A 100 year old gutta percha golf ball found in a bed of rushes above a beach at St Andrews, will be in Bonhams next Golf Sale in Chester on January 27th. It is estimated that the antique golfball will attract bids of between £200 to £400 say Bonhams.
The ball was discovered when keen golfer, John McKay and his wife Margo strolled along the beach at West Sands, close to the 10th tee at the Jubilee course at St Andrews. After finding it they took the ball to the St. Andrews Golf Museum for identification and authentication. The assistant curator confirmed that it was a gutta percha `Mecca’ ball at least 100 years old.
Mr McKay, 78, said, “We were keeping our eyes peeled for stray balls as we strolled along the beach and when my wife picked it up I was pretty sure we had stumbled across a rare find. We took it to Bonhams in Edinburgh to have it valued and got a very pleasant surprise when they told us what it might make at auction.”
Mr McKay and his wife, from Leven, Fife are regular marshals at golf tournaments including the Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The ball is believed to date back to the 19th Century and was made by D. Anderson of St Andrews. Bonhams golf expert, Kevin McGimpsey says: :”This intriguing find should attract bids of around £200 to £400. It was only discovered because an exceptionally high tide moved the sand at the top of the beach at St Andrews and uncovered this old treasure of times past.”
Gutta percha balls, made from solid moulded rubber were first used on golf courses around 1850 replacing feather balls that had been used for the two previous centuries.
Bonhams hold two golf specific sales each year at their Chester saleroom.