October 29, 2010

Why Tickets are Hot New Collectibles in Ephemera

Rare ticket from the Steamship Independence
which burnt at sea in Spring of 1853.
Over 120 passengers lost their lives.
Once upon a time, long, long, long ago, one needed a piece of material which he or she paid cold hard cash (or paper money) for and then in turn handed the material over to a stern faced person who was guarding an entry of sorts, (which, by the way, in turn gave rise to the term bouncer). He or she was then allowed to proceed and enter. The problem arose if the event or happening that the person was attending, was disappointing, he or she felt cheated. Rarely did one get money back which may be why some tickets survived. Then again it may be why the rise in counterfeiters who expanded their industry because next to money, a "ticket" or "invitation" to enter was as "good as gold."
Love-Feast Invitation from
Salem Home
Moravian Church 1869

Although "ticket" printing was being done long before 1870, trade cards entered the scene and the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia set off a new craze of collecting. People wanted souvenirs - something to bring home with them even though later, they may have tossed the item away or stuck it in a soon forgotten place. More tickets and stubs are surfacing from these long ago eras.

It wasn't until 1917 when Reuben Harry Helsel of New York invented a ticketing machine, a device he continued to improve upon until 1962. Today tickets are no longer necessary for many venues and ticketing can easily be completed online - a barcode easily identifies the purchaser though in time this too might become counterfeited. Unfortunately though, speeding tickets are done the ancient way except for filling in the blanks (umm - wonder what celebrities do with their indiscretion papers?)  

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