After just watching the Titanic miniseries again, I had the following thought: were there scalpers on the pier selling real and/or bogus tickets for the Titanic? If so, what was the legal stance on such activities in Edwardian England?
I very much doubt it. The tickets were large and complex documents. I think, from copies, that they were around A4 size. They had a sticker attached to them, drawing attention to conditions on the back. I can't imagine some petty con man trying to duplicate them well enough to get past White Star staff.
Real tickets were not transferable, so they couldn't be sold, unless the buyer took the name of the original purchaser. Nobody would want to buy a ticket at a scalper's price when plenty of legitimate tickets were available at their original price. It would be more profitable to pick a few pockets in the crowd!
There was probably no "scalper's " market for real or bogus tickets for the Titanic since there were so many vacancies and hence available tickets through the usual channels ?
Richard Ward Sturges (Clifton Webb, "Titanic 1953") would have actually had no trouble in getting a ticket...especially First Class.. on Titanic and wouldn't have had to bribe the Basque couple to get aboard. LOL. Another nitpick : The Titanic wasn't exactly "booked solid" for the maiden voyage.;-)
>>If so, what was the legal stance on such activities in Edwardian England?<<
Probably much the same criminal sanctions would apply under British law for any attempt at forgery and fraud. That said, I'm with Dave on the likelihood of it even happening. There's just no reason to pay the inflated scalpers price for something you could get at a better price that would be legit.
Sporting events would be another matter, especially if it was The Game Of The Year, but that hardly applies to the Titanic.
>>Would it have been possible to purchase a ticket on Titanic at the last moment, or even if you could get on board and purchase a ticket on board...considering the number of vacancies ?<<
I'm specualting here but I don't see any particular reason why not. Shipping lines don't make money on empty cabins. Certainly upgrades were possible through the pursers office, but this isn't really the same thing. The problem, if any would be the need to have the passenger list squared away before the ship sailed so they may have had to close booking within a specific time before departure.
Since I may well be dead wrong, I await the input of somebody more knowladgable then I am on this.