ICONS ARE BETTER #59: THE MONOPOLY ‘TOP HAT’
Monopoly. The game of games. The elder statesman.
Everyone loves Monopoly. Everyone played Monopoly. What’s the most iconic element of Monopoly? I think it has to be the pieces.
Everyone had a favourite. A lucky one. The one that you’d always want to be and that your annoying sibling or irritating aunty decided they just “had to have”.
I know you remember them. The Boot. The Iron. The Top Hat (fave!) and the Thimble. These were the original line-up, the Fab Four, from 1935.
The sportscar and the Scottie Dog came much later – so I’m choosing to ignore them. They can have deputy-Icon status.
So they qualify beautifully as icons. Simple. Original. Remarkable. Powerful symbolism (wealth, striving, hard work, domesticity) – and most importantly, they engender loyalty beyond any sort of logic. You’d sulk for AT LEAST three minutes if you didn’t get the one you wanted whilst ignoring the pleas that “it didn’t matter”.
And the best one? It’s got to be the Top Hat, right? It was a symbol of the original game mascot, Mr Monopoly. It represented the rich uncle, and rumour has it that the character was modeled on none other than J.P Morgan!
The boot represented hard work. I’m not sure what the iron represented but it was probably something horribly un-PC from the thirties about domesticity. Recently the iron was actually voted out (travesty! No one asked me) of the set, but no one will ever get rid of the Top Hat.
The most powerful icon within the most famous board game on the planet. Deserving of true icon status.
Kevin Chesters – Executive Planning Director