Wilmington: R. France & Co., 1861. Broadside. 7 3/4" x 19" Fine condition. One horizontal crease from being folded in half along the vertical dimension.
A fantastic 1861 promotional handbill for a lottery to augment public finance. The Consolidated Lottery of Delaware was authorized by the legislature in January, 1859 as an act for the encouragement of internal improvements in the State of Delaware. This advertises Class 91 of the consolidated lottery, managed by R. France & Co. with E. N. Carr & Co. as agents.
The "Brilliant Scheme" as it is described, offers 76,076 tickets at $8 apiece, and promises to pay out 30,316 prizes totaling $365,678--the highest prize being $24,562.
Lotteries have a rich history in America as means to supplement government revenues, though as games of chance tending to sever the connection between wealth and work they were always viewed with moral suspicion. In fact by 1860, thirty of the then thirty-three states had outlawed lotteries all together, making this advertisement even more unusual. State lotteries did not reemerge until New Hampshire introduced a state lottery in 1964.
Printed by woodcut on thin, almost tissue-like paper, with ornamental border. A wonderful survivor and bold display piece illustrating an interesting approach to public finance.