The 2021 MLB season is entering the World Series with the Houston Astros as the home team against the Atlanta Braves. This is a time when many baseball fans are also going to be betting on the Astros or the braves, or maybe even on individual players. It is also a time that sports memorabilia collectibles will be buying and selling baseball cards, jerseys, autographed baseballs, bates and so on. One aspect that is somewhat unique to collecting is game tickets, and this brings a serious question. Is collecting World Series tickets a good investment?
One aspect that is getting in the way of commemorative tickets for the World Series and other special events is the digitizing of online ticket sales. Fans are now attending these great games with paper printouts or by using digital barcodes on their smartphones. This means that tickets for future games may not exist at all in the future.
As for the Astros/Braves 2021 World Series, it is important to think back to past years of the World Series. The Braves dominated the World Series and the National League in the 1990s, but the Braves have not managed to even appear in the World Series since 1999. This is the Astros’ third appearance in 5 years even after losing some key players over contracts.
Perhaps it might seem better to cover World Series player-issued rings, but the problem is that these are very few and far between in existing populations among collectors (players and their families often own for generations). The other problem, heightened by scarcity, is that the prices can be astronomical. There is also a market for World Series bats, jerseys and certain game-used baseballs with key importance. But for true collectors who want a wonderful memory without breaking the bank (in most cases) the World Series ticket stubs are obtainable in all forms and fashion to collectors and to the sports collectible investors.
The World Series has always been the biggest annual production for baseball. Fans who can attend have held onto their tickets as a cherished souvenir. As memories faded and fans passed on the population of the physical tickets dropped. Many of the tickets are very collectible.
Here are recent sales of World Series tickets from Heritage Auctions.
A 1919 World Series Game 8 ticket stub graded PSA Authentic sold for $34,800.00 on December 12, 2020 after 27 bids. According to PSA the entire population certified and graded by them for game 8 in the 1919 World Series is three. PSA has a disclaimer beneath the data:
“Please keep in mind that, in some cases, PSA started recognizing certain varieties within specific sets long after the company began grading the issue. As a result, some of the population data may not reflect accurate numbers since there may have been significant amounts of cards graded before PSA began noting the variety on the PSA label and in the PSA database. As more and more hobbyists re-holder their previously-graded cards to reflect the new information, the more accurate the data will become.”
Here is a second example of the 1919 World Series Game 8 ticket stub sold by Heritage Auctions. A 1919 World Series Game 8 ticket stub graded PSA Good 2 sold for $22,800,00 on May 26, 2019 after 33 bids.
Collectors Dashboard evaluates high end collectibles as an alternative asset class. This means collectibles are attracting the same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds. Many collectibles now cost thousands of dollars (or much more). Collectors with a passion to own a collectible for years frequently have to compete directly against investors whose only desire is to make a profit in the future.
Here are sales from Robert Edwards Auctions:
- 1919 Chicago White Sox World Series Ticket Stub Game 4 PSA Authentic sold for $16,200.00 Fall, 2019. The estimate for the PSA graded ticket was “open” and the reserve was $500.00 (Image below courtesy of Heritage Auctions)
- 1927 New York Yankees World Series Game 4 full ticket sold for $18,000.00 Fall, 2017. The estimate for the PSA graded ticket was $10,000.00++
- 1932 Chicago Cubs World Series Game 3 full ticket graded PSA EX 5. Babe Ruth famously called his shot this game. The full ticket sold for $15,600.00 Fall, 2017. The ticket was estimated at $10,000++ and the reserve was $5,000.00.
- 1912 Boston Red Sox World Series Game 8 Full Ticket with Christy Mathewson pitching is the highest graded PSA example. The ticket sold for $9,600.00 Fall, 2017. The ticket was estimated at $$10,000+ with a $5,000.00 reserve.
- 1926 World Series Full Ticket Game 7 first Cardinals World Championship PSA Authentic sold for $9,600.00. The ticket had an “open” estimate and the reserve was $1,000.00.
Mile High Card company had these World Series ticket sales:
- 1908 World Series Detroit full ticket sold for $4,254.00 on July 12, 2019. The ticket had a $2,000.00 minimum bid and 7 total bids.
- 1925 World Series Game 2 ticket stub graded PSA Authentic sold for $316.80 on July 12, 2019. The ticket had a $100.00 minimum bid and 5 total bids.
- 1970 World Series Game 1 full ticket graded PSA 5 EX sold for $249.90 on September 4, 2020. The ticket had a $50.00 minimum bid and 11 total bids.
Like many areas of collecting the driving variable is population of the tickets. Here are ungraded examples that sold within the last 10 days via auction giant eBay. We only included items with multiple bids and eliminated the Buy It Now format to capture what people a buying in a provable and quantitative example. Here are some of those recent eBay sales of ungraded World Series tickets:
- 1955 World Series Game 7 Brooklyn Dodgers at New York Yankees, Ross Stripling signed, ungraded sold by eBay for $406.00 on October 25, 2021 after 31 bids.
- 1965 World Series Game 5 Twins at Dodgers ungraded sold by eBay for $51.00 on October 25, 2021 after 5 bids.
- 1964 World Series Game 2 Yankees at Cardinals ungraded sold by eBay for $48.27 on October 25, 2021 after 38 bids.
- 1965 World Series Game 6 LA Dodgers at Minnesota Twins ungraded sold by eBay for $34.00 on October 24, 2021 after 22 bids.
- 1931 World Series Game 1 Philadelphia Athletics at St. Louis Cardinals ungraded sold by eBay for $319.00 on October 24, 2021 after 26 bids.
- 1964 World Series Game 6 Yankees at Cardinals ungraded sold by eBay for $117.50 on October 24, 2021 after 15 bids.
- 1970 World Series Game 1 ungraded sold by eBay for $38.05 on October 24, 2021 after 8 bids.
- 1957 World Series Game 4 New York Yankees at Milwaukee Braves ungraded sold for $46.00 on October 24, 2021 after 15 bids.
- 1958 World Series Game 2 New York Yankees at Milwaukee Braves ungraded sold for $41.00 on October 24, 2021 after 14 bids.
- 1968 World Series Game 1 Detroit Tigers at St Louis Cardinals ungraded sold for $34.55 on October 24, 2021 after 5 bids.
You have seen some examples of expensive World Series tickets and some very affordable examples of. To see how out of line some of the bats, gloves, jerseys, caps and other items are for World Series memorabilia, here are just some from various auction houses.
Goldin Auctions had the following top sales by price (dates of sales not listed):
- 1955 Jackie Robinson World Series Game Used Louisville Slugger sell for $250,000.00.
- 1905 Christy Mathewson Game Used World Series Bat Signed and Dated by John McGraw and others sell for $218,700.00.
- Honest Eddie Murphy 1913 World Series full size Glass Presentation Bat (presented on field in Game 2 of 1913 World Series) for $112,575.00.
- 1903 World Series Program (Game One Score Card, Completely Scored) listed as all-original with no restoration for $109,000.00.
- Sandy Koufax 1959-60 Game-Used (photo matched) Fielders Glove PSA/DNA (LA’s First World Series Championship) for $105,698.00.
- 1986 World Series Game 6 “Used and Signed Bill Buckner First Basemen’s Glove” from the 1986 World Series Game 6 significant to Buckner’s famous error sell for $104,400.00 Image below courtesy of GOLDIN AUCTIONS)
Heritage Auctions had some of the following highest ever World Series related sales:
- 1964 Mickey Mantle World Series Home Run Record-Setting Game Worn New York Yankees Jersey (MEARS A9) sold for $1,320,000.00 in 2018.
- 1903 World Series Game Eight Program–Boston Americans (Red Sox) sell in 2018 for $144,000.00.
- 1973 Tom Seaver World Series Game Worn & Signed New York Mets Jersey from Cy Young Season in 2018 sell for $66,000.00.
Robert Edward Auctions has seen multiple sales (no dates shown):
- 1975 Carlton Fisk World Series Game 6 Home Run Ball (famous hands “Stay in” sell for $142,200
- 1903 World Series Program – Game One at Boston sell for $94,000.
- 1919 Jake Daubert Cincinnati Reds World Series Pin (Daubert Family Provenance!) sell for $82,250.
- 1960 Roberto “Momen” Clemente Pittsburgh Pirates Game-Used Bat – PSA/DNA GU 10 – World Series Order! sell for $72,000.00.
Again, World Series ticket sales are just a part of the universe for World Series collectibles. That said, collecting world series tickets is one of the more affordable and available aspects of World Series collectibles. And unlike uniforms, bats, balls and programs, a collector can own dozens of these collectible items and hardly take up any space in storage or for display.
What you can tell from the above sales is that historic items from the World Series match-ups over time have value if they are tied to certain key games or certain players. If it is a generic ticket from a World Series with less than nationally-followed teams those tickets are likely to have a value to random collectors or regional collectors who want the reminder of a personal time snapshot in history.