Late Inheritance
Numbers that were, have been, and would have been
nickel-silver plate, lottery tickets

The year of 1974 can be considered significant in the history of lottery as well, since a ten year-old jackpot record was broken that time. Perhaps, this thing inspired my grandfather Esterházy Mátyás to try to win the jackpot for 12 months. During a year he had only a lottery ticket with two correct numbers. Throughout, he played with the same numbers: 19, 20, 22, 28, and 81. The five numbers are based on the birth dates of the four Esterházy brothers and their father Esterházy Móric (1881).

I found the original lottery tickets while I was packing the inheritance of my father. I considered them as a sign and I immediately knew that I wanted to gamble the numbers. It was a real gamble again 45 years later. By the analogy of my grandfather’s selection, I also gambled on my own family numbers: 75, 77, 82, 87, and 51.

To my surprise, I had a lottery ticket with 3 correct numbers with the numbers of my grandfather even the second week. I won 18, 710 HUF. That was the value of the late inheritance. What was I going to do with it?

In our family, after that basically everything was taken away from us in the second half of the 20th century, the primogenitary intestate succession from father to son is only a symbolic gesture. This is the ornate, large-sized, and handwritten document of the entailed property, which puts the possessions down in writing that belongs to the family forever and cannot be alienated. The document was certified by the Hungarian king Franz Joseph I in 1875. I received it from my father around my eighteenth birthday and I am planning to hand it down to my firstborn son within a few years. Finally, I wrote the text of the document onto a nickel-silver plate worth 18,710 HUF by stencil, but over time it will completely disappear due to the oxidation and patina. Nickel-silver is much cheaper than silver, but it is a similarly well workable alloy, which was preferred to replace the missing silver tableware.

The lottery prize and the nickel-silver purchased with it, as well as, the text of the document and its disappearance function as a brand new processing of the history of my family at the end of the 20th century.

exhibition view at modem, Debrecen