A Masters Trophy presented retroactively to Arnold Palmer sold at auction for $444,012 early Sunday. It’s second only to Horton Smith’s 1936 Masters jacket among the most expensive pieces of golf memorabilia ever sold at auction.
Green Jacket Auctions sold the trophy, which has an odd story.
The “clubhouse trophies” were created for Masters champions in 1993 and Augusta National Golf Club allowed past champions to buy the same type of trophy for each of their wins at a cost of about $17,000 eleven years ago.
Palmer won the Masters four times—in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964 and his company has possession of three of the trophies. Palmer died in September at age 87.
Bay Creek Resort had planned to open a golf museum on its property in Virginia where Palmer had designed its golf course. About a dozen years ago, Palmer agreed to let the company purchase and display the fourth trophy there but financial and legal difficulties scuttled the project. In a statement, Palmer’s family explained what happened next.
“Ultimately, these owners did not build the museum and, instead of sending the trophy to Arnold, the owners sold the trophy to a third party without notifying our family. As a result, this trophy is now being sold again in this auction, which is extremely disappointing to our family.”
“It was always Arnold’s intention that this trophy would be placed in an appropriate museum or institution with which he was personally associated. We hope that the winning bidder in this auction will allow the trophy to be publicly displayed so that it can be appreciated by fans of Arnold Palmer for years to come.”