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A Jeweler's Monopoly on Game Bling

Sidney Mobell calls himself a showman. And that's right on the mark, considering that the 84-year-old jeweler is the creator of a $2 million, gold-plated Monopoly game, on display at New York's Museum of American Finance through October 2012.

The game, on loan from the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, weighs 32 pounds and is covered with 165 gemstones. The cards are 23-karat gold-plated, and the tokens and dice are solid 18-karat gold.

In 1986, Mobell says, he called the game's manufacturer, Parker Brothers, and offered to make a commemorative set for a Monopoly world championship. "Photo-etching the cards was tough," he says.

Mobell, who owned a San Francisco jewelry store for more than 30 years, has created other whimsical pieces, including a 14-karat gold-and-diamond mousetrap. So where does he get ideas? "Who knows?" says the fan of art deco artist-designer Erté. "I think of something as I go to sleep, and write it down before I forget."

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