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Tickets scratch collector’s itch

John HartBob Frazee, who has multiple sclerosis and lives on Zion Street in Nevada City, shows off his Lotto tickets collection Friday.
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Bob Frazee is not your average collector.

For the past 17 years, Frazee has collected unscratched lottery tickets.

Yes, lottery tickets.



Unscratched.

The Nevada City man is one of 860 members of the Global Lottery Collector’s Society, a group that collects and trades lottery tickets – scratched, unscratched or promotional – and share the latest information on the newest games with fellow members throughout the nation and around the globe. Twenty-nine members live in California, according to the latest tally.




Why collect unscratched lottery tickets?

“Why not?” answered Frazee, a retired sign shop supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service.

“Everybody collects stamps,” added Frazee, who estimates his lottery ticket collection at 700, most of them California-issued.

Frazee is not tempted to scratch any of his tickets, he said. Lottery tickets are only good for a period of time and then there isn’t any point in scratching them, he said Monday.

“(But) you’re always curious,” he said.

Arthur Rein, the Global Lottery Collector’s Society president, collects scratched tickets, “losers,” as he calls them.

Lottery tickets are beautiful, he said from his Mount Vernon, N.Y., home Monday. They’re government-issued, carry a serial number, and are almost impossible to counterfeit, added Rein, who collects the scratched, discarded tickets simply because it is cheaper.

Frazee, 54, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is now painstakingly organizing his collection in lottery books. Most are still in two cardboard boxes.

Frazee, Rein, who is a 43-year-old supermarket manager, and others have tried for years to make their group better-known.

“We’re trying to get the word out that we exist,” said Rein, who showed up at work on Halloween Day dressed up as a lottery collector, wearing lottery T-shirt, hat, buttons and lapel pins, all in an effort to encourage more people to join the club. “There aren’t too many of us.”

Frazee, for his part, has written the California Lottery officials to let them know the club exists.

The club organizes annual conventions known as “lotoventions,” maintains a Web site at http://www.lotterycollectors.com.

It also promotes camaraderie among the collectors, said Rein, who looks forward after a hard day’s work to coming home, getting the mail and finding envelopes filled with lottery tickets fellow club members have sent him from all over. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Rein has yet to find out if his Halloween efforts have attracted new members to join the club, according to his column in the December edition of The Lotologist Monthly, the group’s monthly newsletter.

In the meantime, Frazee said he will continue to buy a lottery ticket every time a new game comes out.

And keep it.

Unscratched.

For the fun of it.


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