|By Matthew D. Ernst
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Scrap metal drives claimed many flatirons during World War II. Now the iron token will be scrapped from MONOPOLY, the result of a recent Facebook poll conducted by Hasbro, manufacturer of the iconic game.
“I am sure some people loved the Iron token, but in the larger scale, it was probably the least favorite token,” said David Christopher, who maintains the website monopolycollector.com. Voting never heated up for the iron. It received 8 percent of the vote, the least of any token.
But the iron was not without its supporters, including Kevin McCartney: college professor, iron collector and proprietor of the Old Iron Inn, Presque Isle, Maine.
“The Monopoly iron served as an important historical reminder of a common household item with a long history that is being forgotten in these days of permanent press,” he said. “Their loss on the Monopoly board removes what might be argued as perhaps the most visible reminder of old irons in our society.”
Besides collectors, flatirons are only prominent today among groups like the Amish who are unlikely to cast votes for the iron by social media. Supporters of the wheelbarrow and shoe tokens, on the other hand, pressed social media users to get out the vote so those tokens would not face retirement. Ames True Temper, Inc., a garden tool manufacturer, produced online videos endorsing the wheelbarrow; Zappos, the online shoe retailer, urged its social media audience to vote shoe.
The vote has little or no impact on collectors, said David Christopher, who keeps a collection of some 3,000 Monopoly items.
“Sure, there will be people trying to sell their old token from the 1970s as an ’out-of-print’ item worth money, but millions of these were produced, and they will never really become rare or have any value,” he said.
There is a market for metal Monopoly tokens produced before World War II, said Christopher. Also desirable among Monopoly collectors are war-era tokens made from cardboard or a paper composite material. Tokens were also made from wood for a brief period after the war, before Monopoly’s manufacturer returned to metal tokens.
An entire set of World War II Monopoly cardboard tokens in good condition, according to Christopher, sells for about $40. Paper composite tokens fetch slightly more, about $60 for a set in good condition. In addition to Monopoly collectors, who usually desire complete token sets or complete games, some collectors of press irons seek out the pre-war metal iron tokens.
Lynn Rosack, a Florida trivet collector and author who emailed her online Trivet Collectors Network to get out the vote for the iron, understands the iron’s demise.
“I was disappointed, but retiring the iron was not totally unexpected,” she said. “How many people even own an iron anymore?”
Rosack found some solace in the iron’s replacement. “If a replacement had to be chosen, I’m happy it’s the cat.” she said, noted Facebook users voted a cat to replace the retired token.
Cat tokens will be added to Monopoly sets shipped later this year, giving players a new choice to chase the Scottie dog, the token voted most popular in the Facebook campaign.