Global markets are rapidly recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, and so are the fortunes of the fictitious. There are six new characters on the 2010 edition of Fictional 15, Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of fiction's richest, with an average net worth of $7.3 billion. In aggregate, the nine returning members are worth $79.8 billion, up 9% since last year. Topping the list this year is newcomer Carlisle Cullen, patriarch of the Cullen coven of vampires in the Twilight series of novels. Cullen, age 370, has accumulated a fortune of $34.1 billion. Low-key and undead, Cullen has spent recent years posing as a mortal doctor in a small town in Washington State.
Also new to this year's list is the British railroad tycoon Sir Topham Hatt ($2 billion) made famous by television's Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends. Sir Topham Hatt boasts the world's largest collection of vintage steam engines, which are the main mode of transport on Sodor, the island off the coast of Britain where he owns almost every square inch of property. Pride of his collection: a blue London, Brighton and South Coast Railway tank engine called Toby and a 4-6-2 LNER A1 called Gordon.
Uncle Sam is the highest profile drop-off this year. The frontiersman and former US Army recruitment officer had the largest net worth swing in Fictional 15 history, from an estimate of "infinite" last year to less than a billion today. Fictional 15 perennials Scrooge McDuck ($33.5 billion) and Jed Clampett ($7.2 billion) had banner years, reflecting surging gold and oil prices respectively. Only Richie Rich ($11.5 billion) and Thurston Howell III ($2.1) billion have seen their fortunes decline over the past year.
To qualify for the Fictional 15, Forbes requires that candidates be an authored fictional creation. They must star in a specific narrative work or series of works. And they must be known, both within their fictional universe and by their audience, for being rich. Net worth estimates are based on an analysis of the fictional character's source material, and valued against known real-world commodity and share price movements. In the case of privately held fictional concerns, we sought to identify comparable fictional public companies. All prices are as of market close, April 12, 2010.
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Photo from Creative Commons: Flickr: Daniel Y Go