Christie’s summer golf auction tees off at 10.30 am on 10th July in South Kensington, London and offers the enthusiast and collector alike a chance to own a slice of golfing history. Over 180 lots of golf clubs, golf balls, silver trophies, pictures, ceramics and golf medals are set to go under the hammer, with estimates ranging from £25 to £16,000.
St. Andrews, the home of golf, remains a perennial favourite at Christie’s golf auctions and a draw sheet for the 1886 Amateur Championship golf tournament, the first to be held at the Old Course, is expected to raise between £3,500-4,500. The draw sheet comes complete with competitors names.
Contenders in the memorabilia section include a selection of fine silverware and other notable objects. Two unusual silver pieces by Sampson Mordan & Co., a scorer and pencil with an ivorine panel numbered 1-18 (estimate: £400-600) and a propelling pencil modelled as a scared-head golf club (estimate: £300-500), are sure to attract attention, as will a silver and enamel cigarette box by the well-known Birmingham silversmith W. H. Haseler, which is expected to fetch up to £1,200.
Other birdie opportunities for the golf enthusiast include a 9ct gold and reverse crystal intaglio swivel fob with the centre depicting crossed golf clubs, valued at £400-600, a photograph of the keen royal golfer, HRH Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VII) and Samuel Ryder attending the 1933 Ryder Cup Competition at Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club (estimate: £200-300) and a silver and enamel golf medal from St Nicholas Golf Club, the site of the first Open Championship in 1860, estimated at £1,000-1,500.
Golf club design and innovation has always been to the forefront of the game and the golf club section in this sale reflects this continuous trend to improve performance. A rare Brown Patent Roger Rake iron with seven upward tynes is a fine example; it was designed to cut effortlessly through the rough. With a short production life, this club is a rarity and is expected to fetch in the region of £3,000-5,000.
Further notable early golfing innovations include a Lilywhite one-piece driver and a centro iron by Gibson of Kinghorn. The Lilywhite driver, shaped from one piece of wood and therefore supposed to give the club extra strength, is estimated at £500-700 whilst the centro iron, with its curious head designed to increase lofting power, is expected to realize £600-900. Other highlights in the club section include a centre-shafted boat-shaped mallet putter (estimate: £600-800), an unusual aluminium-headed putter made by Robert Forgan of St. Andrews (estimate: £300-500) and – better known for involvement in the cricket world – an unusual scared-head putter made by John Wisden & Co., which may fetch as much as £500.
Pictures play a large part in this auction, with some excellent works on offer. Francis Powell Hopkins (1830-1913), the famous Scottish 19th century golf watercolourist, is well represented with Our Secretary, depicting Jack Morris, Mr Tweedie and Mr Amery at Hoylake in the 1870s, expected to fetch in the region of £12,000-16,000, and Patience is a Virtue, depicting Mr Cunningham and Captain James estimated at £10,000-15,000. Other highlights include Figures Golfing on the Old Course, St. Andrews by Tristam Ellis (1844-1922), estimated at £3,000-5,000, and Figures golfing on the Old Course St. Andrews, with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in the background by J Murray, which may fetch as much as £3,000.
Heading up the golf ball section, a feather-filled golf ball, circa 1840, is valued at £1,500-2,000. In very good condition, this boiled feather-filled ball is an excellent example of an early golf ball and leads the section with estimates ranging from £60-£2,000. The book section is particularly strong this year, with 19 lots on offer. A highlight of this section, The Book of the Banff Golf Club, dating from 1895, carries an estimate of £550-750.