Global Edition

Golfing history for sale

12.10am 10th July 2002 - Salesroom & Memorabilia

Historic golfing memorabilia will get bidders in full swing when more than 700 lots of fine and rare golfing memorabilia are auctioned on Monday, 15th July in a sale at Bonhams in Chester timed to coincide with The Open.

The present Bonhams company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale. Colin Palmer, who was the Phillips golf expert and based in Chester, will be in charge.

The putters range in value from £80 upwards. A Hugh Philp long-nose putter, circa 1840, made from thornwood and originally part of the David Stirk Collection, will be sold with a hand-written description from Mr Stirk, a world golf authority, and a certificate of authenticity. This putter is estimated at £3,000-5,000.

An elegant playclub dating from the 1860s, named after John ‘Jack’ Walker, an employee of Willie Park Jnr, one of the greatest golfers of the 19th Century, is a typical example of the ‘Walkers’ that have become increasingly sought after over recent years (£1,500-2,500).

A first edition ‘Carnoustie Golf Links Bazaar Book’ dated 1892 (£2,500-3,500) is also highly collectable. This legendary course is one of the oldest in the world. Some say the game of golf was being played at Carnoustie before Columbus had discovered America. The preface, by William Caesar, of Rowanbank, Carnoustie, was written in 1892 and describes the contents as a reprint of ‘The Full and Interesting Report’ which appeared in the Dundee Advertiser.

Another significant publication is ‘The Golf Book of East Lothian’ by the Reverend John Kerr, printed in an edition of 250 and signed by the author. To add to its value is a two-page letter attached to the inside board in the author’s handwriting addressed to the Rt. Hon. Lord Balfour of Burleigh and dated 21st October 1897. This item is unique and is estimated at £1,800-2,200.

A selection of golfing trophies will include an electro plated nickel silver tray (£800-1,200) presented to Harry Vardon by the South Herts Golf Club, of which he was one of the most famous members, to honour his sixth win in the Open Championship. A silver tray won by J. E. Laidlay is equally noteworthy. The tray was presented to Laidlay, who dominated the Amateur Championship for seven years, on 25th September 1885 and is expected to fetch £1,500-2,500.

From a comprehensive selection of paintings and drawings is a portrait of a Dutch boy golfer, an oil on canvas by an unknown 19th century artist, which is estimated at

£6,000-8,000. After the original 17th Century painting by de Geest, now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the painting to be sold by Bonhams was originally owned by Lord Riddell, proprietor of ‘The News of the World’ newspaper at the turn of the century.


In related news... (GBN) is for the many thousands of people who work in the golf business all around the world.

We cover the full range of topics both on and off the course. We aim to supply essential information both quickly and accurately in a format which is easy to use. We are independent of all special interest groups.


Click here to sign up for our free twice weekly golf industry news summary

View the latest newsletter here