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RIGHT, WHO WILL START THE BIDDING?

A mint-condition putting game from the 1920s and a book authored by one of the ‘Great Triumvirate’ are the stand-out items this issue as Kevin McGimpsey casts his eye over your letters

‘ROUND THE CLOCK GOLF’ – 1920s PUTTING GAME

We bought this eye-catching golf game at auction for only £40. It is in near-new condition, and I thought your readers may be interested in its origins.Roger Rickard, Edinburgh

This version of Round the Clock Golf was manufactured by P.S.P. Incorporated in the late 1920s. As can be seen in the accompanying photographs (above), the game comprises a large round tin containing red or white cast iron numerals from 1 to 12; four original mesh patterned golf balls; an internal insert card, a rules leaflet and several ‘let’s go round again’ score cards.

The tin’s lid reads: ‘The Perfected Outdoor Golf PUTTING Course for Home-Lawn, Field, Beach and Club’. P.S.P. marketed their game as being ‘The Perfected Lawn Course that PUTTS more interest and Enjoyment in Golf’.

Round the Clock Golf took off during the 1880s in Britain and was played as an alternative lawn game to croquette. The hole was placed randomly in the clock-face, so that the distance to the hole from any of the 12 tees were all different. The players would start at 1 o’clock, no further than the length of a putter’s head from the edge; record the number of strokes to complete the hole; continue round the clock 2, 3, 4, etc., until all 12 holes have been played; add the 12 scores together.

VALUE: Today the majority of outdoor golf games tend to be rusty and not particularly pleasing to the eye. That certainly can’t be said of this fine example, which appears to be in near-mint condition. Although called golf it is more a lawn putting game and will not be of much interest to the average golf memorabilia collector. It would make a suitable exhibit in a golf museum and at auction it should fetch between £100 and £150.

‘TAYLOR ON GOLF’ – SERIOUSLY COLLECTIBLE

Just wondered if you might be able to give a value on a first British edition J.H. Taylor book entitled ‘Taylor on Golf’. The book also contains a personally signed photo of the great man – it appears to have been signed in the 1920’s and subsequently attached to the book, which was found recently in amongst the eaves of our current clubhouse. The book is slightly damaged with a loose cover, having survived through the burning embers of our previous clubhouse which burnt down in 1985.Ashley Wood, Littlehampton Golf Club, Sussex

John Henry Taylor’s book, measuring 8 x 5½ inches, was published by Hutchinson of London in 1902. Comprising 8 lead-in pages followed by 328 pages, it has 48 illustrations from photographs specially taken for the book. At the front of the book is a plate showing ‘Taylor’s Grip’.

The green cover is decorated with gilt and the tops of the pages are also gilt decorated.

John Henry “J.H.” Taylor (19 March 1871-10 February 1963) was an English professional golfer and one of the pioneers of the modern game of golf. He was a member of the fabled ‘Great Triumvirate’ of the sport in his day, along with Harry Vardon and James Braid, and he won The Open Championship five times. He was also a significant golf course architect and in 1901 Taylor co-founded the British Professional Golfers’ Association.

Born into a working-class family, and orphaned as a boy, he began work as a caddy and labourer at the Royal North Devon Golf Club at the age of eleven. He became a professional golfer at 19, and was employed by the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club from 1899 until his retirement in 1946. The photograph stuck within the book has a dedication below it indicating that it was given to the Secretary of the Royal Mid-Surrey in 1921.

VALUE: Although not a particularly rare book it is important enough to be included within any serious golfing library. In near fine condition it tends to fetch £300 plus at auction (a common problem is fox stains on the pages and this will adversely affect value.

The Littlehampton book has a fire-damaged and slightly loose cover so this would decrease that value to around £200. However the signed photograph of the author is very desirable and will more than off-set that. ‘J.H.’ had a beautiful writing style and each letter in his signature is meticulously crafted by fountain pen in dark ink. It would be difficult now to remove the photograph without damaging the book. It will add £100 to the value of the book.

OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS... 35 YEARS’ WORTH!

I have attended the last 35 Open Championships and have kept the complete run of admission tickets. Are they worth anything?Katherine Polden, Portsmouth Hants

Yes they are. Our reader’s collection spans 35 Opens starting with 1978 and finishing with 2013. They appear to be all in good condition complete with their tie-on strings and really make a great display with their array of colours. Badge collectors and Open programme collectors would want these badges with the latter category always looking to add players’ badges to the relevant programme. Sometimes this is impossible to do often because those badges cost too much at auction so for many collectors these general admission badges would do nicely.

VALUE: Earlier admission badges from the late 1940s fetch over £150 at auction; badges from the 50s and 60s, depending on the venue, are in demand and collectors will pay £20-30 each. For this complete run of more modern day badges I would expect them to fetch at least £200 at auction.

SPALDING SILVER KING – AS NEW IN ORIGINAL BOX

Are these 1.62” sized golf balls still in their wrappers worth anything? G. Ballance, via email

This Spalding blue and silver twelve box of Silver King small sized golf balls was made at the Spalding Putney factory between 1959 and 1960. After several decades of being a prolific British golf ball manufacturer, the Silver Town ‘Silver King’ range disappeared without trace after the end of the Second World War – it remains a mystery as to what happened to the Silver Town Company (if any of our readers know I would appreciate hearing from you). It appears that Spalding bought the rights to Silver Town’s golf ball brands and for a short time manufactured Silver King balls. As a result they are relatively rare – especially in this condition.

Value: In their original box and wrapping, I would expect £150-200 at auction.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

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