Monopoly, called Rich Uncle. The familiar Rich Uncle Pennybags character appeared on the box lid, instructions, and game pieces.

It’s thought that the Monopoly Man is drawn as a caricature of American businessmen of the Progressive era, particularly the early-20th-century financier J.P. Morgan. His likeness has become synonymous with wealth, status, real estate dealings, capitalism, and greed. These are all symbols that make up the essence of the Monopoly game.

What Does the Monopoly Man Do?

who presents the accompanying directions. Sometimes he appears shocked, ecstatic, or engaging in some activity that illustrates the card’s intention. For example, on the Get Out of Jail Free card, he is depicted as sprouting wings and flying out of a barred prison cell.

Ultimately, the Monopoly Man doesn’t actually do much. You could play the game of Monopoly the same way without his persona involved in the game. In fact, he wasn’t added to the box or card artwork until 1936, a few years after the game was first invented.

Did the Monopoly Man Ever Have a Monocle?

The successful-businessman prototype has a stereotypical look in pop culture: top hat, suit, eyeglass, cane, and a stylish mustache. You’d think Mr. Monopoly, in his lavish wealth, would sport all of these.

Curiously, the Monopoly guy only shows a handful of the items we expect to see. His iconic bushy white mustache is there, along with a spiffy suit and red bowtie. However, there’s nothing else on his face besides that mustache.

Did the Monopoly Man Have Glasses? 

The Monopoly Man did not ever sport glasses. We find neither monocle nor any sort of eyewear on the face of Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Strange what connections the brain can make with what it expects, even when it’s not there to be found! It’s known as the Mandela Effect. This phenomenon occurs when the public believes something to be true that never happened.

Does Monopoly Man Have a Cane? 

The Monopoly Man does have a cane. On some of the Community Chest cards, Mr. Monopoly is drawn using his cane to steady himself, express jubilant celebration, or hurl it into the air in outrage. 

Is Monopoly Man the Pringles Guy? 

Monopoly Man and Pringles Guy are not the same characters, but they do bear a resemblance! This resemblance is likely due to the beady eyes and signature handlebar mustache (though Monopoly’s is white and Pringles’ is brown). Contrary to popular memory, neither one sports a monocle. 

The public may mix up Mr. Monopoly and the Pringles man with Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters brand nuts, who also wears a top hat and carries a cane. Mr. Peanut does wear a monocle.

Who Has More Money: the Monopoly Man or Scrooge McDuck? 

Sorry, Mr. Monopoly, but Scrooge is the winner when it comes to money! In multiple Richest Fictional Character lists from Forbes over the years, Scrooge McDuck repeatedly edges out his competitors, with a net worth of over $44 billion. 

While the Monopoly Man also makes the Top 10 thanks to his real estate savvy, his wealth is only a fraction of Scrooge’s, placed somewhere between $2 and $3 billion. 

Other characters on the list? Tony Stark, Bruce Wayne, Richie Rich, and even Smaug the dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit.

Also read: 5 Monopoly Jail Rules You Must Know

The Man Revealed

It’s amazing how a cartoon character so recognizable remains such a mystery to the general public. In a testament to effective marketing and advertising strategies, most Americans today know the look of Rich Uncle Pennybags, even if they’ve never played Monopoly! 

Now that we’ve delved into the history and culture of the Mr. Monopoly mascot, it helps understand his appeal. Indeed he will persist as a prominent figure in American folklore for many years to come.

Sometimes, even my friends call me ‘Mr Monopoly’ (because of all the editions I have and I can’t stop talking about it!) – however, I certainly don’t look like him!

Monopoly Costume Ideas
The Monopoly Man

Final Thoughts

  • Monopoly Man presents accompanying directions to players and is sometimes seen sprouting wings, flying out of a barred prison cell, or engaging in some activity that illustrates the card’s intention.
  • The successful businessman prototype has a stereotypical look in pop culture, but Mr. Monopoly only shows one of the items: his mustache.
  • The Monopoly Man did not ever wear glasses, but the Mandela Effect made the public believe that he did.
  • Monopoly Man and Pringles Guy may be confused with Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters brand nuts, but the latter does not wear a monocle.
  • The richest fictional character is Scrooge McDuck with a net worth of over $44 billion, beating out the likes of Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Richie Rich, and even Smaug the dragon from The Hobbit.
  • In a testament to effective marketing and advertising strategies, Rich Uncle Pennybags remains a mystery to the general public even if they’ve never played Monopoly.

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