The history is full of weird lottery draw prizes, including a baby

The 5 Weirdest Prizes for a Raffle or Lottery Draw

Most lotteries offer cash jackpots. Some lotteries, and many raffles, also offer luxurious prizes such as a dream house, a glamorous car (new or classic), or perhaps a nice holiday abroad. However, the history of lotteries and raffles is full of far more unusual prizes. Would you enter a lottery draw for one of these?

Early Lottery Draw Prizes

Not every lottery is for a physical prize. In the city of Athens in the 6th century BC, they used lotteries to form their democracy. Most government officials were chosen randomly from the pool of eligible candidates. Imagine checking your lottery numbers to see if you were the newest mayor instead of the newest millionaire!

The first National Lottery in England took a more familiar form, with cash prizes, but it also offered household goods such as tapestries and linens, which seems a rather strange way to redecorate. Perhaps that’s why the initial reception of the lottery was not as enthusiastic as Queen Elizabeth I might have hoped. Still, her lottery for “various public works” helped lay the groundwork for the modern idea of a lotto charity fund.

Is That Even Legal?

Looking at more recent history, at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, WA, one of the raffle prizes was an orphaned 1-month-old baby named Ernest, contingent on the winner being willing and eligible to adopt him. A winning ticket was drawn, but the boy was never claimed; one can only imagine that the winner felt as strange about the idea of raffling away a baby as we do today, or simply felt they would not make a good parent. Ernest’s story remains a mystery, as it appears that no one knows what happened to the unfortunate lad after the raffle. We can only hope he was later adopted by a loving family.

It would be unthinkable to offer a baby as a prize in this day and age, but some people still push the envelope with their raffle prizes. In 2014, a taxidermy website drew controversy when they chose to celebrate their 1-year anniversary with a raffle that included a real human skull as the main prize! Many people felt that the offering was in poor taste, especially given the questionable sourcing around collectible human bones. The public outcry eventually led to the site canceling their give-away all together.

Time with Your Favourite Star

A recent favourite for good causes has been to hold a lottery draw for lunch or other quality time spent with a beloved actor or athlete. After all, who doesn’t daydream about sitting across the table from your celebrity crush or sport idol? These sort of prizes don’t have the same life-changing power as a large sum of cash, but they create the kind of memories that money can’t buy, so it’s no surprise that people are happy to donate to a worthy cause in return for the chance of a lifetime.

Cash is Still King

There are some wild and wonderful prizes to be won from lotteries and raffles, but for many winners, cash is the best bet. Why try to win a baby when you could instead pamper your own children? Why try for a human skull when you could buy an entire (replica) skeleton? If you’d prefer a cash prize over luxurious linens from the Queen, then simply stick with a lottery ticket or lottery instant win game.

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