El Gordo is guarded by Antonio

El Gordo is guarded by Antonio


From 00000 to 99999. All numbers likely to win the Christmas Lottery Gordo are kept by Antonio Espejo. Compiled in albums, this 77-year-old from Cordoba keeps them with great care on the shelves where once there were buckets of paint. Until he retired, he ran a small company with his brother, to whom he dedicated the time that his work as an official left him. Then, the afternoons were spent in that warehouse in the Madrid neighborhood of Ventas, negotiating prices with the painters of the big brush. Now, converted into a small collector's museum, he proudly teaches friends and family. On the walls of your basement you can travel through the history of Spain.

As we know it now, the Lottery was born in 1811 to provide funds to the coffers of the State, battered by the War of Independence. The first draw was held in 1812. The oldest tenths that Antonio treasures are from 1936. On the top floor of his warehouse, in a large frame, there is exposed a full year ticket in which the Civil War broke out. Each cost then 250 pesetas, "an outrage for that time," he explains. Since the year 40, he has tenths of all the draws until today and is about to finish the classic number (the 100,000 balls of the drum). His "lottery" started in 1971, when the monographic theme that illustrated the tickets was bullfighting. "I'm very bullfighting, you know." Subscriber to the fair of San Isidro, Morante fan "and before El Viti", Antonio says that it was from that year when he began his interest in collecting Lottery. Although his eagerness to keep objects comes from afar, since high school: "Like all children of that time, what he collected were stamps." That is why he keeps in another showcase, with special affection, a complete Lottery ticket from the year 73, dedicated to philately, "a theme that was repeated later, in 2001". Antonio is an encyclopedia in this field and knows hundreds of curiosities. "The tenths have not always been the same size," he clarifies, and opens his albums to show it: "Look, until 1963 they were broadcast in a much larger format than the current one. Then there was an intermediate period, from 64 to 66, in which they had a medium size and in 1967 the model that has been maintained until now was designed ".

"He is one of the few collectors that plays every week," warns his friend Andrés Cabello, with whom he shares a hobby. The ritual of this Cordoban of birth "and adoption of Madrid" to find luck is always the same. In the raffle on Thursdays he buys the capicúa number 49294 and in the one of Saturdays the 55555 and the 33333. But he has never touched him the Gordo. "The most, a second prize in the late 80's. I won a million pesetas and I melted it in a week, I had a good time", says Antonio.

In that little shop in Ventas, he spends his afternoons: "My wife, Angelines, does not want us to go out there." Recount, review, place with care the tickets you are getting. «How much money have I spent on Lottery? I do not know, and I do not care". What he keeps in that basement are hours and hours of meticulous documentation and classification work. For this reason, she repeats constantly that she would like her daughters to continue their collection. It must be that this hobby to group and organize is inherited because "the little girl had to free a whole room of her house to keep her Nancys".

Now, with the internet, it is much easier to locate a specific tenth, but the collection of Antonio's Lottery is worked "in the old way, through postal mail". «To complete collections we corresponded with other collectors and exchanged tenths. Some lots I bought at auctions and the administrations of trust also keep me the numbers they know that I may be interested in, "he says.

This morning, in lottery 102 lottery, will be raffled the Christmas fat. Self-diagnosed "lottery", as is the case with these two friends, is the one they least like. Although they admit that they have bought some tenths "simply by compromise". What they say with conviction is that they have not paid much attention to the figures they carry. They do not look for luck, but rather the piece to be placed in the empty spaces of their albums. This year, according to Lotteries and State Betting, it surprises the number of times that the numbers 31518 and 01618 have been purchased, coinciding with the dates of the Rajoy censure motion and the appointment of Pedro Sánchez as president, respectively. "No idea," they sentence, while looks of surprise are thrown.

Be that as it may, these lottery enthusiasts advise all those who have bought a tenth to open their eyes well from nine in the morning, when the children of San Ildefonso begin to take the balls out of the hype at the Teatro Real. "In our collections we have award-winning coupons that, due to misunderstandings, have not even been charged." So it's better to prevent.

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