Souvenir of £90m jackpots

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The Independent Online
A poster to be auctioned by Phillips next month has revealed that today's lottery jackpots are small change compared with the prizes that were on offer in 1787.

Then there were two jackpots of £20,000 - equivalent in today's money to £90.9m.

The poster, to be auctioned on 9 February, is headed "English State-Lottery, 1786. Begins drawing February 12, 1787". It is estimated to fetch £80-£100.

Prizes advertised include 3 at £10,000 (equivalent to £45.5m each), 5 at £5,000 (£22.7m), 10 at £2,000 (£9m), 15 at £1,000 (£4.5m), 30 at £500 (£2.3m), and 100 at £100 (£454,500). Tickets cost six pence each, £113 in today's terms.

The first English lottery was held by Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 to finance the Virginia Colony. Others funded schemes such as Westminster Bridge and the British Museum. In 1826Treasury officials ran off with all the prize money.