While not exactly numismatic, early lottery tickets are an interesting adjunct to collections of early paper money. Often printed by the same firms using the same technology as paper money, they provide a fascinating glimpse into the colonial era. This item in the February 26, 2022 Early American History Auctions sale is a ticket that helped fund a failed Philadelphia-area infrastructure project.
January 1, 1796-Dated Federal Period, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
CANAL LOTTERY, No. Two. (for the Schuylkill & Susquehanna, and Delaware & Schuylkill Canal Company), Winning Ticket with
$100 Doll written on its face and winner's names on back, Choice Extremely Fine.
A historic ornately typeset bordered early Federal Period Lottery Ticket. It measures 2.25 x 5.5 printed on fresh, bright clean white laid period paper. It is from Philadelphia, is Signed, (Timothy)
Matlack as secretary which is cross cancelled as the Ticket was paid. It is hand noted
100 Doll (dollars) at upper right and $100 at upper left, indicating the winner's amount in the drawing.
The Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Company was a limited liability corporation founded in Pennsylvania on September 29, 1791. Vignette of a Sailing Ship, Plow and Sheaf of Wheat within an oval in the left indent border. A choice piece of Early American lottery history that has a near invisible standard cut cancel at left and appears bold in print and near new. The last
winning example of this Lottery we offered was in our EAHA Auction of July 9, 2016, Lot 195, which sold for $480. A great looking Colonial era lottery ticket.
The Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Company was a limited liability corporation founded in Pennsylvania on September 29, 1791. This project became the goal of the Society for the Improvement of Roads and Inland Navigation organized in 1789 with preeminent, Revolutionary Wartime financier Robert Morris as president, David Rittenhouse, William Smith and John Nicolson. The Society petitioned the PA. General Assembly to again survey the river routes, only this time the State acted upon the recommendations.
The company was founded for the purpose of improving river navigation which in the post-colonial United States era of the 1790s meant improving river systems, not canals. In this Pennsylvania scheme, however, two rivers, a large river, the Susquehanna and a smaller one, the Schuylkill were to be improved by clearing channels through obstructions and building dams where needed. To connect the two watersheds, the company proposed a four-mile summit level crossing at Lebanon Pennsylvania, a length of almost eighty miles between the two rivers.
The completed project was intended to be part of a navigable water route from Philadelphia to Lake Erie and the Ohio valley.
The lot description has more information on the history of the doomed project. Of course, at the time its proponents were hopeful that the engineering challenges could be overcome, and had it succeeded it could have greatly impacted the city's fortunes.
To read the complete lot description, see:
Canal Lottery $100 Winning Lottery Ticket
Wayne Homren, Editor
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