Bonhams Chester include some interesting golf lots in their sporting memorabilia sale on February 24.
The eye of the unusual clubs enthusiast will instantly be drawn towards a curious c.1900 centre shafted putter in the shape of a two-faced hammer, stamped ‘G. H. Askew’. By an unknown maker, it is unrecorded in ‘The Clubmaker’s Art’, and Askew is not recorded as a professional; possibly it was for or by an affluent amateur. The club would almost certainly qualify as one of the ‘centre-shafted, mallet-headed implements’ banned by The R & A in 1910 (the ban on centre-shafted putters was finally lifted in 1959). Estimate: £1,800-£2,200.
A 1908 first edition of W.W Tulloch’s ‘The Life of [Old] Tom Morris’ is developing into a must-have for the collector of golfing books. Illustrated from 27 photographs, this idiosyncratic biography of Scotland’s most famous golfer, and winner of the 1862 Open by a record 13 strokes, is bound in the illustrated cloth so resonant of the Edwardian period. Realistically estimated at £200-£300, a presentation copy offered by Bloomsbury in January this year with an ambitious guide of £1000-£1500 failed to sell; all but the scarcest and earliest golf books are struggling in the current market.
An autographed colour photograph of Tiger Woods playing in a President’s Cup match caused me to ponder how the memorabilia market in the world’s greatest golfer might be affected by his self-imposed exile from the game. My guess is that if his absence from competition is a prolonged one (even permanent?), commercial appeal will only increase, if only on the simplistic basis that less signed material will appear for sale. Estimate: £150-£200.
Some of the best golfing collectables are found in the USA. PBA Galleries of San Francisco (pbagalleries.com) regularly hold golfing themed sales (and ship all over the world).
Their 18th February sale includes a limited edition set of Spalding golf balls in original box to celebrate Alan Shepard becoming the first man to hit a golf ball on the Moon on February 6, 1971. Each commemorative “Moon Ball” bears a
colour illustration of an astronaut about to swing at a golf ball, and “First Golf Ball on the Moon” is printed on the other side. In good condition, surely this can only get more sought after as the years go by; guide price (£250-£375 at time of writing).
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