Lotteries are very popular with Americans. The lure of easy money is very enticing Đ there are plenty of stories of blue collar workers who hit the big jackpot and are suddenly rich, and white collar workers who can quit their jobs. But did you know that lottery tickets are popular with collectors as well? Some old lottery tickets are historic and even important.
Take the earliest lottery held in the United States Đ the Massachusetts Government Lottery begun in 1744. Tickets sold for this lottery are prized because they are a very early piece of Americana, and are signed by Samuel Watts and other directors of the lottery.
If you were there in 1744 and wanted to purchase a ticket, it would have cost you thirty shillings, but you would have had a 22% chance of being a winner. You would have gone to Faneuil Hall for the first drawing. This lottery was such a huge success that it inspired the other colonies to host their own lotteries.
Benjamin Franklin even organized lotteries. He held his to raise money for purchasing arms for the military arsenal. Many collectors seek this tickets because Franklin was one of America’s founding fathers.
You can even find tickets to the lottery held to fund the Revolutionary War. In November 1776, the Continental Congress authorized the establishment of the United States Lottery for this purpose. Early American history collectors prize these tickets, for obvious reasons.
Another famous historic lottery is the Mountain Road Lottery of 1768. This lottery was managed by George Washington Đ and the tickets from this lottery bear his autograph. For this reason, collectors also seek out these tickets.
In a recent auction, lottery tickets with Washington’s signature sold for more than $15,000 each. If you want a piece of history to display, you can get an authentic reprint for a fraction of this price, and they are still quite striking on display.
For collectors, the thrill of finding historic lottery tickets is significant. Maybe not as much of a thrill as winning millions, but it’s still quite a joy to find that ticket you’ve been searching for.