Ticket Scalping

An American History, 1850–2005


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About the Book

Ticket scalping is as much an American staple as apple pie. Beginning as early as the mid–1800s, scalpers, known as “sidewalk men,” were charging all the traffic would bear for event tickets. Although these speculators were generally viewed as pariahs and public opinion was against the practice, legal attempts to limit their activities were far from successful. Boston enacted laws as early as 1873, while Pennsylvania followed suit in 1884. Still, such measures did little good since some laws were declared unconstitutional and, for the ones that were upheld, the fines were negligible with jail time rarely served. Over the years, as moral objections to scalping dimmed, the public became more tolerant as the practice became increasingly prevalent. By the 1990s, the capitalist mantras of free market and economic principles of supply and demand were even being used to justify the practice.
This volume details the ways in which scalping has changed over the years from a one-man business to an agency-controlled enterprise, from performances by Jenny Lind to Billy Joel. The book examines the general situation, public opinion and legal perception of scalping for four distinct periods: 1850–1899; 1900–1917; 1918–1949 and 1950–2005. Emphasis is placed on the ways in which public and legal perception of the practice has evolved over this period. Scalping, slowly gaining a more positive status, has become more accepted as part of the economic practice of free markets.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking, shoplifting and ticket-scalping. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2805-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1083-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. The General Situation, 1850–1899      3

2. Laws, Arrests, Police, Courts, 1850–1899      10

3. Scalpers, 1850–1899      18

4. War on Scalpers, or Collusion, 1850–1899      24

5. The General Situation, 1900–1917      38

6. Laws, Arrests, Police, Courts, 1900–1917      48

7. War on Scalpers, or Collusion, 1900–1917      70

8. Sports, 1900–1917      86

9. The General Situation, 1918–1949      96

10. Agencies, 1918–1949      105

11. Laws, Arrests, Police, Courts, 1918–1949      116

12. Government Probes, 1918–1949      134

13. War on Scalpers, or Collusion, 1918–1949      148

14. Sports, 1918–1949      158

15. The General Situation, 1950–2005      171

16. Laws, Arrests, Police, Courts, 1950–2005      179

17. Government Probes, 1950–2005      189

18. Sports, 1950–2005      199

19. Concerts, 1950–2005      214

20. Conclusion      223

Chapter Notes      229

Bibliography      243

Index      257