There’s no doubt that Americans love lotteries. There is a long history of lottery in the United States, which is hardly surprising considering the lure of easy money. We all wish we were the blue collar worker who hit it big and is now retiring in Hawaii. For some people, even a losing lottery ticket can bring excitement Ð because for some collectors of historic artifacts, lottery tickets are valuable collectibles.
Take the earliest lottery held in the United States Ð 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. Data SGP
Each ticket cost thirty shillings at the time of sale. Twenty-five thousand tickets were sold. The odds of winning were quite good Ð around 22% — and the first drawing was held in Faneuil Hall. It was such a resounding success that other colonies decided to hold their own lotteries.
Another historical lottery ticket that is avidly sought by collectors is a ticket to one of Benjamin Franklin’s lotteries held to raise money to build the young country’s military arsenal. Franklin is one of the founding fathers, and these tickets associated with him are quite prized.
There was even a lottery to help finance the Revolutionary War. In November of 1776, the Continental Congress authorized the United States Lottery for this purpose. It’s hardly surprising that collectors of early American artifacts love to add these tickets to their collections.
Collectors are perhaps even more excited by the prospect of finding a ticket to the Mountain Road Lottery of 1768. This lottery was managed by George Washington, and his autograph is on each ticket.
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.
The excitement of collecting lottery tickets may not compare to the excitement of actually winning the lottery, but it is still pretty neat for collectors who enjoy this hobby.