Posted by Administrator On February - 23 - 2011

This is not what you think.  I’m not sending out another warning to be aware of counterfeit tickets being offered on places like eBay and Craig’s List. Although, to borrow a phrase from Hill Street Blues, and date myself in the process, “Be careful out there.” This is more a cautionary alert about ticket condition as the years tick by.
Many sports and concert tickets suffer from fading because they were printed using a “thermal” process. There are actually two types of thermal printing: direct thermal and thermal transfer. And, although, companies that use these processes claim that thermal printing can be “archival” in nature, I would be especially careful when displaying these items or when shopping for a particularly rare ticket item on the Internet.  Thermal printing is extremely vulnerable to bright light, contact with heat sources, and to a certain extent, age.  Ultraviolet rays from the sun, photo flashes, and even the overhead light in your home will, over time, cause the thermal printing on the face of the ticket to fade. In fact, thermal printing is doomed to some effects of fading over time regardless of your best efforts to protect the item. Remember how the old fax machine paper used to turn a muddled brown after a while? That’s one example of the downside of thermal printing.
Typically, thermal printing in the sports/concert ticket process involves so-called “point of sale” tickets. It’s designed to cut costs by not actually printing the date/section/row/seat information on the face of the ticket until it’s actually sold at the gate or by a third party vendor such as Ticketmaster or Ticketron. And, this includes Ticket Master-style tickets that carry full color team logos on the base paper; even if the paper portion is printed in the non-thermal “four-color” process, and even if special inks were used as part of the security process.  (FYI- you are less likely to run into thermal printing with a team’s “season” ticket booklets, but that’s not a guarantee.)
I mention all this because, in recent weeks, I have seen a number of tickets for sale on various Internet sites and auctions that clearly show the damaging effects of “thermal” fading of the ticket information.  A potential buyer needs to look very closely at any ticket he wishes to purchase for its keepsake value. It really helps if a buyer can make a visual comparison of the printing on two or more tickets on the web site. But, any obvious fading of the printed ticket information or browning of the paper should be a red flag to the buyer that this a ticket that has been negatively impacted by light or heat, or both.

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