If you're 35-50 years old you may remember hard copy tickets were just a way to get into the stadium or arena to watch the game, concert or show. You probably crumpled it and put it in your pocket once you got to your seat. You got home and most likely the ticket made it's way into the garbage can, never to be seen or thought of again. Well until recently maybe.
The last few years have seen the rise of ticket stubs especially on the graded side of the house. When you really think about it you could make a great case that tickets may be scarcer than trading cards. Back then who saved tickets, sure some did but for most that stub was the vessel to their seat and that's it. Their mission served and their fate sealed as fodder to rot in a landfill or incinerated.
Also stadiums and arena's were usually smaller then compared to the behemoth's we have now. That means there were "less" tickets than modern day. When you hold it up to the trading cards of the day it really sinks in little tickets exist in comparison to the cards. Yes people threw their cards around, put them in bike spokes and wrapped stacks in rubber bands. Yes in many cases years later a parent threw them out when the kid was off to college.
However the fact remains cards were designed as collectibles, Tickets not so much. However don't lose sight of the fact tickets can still be linked to player debut's, final games, record breaking moments, and memorable moments. Even for us "normal folk" tickets can have meaning as well, my 1st game, my 1st time I've seen that band, the last game I went with grandpa,etc. Many collectors have crossed over to make ticket collecting a part of how they collect. Maybe they are a player or a team super collector who wants to add tickets tied to that player or team to their inventory. Like I mentioned earlier it may be as simple as I want this ticket because it was the first game I went to or some similiar significance.
Grading tickets have become a big part of ticket collecting, Beckett jst announced they will doing this now joining PSA in that category. Those tickets from significant events that weren't crumpled up are commanding some serious prices on secondary markets.
As you now know hard copy tickets are generally not issued like they use to be. Now we get phone or printed barcodes to show the usher so they can scan us in to the venue. However you can request a hard copy ticket from the box office if you want that memento. Also in cases of significant debuts or known milestone events the stadium may even distribute commemorative hard copy tickets. Remember you can request hard copy tickets at the box office for any tickets you rightly hold.
I've begun to add a few tickets on a smaller scale to my collection and in a recent inventory search I discovered I have most of my tickets from the games and concerts I have attended.
My grail ticket you ask....well unless I win the mega millions I will unfortunately never possess it. Some might've guessed Jackie Robinson's major league debut ticket. You are correct but like many significant graded tickets they are bringing phenomenal amounts of money. Recently a Robinson debut ticket brought 480k via auction. However I'm still searching for a Jackie Robinson playing days stub and someday that mission will be completed.
So what's your grail ticket? No really I'd like to know.