Collectors Universe President and CEO, Joe Orlando, explained the “ticket as a collectible” theory once in an SMR article entitled, “Collecting Sports Tickets: The Top 15 Sports Tickets in the Hobby.”
“What you have to keep in mind as a collector is that tickets, unlike trading cards, were never intended to be collectibles. They were intended to be a consumable, something actually used to gain entry into an event. That was the sole purpose of a ticket, nothing more and nothing less,” he wrote. “As a result, most tickets were discarded after the game, tossed in the trash alongside hot dog wrappers, empty peanut bags and beer cups. Most tickets ended up buried in the trash.”
Tickets as a form of collectible are a relatively new phenomenon that is enjoyed by passionate hobbyists who are often very knowledgeable about the subjects they collect. This is where the PSA Ticket Set Registry comes into play. The Registry boasts more than 1,000 individual ticket sets representing a variety of different sports and themes. The diversity is impressive, and the theme of the tickets represented is limited only by the creativity of the hobby and the ability to acquire qualifying examples!
Perhaps the greatest part of ticket collecting is that nearly everyone already has a head start. Most people have attended a handful of interesting events over the years and invariably have a ticket or stub tucked away in a drawer, scrapbook or safe spot for stashing such mementos. PSA offers a much more reliable way of housing your important keepsakes with Ticket Authentication and Grading. By submitting your tickets to PSA, you are not only protecting them by having them encased in PSA holders, but also turning that mere memory into a collectible item. Fans collect tickets from their favorite music groups, athletic competitions, political rallies and countless other events for which a ticket is necessary for admission. With PSA authentication, your ticket might just become the final item necessary to complete a long-running collection.
That brings us back to the Registry, where the hobby documents its projects. Each sport is organized differently within the Registry, as are non-sports events, with categories separating the various collecting themes. A quick glance at the ticket section shows that baseball is the sport best represented on the Registry, with 583 sets divided into five categories: Series, Clubs, Specialty Sets, Players and Team. The most popular set is World Series (1903-Present), with 36 participants. This set requires collectors to obtain a single PSA-graded ticket from every World Series dating back to the first such competition in 1903. There are currently 115 items required for completion, with a new one added each year. The only years not included in the run from 1903-2020 are 1904 and 1994, when no World Series was played.
Andy Imperato currently holds the No. 1 set in this category. “In my opinion, every ticket tells a story,” Imperato shared. “I started putting my World Series set together and found it is an extremely challenging project. If you told me that money was no object, and you wanted me to get you a T206 Honus Wagner card and a 1907 World Series full ticket, I would find 10 cards and still not be able to find the ticket.”
Scotty Autin is an Army Lieutenant Colonel serving in the 82nd Airborne Division, a Battalion Commander and a 2002 graduate of West Point. When he wanted a tangible way to honor his alma mater and the Black Knights football team, Autin settled on building a comprehensive collection of tickets to the fabled Army-Navy football game.
“When I first started with tickets stubs, I liked the idea that the ticket was actually there,” he said. “I knew that particular item was at that game.”
Perhaps the greatest benefit of being a ticket collector, beyond the actual ownership of these paper treasures, is that because of the nature of the hobby, a ticket collector becomes a sort of historian on the subject he or she collects. Unlike trading cards, which are mostly issued in standardized manners and quantities, a sporting event is subject to outside influence which can affect not only the time, place and manner in which a game is played, but also the number of fans in attendance and therefore the quantity of tickets ultimately available.
Another benefit of ticket collecting is the creativity and flexibility the medium offers individuals to customize their collections. Have you attended several College Bowl Games? NASCAR races? Frank Sinatra concerts? Yes? Have you thought about assembling a ticket collection dedicated to these exciting events? Consider the following sets that are already a part of the PSA Ticket Set Registry: 500 Home Run Club; Whitey Ford World Series Wins; Perfect Games; University of Michigan Fab Five Semi & Finals; NFL 2000 Yard Club (1973-Present); Devin Hester – NFL Touchdown Returns Record; Kentucky Derby – Triple Crown Winners; and Jesse Owens – Gold Medals (1936). The breadth of this hobby genre is truly limitless. Additionally, though certain tickets garner strong prices at auction, ticket collecting as a whole is still in its infancy.
Tickets are an up-and-coming hobby genre and PSA Ticket Stub Authentication and Grading and the PSA Ticket Set Registry are the places to learn more and begin your collection. Take a look and start your own ticket project today!