Antiques Answer Man

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            Antiques Answer Man, Wayne Cameron--award-winning columnist-- answers your questions about antiques and fine art in the following articles. Feel free to read through them! They will be updated regularly. We would appreciate your feedback.

 

Golf Items--Good as Gold - Can playing the links be far away as spring trees continue to poke out their leafy heads? A good time for researching some older golf clubs I’ve been collecting, I thought, after speaking with a dealer colleague of mine, also an ardent golfer. The clubs I have sported hickory shafts with various maker names on the club heads. What I found out may astound you as much as it did me. Did you know that the right hickory-shaft golf club can sell for upwards of $30,000? Run-of-the-mill, non-descript clubs can be procured for about twenty to fifty dollars—quite a spread. Early golf balls can also be collectible. To garner substantial sums, however, they must be extremely rare. One from the late 1700s fetched $50,000 at auction. It featured a feather ball with an ink inscription made by one of the earliest Scottish makers, William Robertson. A hand-hammered, gutted golf ball by Andrew Patrick of Leven was estimated at over $30,000. Golf balls from the early twentieth century with rubber cores and the right maker still bring $2,000 to $6,000. Before you get too excited and start rummaging through your old clubs and golf balls, looking for your retirement fund, I want to remind you that early golf balls and clubs remain rare finds. I recently came across an aluminum head putter by a well-known important maker from Scotland made in the 1905 to 1910 period. In good condition, with its original leather-wrap grip, I discovered to my surprise that it was worth upwards of $300 to $350—almost the same price as a new custom putter. Early books on golf as well as other vintage golf paraphernalia also hold good value—items like ink wells, book ends and magazines before 1920. An auction house in England recently sold a pair of Bohemian glass vases from the late 1800s with lady golfers in enamel decoration for almost $20,000. Works of art with golfing themes have also gained popularity and can command substantial sums. Even posters depicting golf events or locations can bring a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. A poster promoting a golf tournament at St. Andrews in Scotland from the 1930s sold in England last year for just over $18,000. Small collectibles such as vesta cases for matches from the late 19th and early 20th century with a golf theme can bring thousands of dollars. A few years ago, a good friend and I attended a general auction where a small silver ink well in the shape of a golf ball with two crossed clubs on a footed stand came up for bids. When my friend paid $240 for it, I chided him and said his love of golf had made him pay too much for it. Years later now, I found almost the exact ink well in one of my books for over $2,000. Guess who’s smiling now? Yes, if it’s golf and if it’s old, it well may be as good as gold. I think I’ll hang on to those hickory clubs. -30-