Among the 16 Community Chest cards in the legendary Monopoly board game is one that features a beaming Rich Uncle Pennybags wearing the sash of a beauty pageant participant and holding a large bouquet of flowers. "You have won second prize in a beauty contest!" declares the card. "Collect $10."

The person who picks up said card upon landing on a Community Chest square is then given $10 from the bank.

The card has remained unchanged in the original ("classic") Monopoly game since 1936; in the game's first incarnation the cash prize was an uneven $11.

The decision to make the card a second-place win rather than first-place could have been made for many reasons. For one thing, it's one of the few Chance/Community Chest cards that involves monetary compensation for something otherwise unbusiness-like (compare with stock funds maturing or being elected chair of the board). And besides, Rich Uncle Pennybags isn't exactly the most attractive dude.

In the Monopoly: Here and Now Edition released in 2007, "you have won second prize in a beauty contest! Collect $10" has been replaced with "You have won second prize on a reality TV show! Collect $100,000." Some would say that, modern as though it is, it doesn't have quite the same charm.

The original card has been the butt of a handful of jokes, usually involving the person who draws the card reading it out loud and collecting his or her money, and someone else remarking sarcastically that it was a one-person beauty contest. Zing. The aforementioned joke was made once on 3rd Rock from the Sun, and every time I draw that card when playing Monopoly with my sister.



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