Tickets were never meant to be collected, they were meant to gain admittance into an event. I do not care about what you hear, such as young kids used to put sports cards in their bicycle spokes to make it sound like a motorcycle, tickets were always meant to be collected and many people did collect them and keep them in good condition. When older tickets were saved, especially Pre-WWII tickets, they were saved in a scrapbook - so there is often tape or glue residue on the ticket. Many older tickets were tacked to a bulletin board or the person who went to the event wrote the significance of what happened during the game such as if a no hitter was thrown or if it were for a players 500th home run or they just wrote the score on the stub so they could remember the game. Tickets are much more limited than Sports cards - Just look at the number of graded Mickey Mantle rookie cards for a good example. There are over 1100 cards that PSA has graded or authenticated and one in poor condition fetches several 4 to 5000 dollars at auction. By comparison a ticket from his debut game can be obtained for less than 5000 dollars and there have only been 11 graded by PSA. Do the math - the cards are 100 times more plentiful than the ticket stubs So which is the better investment? Which items has the better potential to increase in value? You make the decision. Older tickets are, in my opinion, very under-valued. Most old World Series and NFL championship tickets have populations less than that of the famed T206 - Honus Wagner. Now wouldn't you like to buy one of those for a few thousand dollars back in the day before its price went astronomical.
My Grading Criteria
I am a strict grader. Below you will find my grading criteria and below that I have copied PSA's grading criteria as many tickets that are listed have been graded by PSA and I do not give specific details regarding the condition of those tickets.
MINT - This is the highest grade I give to a ticket. I only describe a ticket as Gem Mint if it has bee graded by a third party such as PSA. A mint ticket is flawless. It looks brand new and has no evidence of wear.
NM/MT - A near mint/mint ticket will have only 1 or 2 minor flaws such as slight fading, a slightly flawed or worn corner, a minor surface imperfection or a minor printing flaw. Whatever the flaw may be the ticket still looks brand new and only shows minor wear from handling. The ticket will have no creases, staining or other major flaws.
NM - A Near Mint ticket will still have a brand new look, but upon close inspection you may notice some wear on the ticket. Near Mint tickets do not have any creasing, staining or other major flaws, but they will have more flaws and evidence of handling than NM/MT tickets.
EX/MT - An excellent mint ticket still looks new, but will have wear on the ticket especially the corners which may have some very slight fraying. The ticket may have noticeable handling such as fingerprinting. EX/MINT tickets are very attractive and will have no creasing. There may exhibit moderate fading or printing flaws.
EX - A ticket in Excellent condition may have a light surface crease or some discoloration on the front in addition to several of the minor flaws including minor overall wear.
VG/EX - A ticket in Very Good to Excellent condition will have noticeable flaws such as moderate creasing, fading, or discoloration. Due to the nature of tickets, which were not meant for collecting, but for entry into an event many ticket stubs grade in the VG/EX range. Most ticket stubs fall into this category especially the older ones. A VG/EX ticket may have light staining, but will not have any paper loss on the front or back or tape residue anywhere. A ticket with staple holes can get a VG/EX grade if it has few other flaws and does not detract from the overall appearance of the ticket. A Baseball card with the VG EX grade is not a very highly graded card. A Pre 1950 ticket with the VG EX grade is a pretty strong grade and definitely worthy of investment.
VG - The grade of VG or Very Good is really not very good. Tickets exhibit pretty heavy wear or moderate creasing. VG tickets are very presentable in a framed or mounted setting or part of a collage. For general consideration tickets that grade in VG condition are only good investments for very old tickets and very rare tickets, where in some cases VG is the highest grade that a third party grader such as PSA has given.
GOOD - Heavy creasing, tape stains, heavy fading, glue stains or other major flaws. The ticket shows major evidence of handling. It is probably best to avoid tickets in Good condition unless they are very scarce Pre-World War II tickets are often in the good condition and should not deter a person from investing in them.
Fair to Poor - These are tickets that have been abused. Numerous heavy Creases, Severe Soiling or staining, tears, multiple pin holes etc. Only very old tickets are worth purchasing in this condition. For Example I would purchase a 1926 world series ticket for the game that Babe Ruth hit 3 home runs, but I would not purchase a 1980 Miracle on ice ticket in fair or poor condition. This is because the Babe Ruth ticket is far scarcer and equally or more desirable.
PSA's TICKET GRADING CRITERIA
Attributes include four sharp corners, centering of approximately 55/45 to 60/40 or better on the front and back of the ticket, sharp focus and virtually full original gloss. The ticket must be free of staining; however, an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection, if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the ticket. No punctures or holes may be present with the exception of those that are obviously required on the ticket. Ticket printing quality of crucial game information must be in the "Medium/Dark to Dark" range in order to qualify for this grade. In other words, noticeable fading may prevent a ticket from reaching Gem Mint status.
Quality must be very close in nature to a Gem Mint 10 but the following allowances may be made. Very light "touches" at one of the corners may be acceptable so long as the corner integrity remains intact. A slight surface "dimple" may be allowed if extremely limited.
A ticket of this quality will appear to be a Mint 9 at first glance but one of the following additional defects may be present. Very light "touches" at two corners, apparent to the naked eye, would be acceptable under this standard. A very slight surface abrasion or evidence of modest surface damage, on the front or back, may be acceptable if limited. For instance, a faint impression from a paper clip would be an example of this type of acceptable defect. "Medium to Medium/Dark" printing of crucial game information is required. Centering must fall within approximately 60/40 to 65/35 or better on the front and back.
A ticket of this quality will appear to be a NM-MT 8 at first glance but one of the following additional defects may be present. Beyond light corner "touches" evident at up to all four corners, minor fraying may be present at up to two corners as long as the integrity of the each corner remains intact. The ticket may show slight staining in a limited area. Two light surface abrasions may be present. Here, a minor printing defect may be acceptable. Graphic or text focus may be slightly out of register. A very slight loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Centering must fall within approximately 65/35 to 70/30 or better on the front and back.
Quality must be very close in nature to a NM 7, but up to two of the following allowances may be made: Fraying may be present on up to three corners. A very light surface crease may be present. Two or three light surface abrasions may be present. A minor printing defect is acceptable, such as "out of register" focus of graphic or text elements. Minor loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Centering, as in an EX-MT 6, must be 70/30 or better, on the front and back.
A ticket of this quality may appear to be an EX-MT6 at first glance, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: Fraying may be present on up to all four corners. One light-to-medium surface crease may be present. The ticket may show some obvious staining in a limited area on the front or back. Two to three surface abrasions may be present. One or two minor printing defects may be noted, such as a graphic element or text focus that is slightly out of register. Visible loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Some surface paper loss, resulting from prior gluing or taping of the ticket to an album page, for example, may be acceptable and is restricted to the back of the ticket.
A ticket of this quality will appear to be an EX 5 at first glance, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: Two light-to-medium surface creases may be present. A fold or full crease that does not cross the entire ticket may be present. The ticket may show some obvious, mid-range to dark staining in a limited area on the front or back. Defects such as general wear; print defects, loss of original gloss and paper loss on the reverse may be slightly more severe.
Quality must be close in nature to a VG-EX4, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: All of the ticket's corners, and in some instances the ticket's edges, may exhibit noticeable to pronounced wear. The surface quality may be subject to three or more light-to-medium surface creases; this ticket may also show some warping. A fold or full crease may exist and extend or cross over the entire ticket. Several surface scratches may exist. One or two non-game related punctures or holes may be present. Medium-to-heavy staining, and/or loss of print in one to two areas, on the front or back, may exist. Discoloration as in "yellowing" or fading of original ink color or very slight darkening in the case of a thermal-type paper stock ticket, over most or all of the front and/or back of the ticket may be observed. Original gloss may be entirely absent. Some surface paper loss may be visible on the front or back of the ticket. Defects such as general wear, print defects, and loss of original gloss may be slightly more severe.
A PSA Good 2 must be close in nature to a VG 3, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: two or more medium-to-heavy surface creases may be present, and this ticket may also show noticeable warping. Up to two folds or full creases may exist, and each one may extend or cross the entire ticket. Multiple and deep surface scratching may exist. Three non-game related punctures or holes may be present. The original gloss may be entirely absent. Defects such as general wear, print defects, staining, paper loss and fading of original ink may be slightly more severe.
Poor to Fair
A PSA PR-FR 1 will appear obviously abused: the ticket's corners and edges exhibit pronounced and extreme wear. Multiple creases, scratches, non-game related punctures and extreme warping may be present. Heavy staining, paper loss, fading and numerous print defects may be present.
The same basic criteria (as for full tickets) apply to stubs, with the additional tearing/removal factor of the "audit stub" (by the gate attendant) or, in some cases, a "fan stub." The shape and severity of the tear/removal of the stub, with all other condition qualities being equal, may affect the final grade of a stub. As expected, the more severe and less defined the tear/removal, the lower the grade of the stub. In some cases, no excess tearing (beyond the acceptable limits for a stub) will be allowed within a particular grade. For example, a PSA Gem Mint 10 "fan stub" may not exhibit any evidence of excess tearing at all. Submitters will have the option of choosing not to have a grade assigned to the tickets and, instead, merely have the tickets authenticated and encapsulated. Those tickets will be labeled "AUTHENTIC." Graders also reserve the right, based on eye appeal, not to render a grade on a severely damaged ticket stub and, instead, apply the "AUTHENTIC" label. That way, the ticket is authenticated and protected in the PSA holder – it simply is void of a specific grade.