Most of us buy lottery tickets to try our luck and win huge cash prize. But here is a man who collects lottery tickets as a hobby just like coin and stamp collection.
Kaloor Unnikrishnan, who is known as the Lottery Man, has a huge collection of over 10,000 lottery tickets. The tickets mark 52 years of long history of Kerala lottery.
In 1986, Kerala state lottery worth Re 1 had a prize money of Rs 50,000. At the same time, in 2018, price of Kerala state lottery rose to Rs 250 and the prize money also increased to Rs 10 crore.
Kerala’s first half ticket lottery which was issued as the 86th edition of Kairali lottery is one of the main attractions in his collection.
“It was in 1977, Kerala government issued half ticket lottery worth Rs 2. It had a prize money of Rs 10 lakh. As the name suggets, the ticket had two parts A and B. So, we can purchase it for half price. If our half ticket lottery worth Rs 1 wins first prize, we will get Rs 5 lakh. But after six drawings, government cancelled the lottery,” Unnikrishnan detailed about the rare lottery in his collection.
Unnikrishnan started his lottery collection at the age of 14. He is continuing this hobby with the same passion even today.
Aayilyam Thirunal Maharaja, the king of ancient Kerala, issued the first lottery on August 24, 1874. The first lottery was known as ‘Lattarychitty’.
The king started the lottery system to raise funds for the construction of a seven storeyed tower in Sucheendram ‘Thanumalayan’ temple under Kingdom of Travancore.
Later, with the formation of first Kerala government under EMS cabinet in 1968, finance minister PK Kunju conceived the idea of establishing state lottery. This is how the Kerala State lottery was started.
Unnikrishnan is known as an encyclopaedia of Kerala lottery. With this knowledge, he is writing a book on history of lottery.
“Keralamala, Chaithanya, Bhagyathara, Maveli, Haritha, Kanakadhara, Pratheesha, Megawin like over 20 tickets were issued by Kerala lottery. Nowadays, lottery ticket drawing of various tickets is held every day,” said Unnikrishnan.
Old lotteries were colourful with attractive images which featured the cultural and geographical importance of Kerala, narrated the Lottery man.
He has good knowledge on old lottery agencies too. Though he collects Kerala lottery, he had never won a prize money above Rs 5000 from his tickets.
Apart from Kerala lottery, lottery tickets of 24 states including Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya and West Bengal are in his collection.
Unnikrishnan also holds a huge collection of coins and currency of foreign countries.
He penned over 20 books namely ‘Ahmisayude Upanjathavu’, ‘Manchirathukal’ and so on. He also won Dr BR Ambedkar National Excellence award and Darshana Balasahithya award.