Golf Collectibles, Vintage and Antique Golf Clubs
Photo: Early 1920s Cochrane’s Ltd Club sold for $11,250 at Sotheby’s from the collection of Jeffrey B. Ellis. The complete collection brought in $2,166,210 and set a record. Photo and info from www.Golf.com
I don’t know about you but all my friends here in Chicago can’t wait to get back onto the Golf Course. But, for me, it’s about this time each year that I start thinking about the money to be made in Golf items.
I visited a home a few weeks ago, and there on the wall were flags from Pebble Beach and Augusta, sign by the most famous men ever to ever hit a golf ball. My mind just went wild thinking about the value of these pieces. Golf is for sure one of the most watched individual sports of our time. Names like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nickolas, Gary Player and perhaps the greatest of all times Tiger Woods are recognized by people that have never been on a golf course. Why is this sport so popular? I think it is for several reasons, one of them being that anyone can play it, and I suppose through their frustrations with the game, they will appreciate how great these pro players are. Second, it is a sport where the best man or woman of the day wins.
Because of Golf’s popularity, it is only fitting that collectors want something from the great player of their day or from the tournaments that they have watch on television or attended in person. Can you imagine the wide variety of items to be collected by dedicated fans? Clubs, Bags, Shoes, Hats, Gloves, Shirts, balls, tees. If any of these are signed by the owner, such as Tiger Woods, watch out. These were personal items, but now let’s look at the famous coursesYou might want a flag from a certain hole where your favorite golfer hit a spectacular shot or they had a hole in one. Advertising for the tournament signed by several of the top pros playing in the tournament might bring you more than a fair return on your investment. I am sure that I could think of many more but you get the idea.
Many collectors want to find items that were used in the game fifty or more years ago, as a token of how these items have developed over the years, like clubs, balls, bags and shoes. But in my opinion, the real value to be found today is in things that are as modern as yesterday. You don’t have to find a feather ball or a wooden shafted club to claim a treasure. Just give me something signed by Palmer, Nicholas or Woods. I promise you, the longer you hold these items, the more precious they will become. And what I mean by holding it is waiting long enough for one of the pros to win the Masters, or unfortunately, the death of one of the Champions for these collectibles will shoot through the roof in value.
Most anything owned by the big three that I mentioned will bring a thousand or more. I am confident that if you were to find the right item, you could be talking in the $50,000 range or more. There will never be a shortage of collectors in the golf market.
I once attended a sale in the older part of Chicago, and from the look of the ad, I thought there might be some good stuff there. However, after spending 30 minutes in the house, I was ready to go away empty handed. Staying this long showed that I was desperate to find something to buy, because seldom do I stay at a sale this long. The exit was through the garage, and as I was leaving, I spotted a golf bag crammed full of clubs. I tell you the truth, there must have been over thirty clubs in that bag. I asked the price and was told $25. Not hesitating, I bought them without even looking at what there was in the whole lot.
When I got home, I discovered an old black and white pair of shoes that were just my size. I still have them. The pockets were filled with balls and tees plus several gloves. But the best discovery was a set of five woods made of persimmon wood and five putters. I showed a very good friend of mine these items because he is a real golf nut. He pulled out the strangest looking putter from the bag, and almost breathless said to me, “Do you know what you have here?” I told him I didn’t have any idea, and asked if he knew if that putter was worth anything. “Probably about $1,000 and maybe even more to the right person,” he told me. I wanted to ask him if he was the right person but didn’t. Later, I learned that the woods were also worth from $500-$1,000.
Yes, this could be a great season for you to increase your bank account by finding the right golf items.
If this might be an area of interest for you, start by learning the history of golf, and getting reference information and price guides. Learn which clubs are valuable, as well as what other golf items are valuable. A good reference book is Antique Golf Collectibles: A Reference Guide by Chuck Furjanic.
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