Lottery Games


1860? "Loto des Fables de LaFontaine." Twenty-four stiff 4½" x 7¼" cards using illustrations after those of J.J. Grandville. $120 from François Binetruy, Versailles, France, through Ebay, Dec., '00.

The upper 2½" of each card is taken up with a good rendition after Grandville of an individual fable illustration over a block-print title. The lower 4¼" is taken up with La Fontaine's text and three columns of bingo-like numbers. (The middle column splits the text in cumbersome fashion.) Some cards have one or two footnotes on difficult or antiquated vocabulary. One of the twenty-four cards is outside the pattern. Its upper portion gives the game's title around a bust of La Fontaine, supported by a cabinet. At the center of this cabinet, which is flanked by a fox and a cat, stands "Regle." This card tells us that this "new" game differs from the old one only in its vertical rather than horizontal columns. Apparently, one agrees on the price of each card and pays for his/her cards. Then number-balls are drawn from a sack and called out. For a win, one needs to cover the five numbers in any one column. Unfortunately, there is no real connection between the fables and the game…. I remember seeing this gam--I cannot remember where--at a price I could not dream of. I think my favorite fable-collector picked up that copy. I am delighted to find this other copy now!

Click on either card to see them both enlarged.


1900? Complete set of twelve lotto cards, each with two La Fontaine fable images, with titles and four lotto numbers each.  €150 from Thierry Corcelle, Paris, June, '19.

The colored fable images here are exquisitely done.  The number system is regular and consistent.  The numbers in the upper left of each image are from 1 to 24.  Those in the upper right of each image are from 25 to 48.  Those in the lower left of each image are from 49 to 72.  The numbers in the lower right of the first nine cards are from 73 through 90.  The lower right numbers on the last three cards follow no system I can discern.  Stiff board backing, slightly bowed.