The Who is getting headlines for a seemingly generous concert promotion: anyone who still has a ticket from their canceled 1979 Providence show can trade them in for tickets to a 33-years-late make-up date next February. But if you're one of the long-time ticketholders, don't do it! Tickets for next year's concert are priced between $57.50 and $127.50, which is significantly higher than the $14 the band charged in 1979. But if you happen to have hung on to the never-used tickets, you're probably sitting on a fairly valuable collectible.
"I can’t imagine selling a ticket to a concert that never took place, where most people tore them up or threw them out, for 50 or 100 bucks. It’s got to be worth more than that," Philip Weiss, who runs Long Island's Philip Weiss Auctions, told The Atlantic Wire. He didn't have a firm number for what a ticket to the 1979 Providence show is worth.
But, at the very least, other tickets and stubs for Who concerts from around that time have sold for around $50, according to the memorabilia site It's Only Rock 'n Roll. Others have gone for a lot more, such as a 1966 show with Cream that fetched $205.
The reason the 1979 show was canceled because of a stampede at the band's Cincinatti which killed 11 people, leading the state of Rhode of Island to shut down their date in Providence. It's macabre, but memorabilia associated with the event is even more valuable. An unused ticket to the Cincinnati show went on auction in 2009 with a starting bid of $300. We don't know how much it sold for, but the estimate was between $480 to $720 final price. So your tickets ought to be worth at least as much, if not substantially more, than the admission to next February's show.
"If I had an unused ticket I wouldn’t trade it in. I would keep it and spend the money on the other tickets," Weiss told us. "I would save the scanned ticket and put it together with the unused ticket, frame it up with maybe a nice photo of The Who, and you have a nice collectible."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.