Babe Ruth to Ty Cobb, Elvis to Muhammad Ali in Memory Lane’s First Own it Now Catalog

A bevy of Babe Ruth autographed items, including one of the best Ruth-signed baseballs known, graded PSA/DNA 9. An ultra-rare 1912 Colgan’s Chips Ty Cobb baseball card. A near mint set of 1911 Mecca Double Folders. A canister of Elvis’ hair. Ultra high-grade vintage sports cards join rare sports and Americana autographs and memorabilia in Memory Lane’s inaugural Own it Now catalog.

The company’s new venture, featured in an exclusive color catalog and online, premiered October 27, and offers the chance to choose from 140 lots of some of the finest sports memorabilia in existence. You can pay the asking price for one of these treasures…or make an offer and take your chances.

“These are all items that you don’t see every day,” said Memory Lane’s J.P. Cohen. “The idea of Own it Now is to take the risk out of selling an item or a set through an auction. For the buyer, it’s a chance to own something really nice without having to bid on it.”

The event has brought out items that are normally only seen in major auction catalogs, including some of the best vintage sets on PSA’s Set Registry, several one-of-a-kind high grade single cards and some autographs of sports’ most famous icons like Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

For the first two weeks, items in the catalog will be available at a set price. Once that time is up, any unsold items will be open to offers, which Memory Lane will relay to sellers who will then decide whether to accept. “It’ll be an interesting dilemma for buyers,” said Cohen. “If I wait, will I get this or should I pull the trigger to avoid the risk of missing out?”

Among the headliners is a 1935 National Chicle football set, rated second best in existence with one PSA 10, 13 cards rated 9 and a large number of 8s including the tough Bronko Nagurski card. Its Own it Now price is $285,000.

There is an official American League baseball signed on the sweet spot by Babe Ruth. The signature grades a 10; the ball an 8 for an overall grade of 9. The ball carries an Own it Now price of $175,000.

Vintage card collectors will see the #2 rated T201 Mecca Double Folders set offered. Carrying an average PSA grade of 7.96, the 50-card, 100-player set includes 46 at PSA 8 or better. The popular Double Folders were issued in packs of Mecca cigarettes and are one of the most beautiful and highly desired pre-War sets.

One lot in the catalog is described as the “world’s best Bobby Jones collection” and it’s hard to argue with that claim. The lot includes mint examples of the 1932 U.S. Caramel card of the iconic golfer, a 1933 Goudey Sport Kings, a 1926 Lambert and Butler and a 1927 Churchman’s Famous Golfers among several others.The collection of 1920s and 30s cards carries a price of $195,000.

In addition to the high grade signed baseball, other Babe Ruth items offered include a 1928 dual signed Ruth and Lou Gehrig official AL baseball, a mint rated 1933 Goudey Ruth #181 ($75,000) and a PSA 8 Ruth ($19,500).

There is a rare 1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson store display ($85,000), the only PSA 6 1914 Cracker Jack Jackson ($36,500), a 1914 Cracker Jack Honus Wagner ($11,000), a 1911 T205 Walter Johnson (none graded higher–$49,500), a rare 1912 Colgan’s Chips Ty Cobb–the only one ever graded by PSA ($14,000), a 1952 Topps Willie Mays (PSA 9), 1952 Topps Eddie Mathews in PSA 8 and numerous PSA 9 and 10 Hall of Famers from all sports. Own it Now prices range start at $1,000. Brands represented include Goudey Heads Up, Diamond Stars, Bond Bread, Redman, Hires and others.

Other vintage sets coming to market include a 1963 Fleer set of 66, rated #2 on the PSA Registry ($35,000) and a 1941 Play Ball set with 70 8s, one 8.5 and one 7 ($55,000).

Collectors of modern era cards will see the current holy grail in the form of a 2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor Albert Pujols auto that is appropriately numbered 5 of 500 ($10,000).

Football card collectors will see a 1948 Leaf card of Sid Luckman, with yellow background, one of just four at the PSA 8 level with none higher as well as numerous other ‘48 Leaf cards.

There are several original photos including Ruth, two cancelled checks from Michael Jordan, including the only known dual-signed Jordan check and a 2005 Derek Jeter game-worn jersey.

Among the Americana lots is a framed document signed by Abraham Lincoln, a huge lot of over 300 Errol Flynn signed checks, a signed gas receipt from Madonna, a John Gotti signed, cancelled check and a canister of Elvis Presley’s hair that once belonged to the barber of the King of Rock ‘n Roll.

“We’re excited about this,” Cohen said. “It’s a great complement to our regular auctions and brings a lot of really great memorabilia into a different type of marketplace.”

To receive a free copy, contact Memory Lane at 877.606.LANE (5263) or visit the company’s website,

About Steve Cyrkin, Editor

Steve Cyrkin is the editor & publisher of Autograph, and focuses mostly on forgery, market and consumer protection issues.


  1. We are cleaning out our boxes of items to purge for a move. I have a photo of Tony Butala, from The Letterman, signing my concert program from March, 1975 at The Front Row in Cleveland; an autographed copy of Pat Schroeder’s autobiography; an autographed from Rosie O’Donnell from her now defunct talk show; an autographed photo of all of the The Spice Girls from their heyday, as well as the Barbie-like dolls that were sold (although our daughter played with them); an autographed card from President Bill Clinton (I think it is an original signature); a letter from Mario Cuomo when he was governor (I wrote to him in an effort to encourage him to run for President, and he wrote back); a photo of my parents with Mario Cuomo at a function they attended after my letter writing episode; M&Ms from President Clinton’s inauguration party (not signed, but not opened); an email from Michael Moore’s staff, asking if they could use my email in a book he published and a copy of the published book with my email in it (I would be happy to sign it – haha); most impressive is something that Elvis wrote to my grandmother before he was famous, but there is a longer story behind that piece and I don’t know if it is authentic. As I find more items, and I am sure I will, I will make inquiries, but this is all for now.

  2. I recently inherited multiple Ty Cobb items including the Conlon photo as well as two other photos, one that is similar to the Conlon photo and one that is a 8×11 head shot. The Conlon photo is signed. The other two are signed personilized to my father. There are also multiple letters from Mr. Cobb to him or his mother, just personal letters on his stationary. Unfortunately the autograph is cut out of all but one. On the back of the photo similar to the Conlon photo he wrote to my dad explaining that the photo was proof he was not a spiker and that the writer from “Phila” was a man of drink and a sarcastic writer.

    Anyway, any opinions on the value?