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Man found $24 million lottery ticket in an old shirt just before it expired

Jimmie is an avid collector of lottery tickets and a TV announcement prompted him to check his shirt.

Man found $24 million lottery ticket in an old shirt just before it expired
Cover Image Source: New York Gaming Commission

Mystery lurks everywhere. Like an undersea treasure box, it lurches in every object, whispering sweet nothings in spaces long abandoned. From closed attics to vintage journals, mystery hangs in everything. At least, this is what Mr. Jimmie Smith would think, from now on, each time he looks at anything. He found this mystery and hit the jackpot, literally, in one of the shirts hanging in his closet. And this mystery turned out to be a 24-million-dollar winning lottery ticket, according to

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay


A retired security guard by profession, and a father of two, the 68-year-old Jimmie went through his closet after he heard an announcement on television that this particular lottery ticket hadn’t found its prize winner yet. Jimmie, who had been an avid buyer and collector of lottery tickets, gave it a thought to do a quick check inside his closet. And there he found it, the ticket to his jackpot, lying among stacks of booklets and piles of crisp tickets, “I ended up with a stack - a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news," he told lottery officials. He also said that he's been buying tickets in New Jersey and New York since the 1960s, but has never been in a rush to see if he’s the winner of some prize. But that day he stood there, gazing at the piece that had brought golden fortune to him, “I stood there for a minute thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see?'” he told “I had to stick my head out the window and breathe some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.” But it was real indeed.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

On the other side of it, Gweneth Dean, director of the New York Gaming Commission’s Division of the Lottery, said, “A lucky New Yorker has a $24 million Lotto payday just waiting — but the winner has to act fast as time is running out. We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you,” according to The Washington Post.


Representative Image Source: Pexels | markus winkler
Representative Image Source: Pexels | markus winkler


On May 25, 2016, Jimmie, a resident of East Orange, New Jersey, won $24.1 million from the New York Lottery. The winning numbers were 5, 12, 13, 22, 25 and 35. Jimmie had earlier bought the ticket at a grocery and tobacco shop at 158 Church Street in the Tribecca neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, according to “I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time,'” he said. However, post this prize-winning and claiming himself as the owner of the winning ticket, Jimmie suddenly disappeared. He reappeared five months later only to complete the required paperwork and disappear again, as reported by The Washington Post. He chose to receive his $24 million in installments over 26 years, according to the commission.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 9, 2024. It has since been updated.

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