Why tickets are a great investment and what does the future hold for the hobby
Why should I collect tickets? There are several reasons for collecting tickets. First they are very attractive with photos of teams, players or other interesting designs on them. Second, there is an actual connection to the game or event. Third, they are very limited in production and historically they were never meant to be collected, their primary use has always been to gain admission to an event. And lastly there are many ways or direction your collection can take.
First lets talk about how attractive tickets are. Today, most tickets feature pictures of players or great moments from a team's history. Modern tickets are usually bright and colorful. They make terrific additions to collages or they are very frame-able and are a very attractive item to have autographed. They can be framed along with a photo of a given player, venue or event to decorate any man cave or woman's space. Your imagination is the limit to what you can do to display a ticket.
I have never understood the ongoing demand for sports cards. Tickets have an actual connection to the event they were for. The ticket would actually get you into a game to see, in person, your favorite player. Sports cards are just photos with a stat line on the back. Cards can be very attractive, but to me the connection with the event or player is far more tangible with a ticket. Take for example a ticket stub that would get you into the game where a player hit his 3,000th hit or pitched a perfect game, wouldn't the connection to the player warrant greater demand than a cardboard photo?
Another great advantage tickets have is they are all produced in limited numbers. Sports cards are produced to meet a demand. Even the cards that they call rare or scarce really aren't. Compare the Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card to a full Super Bowl ! ticket. PSA has graded 1,239 of these items and they can sell for up to a half a million dollars. By comparison PSA has only graded 38 full tickets from Super Bowl I. The record for any single ticket is $80,000 and it was a Super Bowl II ticket. Very nice condition Super Bowl I, II, or III full tickets can be purchased in the $10,000 range. Far less than many high value cards. What this tells me is that not only are tickets a more solid investment, but their is a lot of room for your investment to grow in value. Many tickets' populations are in the same realm as Honus Wagner T206 cards.
Lastly, finding older tickets in nice condition is VERY hard. Many older tickets which have survived were kept in scrap books, which means that there is some glue damage or tape damage to the ticket. Sports cards were always meant to be collected, even the ones I put in my bicycle spokes as a kid, Lots of people took care of a protected their cards. Tickets are and were meant to get into an event. Next time you go to a game and are in line to enter, check out the conditions of peoples tickets. They were kept in their wallet and are folded or bent or otherwise damaged. Then consider that only the season ticket variety of newer tickets are attractive and generally command high prices. How many mint condition tickets are left after the game? And of those how many will ever make it into the hobby? Now consider that before 2006 or so tickets were torn upon entry. All this adds up to a very bright future for the value of collectable tickets.