More US Money is Printed Than MONOPOLY Money
By Chad Upton | Editor
I was reading a recent story on cnbc.com and one “fact” seemed particularly unbelievable. It stated that each year, Parker Brothers prints more MONOPOLY money than the US government prints real currency. They even went so far as to say, “You can bet your little, old shoe that money fact is true!”
CNBC, I will take your bet.
In my attempt to track down the truth, I found that this myth is very wide spread. It’s not just CNBC, dozens of other sites make the same claim. I’m not sure where all of these sites got their info, but I like to go to the source.
The US bureau of Engraving and Printing is responsible for printing paper currency in the US. Their website has a page that details exactly how much currency has been printed each year since 1980. It’s very detailed and includes 4 years when $2 bills were printed, totaling about 500 million $2 bills printed since 1980.
Another interesting fact appears at the bottom of that page: 26 million currency notes are printed each day, with a face value of approximately $974 million. In fact, CNBC has this fact on their page too. Although, they quote it as per year rather than per day. I will give them a bit of credit here, the sentence is confusing and could be interpreted as “per year”, but a quick scan of the page can easily correct that interpretation. For example, more than 974 million $1 bills were printed in 2010. Even more $100 bills were printed. So, it can’t be a per year number.
In 2009, the US government printed a total of $2.1 trillion and in 2010 it was just over $2.0 trillion. That’s a lot of money and 95% of it replaces old money that is worn out.
Next, I tracked down how much money Parker Brothers, a subsidiary of Hasbro, has printed. They started making MONOPOLY in 1935. Until 1998, $15,140 worth of MONOPOLY money was included in each game; current editions include $20,580.
Hasbro states that 250 million copies of MONOPOLY have been sold since 1935 (in 103 Countries and 37 languages). They’ve sold an average of 3.3 million copies per year. If we use the current edition, that would mean they print $67.7 billion during an average year.
At $2 trillion per year, the US government prints much more money than Parker Brothers. In fact, a few years of US currency printing exceeds all 76 years of Parker Brothers printing.
On the other hand, the US mint produces 14-20 billion coins per year. They don’t give a breakdown of the denominations, so it’s impossible to calculate the exact dollar value. Perhaps this myth started as a comparison to the number of coins the US Mint makes each year.