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Right, who will start the bidding?

In our very own version of the Antiques Roadshow, Kevin McGimpsey identifies, dates and values another mixed bag of your golfing ephemera, kicking off with these distinct golfing prints by the artist W. Dendy Sadler...

EARLY GOLFING PRINTS

These two old prints have been hanging in our pub for years. A visiting golfer told us they might be valuable, hence my email...
Eric Nicora, via email

The artist is W. Dendy Sadler (1854-1923), a well-regarded Victorian artist whose paintings featured rather severe looking golfers often with long side burns and beards. The print on the left is titled ‘A Winter Evening’ and shows a dedicated golfer cleaning and repairing his clubs ready for the next season. It was engraved and produced as a black and white print in 1914. The one on the right is always referred to as ‘A Little Practice’ and shows a keen golfer practising his putting indoors. Can you see the hole that he has drawn on the floor? It was first published in 1915.

As a point of interest there are two other prints in the series. ‘The First Tee’ features a golfer and his caddy preparing to tee off; it was first published in 1917. The other is called ‘The Stymie’ and was published in 1915. All four paintings were engraved by James Dobie and printed in black and white. Look out for an initial limited edition of artist’s proofs that were printed on rice paper and then laid on India paper. They were also signed by Sadler and Dobie in pencil. However beware that in 1972 there was a reproduction run and the printing included facsimile signatures of Sadler and Dobie. The best way to determine its age is to remove the print from the frame and gently use a rubber on the signature; if it starts to disappear it is the real thing!

VALUE: Sadler prints remain popular with golf enthusiasts and collectors and at auction they continue to fetch £150-200 each.

BOBBY JONES IRONS

Reading Golf International issue 104, I was interested in the Bobby Jones signature clubs. I have a set of Bobby Jones signature irons; they are not exactly the same as your ones as mine are England Pat. No. irons. I am enclosing photographs for your appraisal and valuation.
Eric Holyoake: Baldock Herts

Our reader’s set of irons date to the mid-1930s. They were made at the English Spalding factory under a British patent (No. 382248/29) as part of their very popular Kro-Flite range of clubs. The bold ‘Robert T. Jones Jn’ signature dominates the back of each club; the technique of fitting the shaft to the hosel was known as ‘cushion- neck’ and they have all been chrome coated (rustless) to ensure that corrosion is kept to a minimum. Although not seen in the attached photograph, each club face has a tight 9 dot pattern that would have indicated the position of the club’s sweet-spot.

What make this set of matched irons different from the ones shown in Gi 104 are the shafts; our reader’s shafts are metal and not hickory. In 1929, the R & A legalised steel shafts in Great Britain. Jones designed his signature clubs for A. G. Spalding shortly after his retirement from competition in 1930 and at first glance our reader’s shafts do appear to be made of wood. The shafts were covered with a coloured plastic Pyratone sheath to disguise them or ‘hood-wink’ the more traditionalist golfers into thinking that they were wooden shafted clubs.

Spalding only made a relatively few number (low hundreds) of wooden shafted ‘Robert T. Jones Jn’ signature irons but made thousands of sets with metal shafts.

And don’t think it is a simple matter of just removing the steel shafts and replacing them with wooden ones. The socket for metal shafts is much narrower than for wooden shafts and any mixing and matching is very easily detected. Currently wooden shafted clubs are popular with collectors/historical golf enthusiasts because of the ever growing number of Hickory Golf tournaments and competitions where steel shafted clubs are banned.

VALUE: Whereas a set of 8 wooden shafted Jones irons would fetch between £1,500 and £2,000 at auction, I would anticipate that these metal shafted ones would only get away for less than £150. It does seem rather ridiculous this difference in values but whilst there is little or no demand for steel shafted irons in the current collectors’ market, this disparity will continue.

CERAMIC GOLFER

Could I ask you for your valuation of the two golfing figures in the accompanying photo, made, I believe, in Czechoslovakia and dating from the 1930s. (Note: The caddy’s hand and the golfer’s head have been re-attached at sometime). These items were wedding presents for my partner’s parents in 1936. I think a relative worked for the importers in London.
Mike Sullivan via email.

These strange looking ceramic golfer and caddie were made by Amphora of Turn- Teplitz in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) during the 1920s and 1930s. Amphora was a leading European ceramics manufacturer and one of their more obscure ranges was of golfers and their caddies. They often sported inane grins and wore inappropriate rain or trench coats and outsized boots. Sometimes these figurines can be found without clubs in the bag and with variations in the decoration and colours. These all add to the fun in assembling a collection of Amphora golf figures.

Our reader has ‘come clean’ with repairs and, yes, they will affect the value. If you do ever come across one, do check it for cracks or defects. Cracks can be detected by black light/light bulb held near to area suspected of being damaged or repaired – the glazed area cannot be replicated. If you are suspicious then lick the suspected area and if repaired it will feel cold.

VALUE: These would be sold as individual lots in a golf auction. The tall golfing figure in perfect condition could fetch up to £800 but with repairs that would reduce to £500. The smaller figure on the right, again in perfect condition, would raise £500; with repairs £300.

2008 RYDER CUP PHOTOGRAPH

I was given this large (24” x 24”) colour photograph of captain Nick Faldo and the 2008 European Ryder Cup team posing with none other than Muhammad Ali. What can you tell me about it and what is its value?
Glennis Weaver, Bromborough, Wirral

This appears to be an ‘official’ photograph of Sir Nick Faldo sitting in a buggy alongside the greatest fighter ever, Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, January 17, 1942). Faldo was the non-playing captain of the European team at the 37th Ryder Cup Match held at Valhalla, Kentucky, in 2008. All 12 of his players are featured in the photograph and it would appear that Muhammad Ali has been a visitor to the Valhalla complex. Each of the team would have been given a photo but what makes this example unique is that Faldo has signed and dedicated the photograph, ‘To John many thanks’.

VALUE: Wouldn’t it have been terrific if Muhammad Ali had signed the photograph too? Even so, with just the Faldo signature it is a £100-plus item, although any future resale value maybe be adversely affected by the personal dedication to ‘John’.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

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