Alexandria Library, Special Collections Document of the Month

This month's exhibit features lottery tickets and circulars from 1847. Lottery proprietors published advertisements for the different games they offered, and players could purchase the tickets directly from them. Both of the tickets shown here were obtained through the mail — we can assume that neither of them were winners!

It is interesting to note that, although the drawing took place in Alexandria, the money from ticket sales went to internal improvements in Washington, DC. In 1847, Alexandria had just returned to Virginia after spending almost fifty years as part of Washington. Also, the top prize of $100,000 in one of the drawings would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000,000 in today's money. Not a bad payday for the winner!

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The lottery owners mailed this ticket to the customer along with a circular advertising their drawings.
A ticket for another drawing and two circulars advertising more drawings.

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