Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1931-32 Ty Cobb Ledger Containing 132 Signed Personal Checks. In almost a century and a half of Major League Baseball history, just two men have hit safely more than 4,000 times. Neither was the most naturally skilled hitter in history however, perhaps not even of his own respective era. And each battled more than his share of personal demons, one teetering at the very edge of banishment from the game he dominated, the other famously plummeting beyond. Though they played in different leagues and in very different eras, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose were alike at the fundamental core of their greatness- an unrelenting, indefatigable pure force of will.

    When Ty Cobb grudgingly acknowledged his baseball mortality near the conclusion of the 1928 season, he would turn his attention and single-minded determination to financial pursuits, expanding his personal portfolio to the modern equivalent of $80 million by the time of his passing in 1961. It was the natural progression in a life which had always been structured around an almost pathological aversion to mediocrity, one surely instilled in him by his murdered father who had warned his son as he left for Detroit, just weeks before his own death, "Don't come home a failure."

    In the presented lot we can immediately detect that character trait which made Ty Cobb one of the most significant and controversial figures in the history of our national game. Like every pursuit in his life, Cobb undertook the maintenance of his personal checkbook with an unyielding discipline, matching every returned canceled check to the corresponding stub in his ledger, then gluing each into its proper place. On each page of three, the edges are lined up with military precision.

    The checkbook was rescued by our consignor's father from a pile of trash built outside Cobb's Georgia home in the immediate aftermath of a fire which all but gutted the structure. Three checks near the front of the book exhibit water damage from the efforts to douse the flames, leaving 129 fully executed checks to survive with only minor handling wear attributable to their intended function. All are filled out entirely in the Hall of Fame legend's hand, each concluding with his formal "Tyrus R. Cobb" authorizing signature. Of these 129, twenty-three are also signed on the reverse by Cobb, typically for checks made out to "Cash," adding an extra element of value and collecting appeal. More than twenty checks are made payable to various members of the Cobb family, most to "Mrs. T.R. Cobb," providing a signature variation of sorts, then another as Cobb entered that information into the proper field on the stub. As such, the occurrence of the hand signed surname "Cobb" approaches 200 within the volume.

    While an investment in this highly personal Cobb relic makes good financial sense purely from a mathematical standpoint when considering the sum of its parts, we believe the value as an archive exceeds that total. Cobb checks are one of the hobby's most reliable commodities, the sports collectibles equivalent of bearer bonds, but while they exist with little scarcity, the same certainly cannot be said of a bound volume such as this. We won't hesitate to call it the most intriguing Cobb autograph hoard to surface in the collecting hobby. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication. Full LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Note: We expect this lot to come up for auction at approximately 11:15 am Pacific Time. Lots are planned for approximately every 15 minutes but could vary and be faster or slower. Check to track the progress of the auction.

    This event is a special auction being conducted by Heritage Auctions for an ABC TV television pilot starring
    Ty Pennington and produced by Cineflix (Auction) Inc. The auction will operate differently than a typical
    Heritage auction.

      Please take note:
    1. The auction will proceed at a significantly slower pace than a normal Heritage auction, so bidders will need to be patient and understand there may be abnormal bidding, as further indicated below.
    2. Some lots will open for bidding during the live auction at levels lower than our bidding protocol would normally dictate (i.e. the next increment over the second highest bid). In those cases our staff will place bids during the auction as proxies for the Internet high bidder, and certain absentee underbidders until the bid reaches the then current high bid at the start of the live auction. As such, if your bid is the high absentee bid, please do not bid against yourself from the floor, phone, or on Heritage Live.
    3. In all cases, the highest absentee bid wins ties over any live bid.
    4. In some cases proxies may bid up to one bid below an undisclosed reserve, but never above that amount.
    5. If a lot fails to reach a reserve, it will be recorded as a no sale, just like all Heritage auctions.
    6. All other non-conflicting terms and conditions of sale remain in full force and effect.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    16th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 33
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,257

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Apr 16, 2011 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 February 19 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search