Lottery fish

Object name: Lottery fish

Object number: CHWJA:JAH51

Category: objects

Description: Collection of five mother of pearl fish-shaped games counters, each measuring approx. 1.5cm x 5.5cm.

Made: Early 19th century

Context: Gaming counters like these were commonly used in Georgian England. In Jane Austen’s day families played all sorts of games, but card games were particularly popular. Fish and other shapes were used as gaming chips or counters for betting.

The Austen family certainly played cards at home, and with their neighbours. In Jane Austen’s novels, card games take place frequently.

In Pride and Prejudice, cards are played at Netherfield, Rosings, and at Mrs. Phillips’s supper party. here they played ‘a nice comfortable noisy game of lottery tickets’ – this was a game of chance, not skill, which involved betting on matching cards using counters or lottery fish.

‘Lydia talked incessantly of lottery tickets, of the fish she had lost and the fish she had won’

Pride and Prejudice

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