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One of the things which has puzzled me since my childhood are the prison numbers of the Beagle Boys:

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(source: Wikipedia)

They all start with 176- followed by a permutation of those digits. The Wikipedia page mentions that these numbers were first applied to the third generation of Beagle Boys and not always consistently, but all comics I have read did use the 176 numbering scheme.

Is there any significance in the number 176 or the digits 1, 6, 7? Did Carl Barks chose those numbers for any particular reason? Maybe there was no specific reason, but there might be an in-universe explanation for these numbers out there.

  • His wife at the time was Clara Barks. She was born on the 17th of May, 1898. – Valorum Apr 21 at 16:41
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    If it had only been the 17th of June ... – Glorfindel Apr 21 at 16:44
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    I was thinking that it might be referring to a provision of the California Penal Code (the way hip hop uses "187" as slang for "murder", but §176 is repealed nowadays and used to refer to "Omission of Duty by Public Officer", so that's unlikely to be the explanation. – microtherion Apr 21 at 17:09
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    Voted to leave open,didn't we agree some time ago that all Ducktales were on-topic? – Jenayah Apr 21 at 17:33
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    @Jenayah - Yes we did – Valorum Apr 21 at 18:26
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There doesn't appear to be any particular significance to the "176" itself. Carl Barks appears to have used it differentiate them, since they were basically identical in every other way, and seldom given names. Some later comics used anagrams of the 176 prefix as well

The three most common numbers are 176-167, 176-671, and 176-761. Carl Barks used to include the words "Beagle Boys Inc" on their shirts under their numbers, but this was later discontinued. In later years, they appeared in the comics as a trio (some combination of the most common numbers with 671-176, 716-617 and 176-176), plus cousins and other relatives of various talents.

Only Blackheart Beagle has a number that doesn't fit 176 the mold (186-802).

The Ducktales TV series was the first time we saw any differentiation. In keeping with Barks' trope, all of them (except Ma Beagle) had 176 number plaques. Unlike the comics, they were also differentiated by body type

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    Actually the Beagleboys did have names in Ducktales. The short one was called Bigtime, The untidy one was Baggy, The hungry one Burger and the big one Bouncer. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_Boys – Bjorn Eriksson Apr 21 at 21:34
  • @BjornEriksson Edited. Thanks – Machavity Apr 22 at 2:16

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