A collection of rare and historic golf memorabilia, much of if hailing from the Philadelphia Private Golf Collection, is expected to bring in more than $500,000 when it is offered on Nov. 11 as part of Heritage’s Vintage Sports Signature Auction. Featuring a quartet of early Bobby Jones amateur medals – including his 1919 Southern Golf Association Open Runner-Up Silver Medal, one of the earliest pieces of Jones memorabilia ever made available to the public – and Walter Hagen’s 1925 PGAChampionship Medal, the grouping is the best of its kind ever auctioned, according to the auction house.
“This is the finest selection of treasures from golf Hall Of Famers ever offered to the public,” said Mike Gutierrez of Heritage. “It’s especially heavy with pieces connected to the great Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, probably the best loved players of the early 20th Century.”
The four Bobby Jones Amateur Golf Medals in the auction, all of which originate from his estate, include the above-mentioned 1919 Southern Golf Association Open Runner-Up Silver Medal, from a tournament in which the 17 year-old Jones finished second by a single stroke to professional Jim Barnes, a PGA and U.S. Open Champion. It is estimated at $10,000+.
The rest of the quartet consists of Bobby Jones’s 1920 Western Golf Association Amateur Medal, reading “1920 Semi-Finalist Won by Robert T. Jones Jr.”, his 1921 Western Golf Association Open Silver Fourth Place Medal, reading “1921 Fourth Place Won by Robert T. Jones, Jr.” and his 1922 Southern Golf Association Team Amateur Medal, reading “Member of Winning Team, Amateur Championship Event, June 1922, Won by Robert T. Jones Jr. Of.”, all of which carry pre-auction estimates of $10,000+.
Walter Hagen was one of golf’s most colorful and mercurial characters, and the auction’s top Walter Hagen lot, his 1925 PGA Championship Gold Medal – one of the 11 majors he won in his storied career – carries a pre-auction estimate of $40,000+ and comes with a story that is worthy of the great champion’s reputation.
“It seems that Hagan left this 1925 PGA gold winners medal as collateral for a liquor bill in Palm Springs, CA,” said Gutierrez, “and he never returned to reclaim it. I guess when you have four others at home you don’t miss one that much, or at least Hagen didn’t.”
Other Hagen treasures in the auction include his 1916 Shawnee Open Winner’s Gold Medal, 1916 Metropolitan Open Championship Gold Medal and 1920 Metropolitan Championship Gold Medal, all of which are estimated at $10,000+, along with Hagen’s 1929 British Open Championship winning and Ryder Cup used golf bag, one of the most extraordinary Golden Age golfing artifacts to ever surface, carrying a pre-auction estimate of $20,000+.
One of the auction’s most extraordinary and rarest collectibles is a circa 1790 massive Bunker Iron, the very existence of which is a testament to the enduring quality of the club’s craftsmanship and the extraordinary history of the game of golf. It is estimated at $40,000+.
“Because clubs like this one were specially made by a blacksmith, they were quite expensive and few were made in the earliest days of golf,” said Gutierrez. “For this reason very few remain today, with approximately 70-75 in existence today dating prior to 1830, the majority of which are primarily owned by old Scottish or British golfing clubs, or else reside in golf museums, making this an incredible opportunity for a smart collector.”
Further highlights of the auction include a 1910s-20s Francis Ouimet Tournament Used Putter (estimate: $10,000+), Bobby Locke’s 1952 British Open Gold Championship Medal (estimate: $40,000+) and an array of great material ranging from memorabilia belonging to Edward VIII – The Duke of Windsor, along with gold medals from Paul Runyon, Jess Sweetser, Bobby Jones’ Personal Photograph Album from his estate, rare 19th century golf balls and golf porcelains and sterling silver awards.