History for Sale: New Hampshire’s First Lottery Ticket, Circa: 1964, Goes On Auction Block


Photo is courtesy of Connecticut Lottery
Photo is courtesy of Connecticut Lottery

For those of you who’ve read the history section of my book, this won’t come as a surprise.

Colonial America was, in part, financed by legitimate lotteries. From the original settlers in Jamestown, Va. through the revolutionary years and beyond, money was raised for schools, roads, etc by lotteries.

It was only when graft and cheating was discovered that lotteries fell out of favor. And by the late 1800s, there was only one left, the Louisiana Lottery. It was a scam. People lost money and the owners of the lottery were eventually sent to jail.

Thus ended lotteries in America.

Until 1964 when the state of New Hampshire began a state run sweepstakes.

Now, you can own the first ticket ever…in modern lotteries. That first ticket, which was symbolically given to the state’s Governor.

Here is more of the story:

“We expect the sweepstakes will be proven at some future time to have been a tragic mistake,” The Union & Rockingham Gazete predicted in August, 1963. Four months earlier, the New Hampshire legistlature passed a bill making the state the first in the nation to have a legal lottery.

The entire nation was watching the day the first ticket was sold, on March 17, 1964, to then Governor John W. King.

KIng’s ticket is now up for auction.

People were outraged.  Reader’s Digest said the sweepstakes would mean moral bankruptcy for the state. Instead, a few years later, New York and New Jersey followed suit.

The rest is history. The auction begins at 6 p.m. June 26 at Big Guy Auctions, in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Previews begin at 3 p.m.


The June 16 Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated $46 million.

The June 17 Powerball jackpot is $72 million.

And Friday, June 19’s Euro Millions jackpot is back at 15 million euros, after there were two winners sharing last week’s 59 million euro jackpot.

Good luck players, around the world.


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