A collector almost a millionaire… in lottery tickets

BLAINVILLE | One North Shore enthusiast has amassed nearly a million lottery tickets, a collection that includes virtually every model issued in Quebec over the last 50 years.

Jean-Guy Lirette is not a gambling addict, but a “collector’s instinct”, as he admits with a laugh.

“Playing a day without my tickets is almost not done,” says the man who began his collection in 1972, two years after Loto-Québec launched.

In a small room in his basement, some 925,000 precious scraps of paper are carefully stored in narrow, floor-to-ceiling boxes.

Each lottery ticket series is listed in chronological order, numbered and then entered into an Excel spreadsheet.

Copies of the May 1989 Mini showing the Bonjour Printemps event in Victoriaville.

Photo Nora T Lamontagne

Copies of the May 1989 Mini showing the Bonjour Printemps event in Victoriaville.

“You put it in a small box at first, but eventually it fills up the storage capacity,” he justifies his inventory, which is worthy of a seasoned archivist.


Jean-Guy Lirette is far from scratching every piece in his impressive collection. In fact, he only buys two mini-tickets a week and the occasional Lotto-Max to “let go.”

Nevertheless, the pensioner can rely on a company in the industry to hand over his customers’ used tickets to him, and has done so since the beginning.

“Most people tear up the ticket and throw it in the trash if they don’t win. It’s a massacre,” sighs the 70-year-old collector.

Today, Mr. Lirette estimates that he possesses a copy of approximately 99% of all lottery tickets ever issued by Loto-Québec.

“There are a few winning tickets, but I’m not forcing myself to get them. »

He shows it enthusiastically protocol the first “scratch” in Quebec, a special Valentine’s Day issue that smelled of cinnamon when scratched, and some gorgeous Louisiana lottery tickets.

40 hours a week

There was a time when he exchanged views with a hundred international correspondents and devoted 40 hours a week to his free time alongside his full-time job in telecommunications.

However, as they got older, the congiariophilists, as lottery ticket collectors are called, settled on Loto-Québec.

But why so much effort when collecting lottery tickets?

“Of course we can say that these are vulgar scraps of paper that we pick up to look at. But it’s like money or stamps… They have a certain value,” he pleads.

  • Jean-Guy Lirette will exhibit part of his collection at the Salon des grands collectionneurs de Québec in September.

Leave a Comment