Pan-Cal 1915-Rare ticket from the Midway—the Isthmus—at the Pan-Cal Expo
As many of you visiting our site for this sale know, I have been enamored of and a specialist in world's fair (and other) tickets since I began selling in 1979.
I cannot explain the fascination but it definitely started as a young boy. I would scavenge for ticket stubs wherever I could, Disneyland, ball games and so on.
I built one of the finest WCE ticket collections that sold for $40,000 by Heritage Auctions in 2008. I've come to realize as excellent as that collection was, I lacked dozens and dozens of rare and one-of-a-kind tickets and passes I've since acquired and sold in the 13 years since.
As an example, the John Kennel Collection which I have been privileged to have been selling for the past two years, had AT LEAST 40 rare tickets and passes I did not!
This is not the Columbian Expo but it does have a connection. The 1893 WCE Midway was the first "entertainment" section of a world's fair to carry that name and ever since it has been the dictionary definition of such things.
Like the WCE's Midway Plaisance (ironically a name for the area long before the 1893 expo rather than named specifically for the fair), the AYP’s Paystreak, the LPE’s Pike and the very unusual but aptly named “Isthmus” at San Diego’s celebration of the Panama Canal these areas are a highlight of every fair since 1893 and have been a part of our culture beginning then.
Names and themes have always been a bit confusing at some California Expositions. In this case, the Panama Pacific International Expo (PPIE) in San Francisco in 1915 was by far the bigger headliner, but San Diego wanted a piece of the action, so to speak, and held its own concurrent Expo, the Panama-California.
San Diego’sbeautiful Balboa Park was the site and the architecture was similar to San Francisco's fair. Both celebrated the long-awaited completion of the Panama Canal. For a bit of perspective, The PPIE’s 1915 attendance was 18 million; San Diego’s just 2 million.
For those of us quite thrilled with world’s fair tickets, this is a particularly rare one considering that there so few souvenirs from this fair exist; likewise even fewer tickets of any kind.
This midway ticket is a real treasure and unused in mint condition, as well. It's quite a rare opportunity to obtain a very rare and relatively inexpensive ticket. If it were a one-of-a-kind for a major fair it would easily fetch $500+. Unique WCE tickets have sold for as much as $3,000+.