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Who will start the bidding?

Gi’s auction-room expert, Kevin McGimpsey, selects the best of your recent letters, including a wonderful example of a Cecil Aldin print, a 1930s golf ball advertising sign and a rare Spinks of Leith patented wood

 

RARE SPINKS ‘SOCKET WOOD’

I am an avid reader of Golf International and always enjoy your regular slot on golfing memorabilia. What can you tell me about this small wooded headed club?
Simon McCullough, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Your wooden shafted club is, in fact, a Charles Spinks of Leith patented brass banded ‘socket wood’, and it was first made in 1895. Four years earlier, another Scotsman, Robert Anderson of Edinburgh, had invented and patented the socket neck wood, whereby the end of the shaft slotted into the clubhead. Until then, with traditional clubs, the scare (or splice) joined the shaft to the head and the neck was always the vulnerable area of the club with breakages being very common.

Socket woods continued to feature a ram’s horn insert to the leading edge of sole, a lead back-weight and purely decorative black twine whipping at the base of the shaft. Spinks progressed the Anderson patent by socketing the pointed shaft deep into the head and then bound the junction with a brass ring (as is clear in your photo) through which was hammered a rivet. Spinks was an advocate of mechanised club production and, as such, he designed state of the art club making machinery for his factory on Pirrie Street, in Leith, near Edinburgh. His team were able to produce clubs – all accurate in their dimensions and with a superb finish – in a relatively short period of time.

Spinks’ clubs were advertised as being ‘...the most Reliable and Farthest Driving Club in the World’ and it was priced at 5/6d or 6 shillings.

VALUE: Patented clubs remain popular with collectors and this one is rare. A similar club was auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York in September 2007. Estimated at £200-300 it sold for £350. Based on that valuation, I’d suggest your model would attract a similar figure.

LIMITED EDITION SUNNINGDALE PRINT

Could you shed any light on a Cecil Aldin print I acquired from my great grandfather. It is untitled but looks old. It is signed by the artist and is embossed with a Fine Art Trade Guild stamp.
Simone Laithwaite, via email

Cecil Aldin [1870-1935] painted six popular golf courses in the 1920s: St. Andrews; Sunningdale; North Berwick; Walton Heath; Westward Ho! and Royal St. Georges.

Not long after these commissions, Eyre & Spottiswoode published all six as limited edition prints in a series they marketed as ‘Famous Golf Links’. It was advertised that the plates would be destroyed after the printing. Sadly, it is unknown how many of each print was within the edition.

Our reader owns one of the Sunningdale prints showing two golfers and their caddies on a green surrounded by purple heather. Aldin has signed the print in pencil in the left hand quarter and this, along with the Fine Art Trade Guild stamp, indicates that it is from a short run of artist’s proofs; maybe only 50 or so were produced.

VALUE: Obviously the signed prints are more valuable than unsigned ones and at a golfing auction our reader’s print would have a catalogue estimate of £400-600 (unsigned £150- 200). It would be of great interest to a collector trying to put together a complete collection of all six prints or, alternatively, to a Sunningdale Golf Club member/enthusiast.

‘FLIPPER’ FAMILY BOARD GAME

I collect turn of the century (20th) board games and recently bought this golfing game, Flipper, at a boot fair for just 10p. Have I stumbled upon a bargain?
Victoria Scott, Linlithgow, Scotland

Remember the days before computer games, iPads and even television...? Well, in 1920s Edwardian Britain this is exactly the sort of game families would entertain themselves with. The game of Flipper was advertised as being ‘practically the game of Golf arranged for play on the table, discs used in place of balls...it is easily learned and at once becomes interesting and fascinating to golfers and non golfers alike of all ages...’

Up to four players could participate, each using a coloured disc and a flipper. Player 1 placed his disc on Green 9 and tried to flip the disc into the hole on Green 1 in the least number of ‘shots’; other players then followed

They then turned to Green 2 and so on until the whole nine holes had been played. The player with the least number of shots (or flips!) was the winner.

At no time in the course of the game was any green to be moved from the position it was placed in at the start of the game as it is the object of each player to skilfully manoeuvre his disc to avoid a green or obstacle that lay between his disc and the hole to which he was playing. If a disc did go down a wrong hole, it was to be replaced within 4 inches of that green and a couple of shots added to the player’s score.

VALUE: I’d say 10 pence represents excellent value! At auction, in this condition, this would sell at around the £20 mark.

HOLE-IN-ONE TROPHY

I read with interest your editorial within the Gi LifeStyle section (issue 112) concerning Hole-in-One trophies. The enclosed photos and copy will explain why...
Christopher Maltby, Basingstoke, Hants

Our reader had a hole in one at the 5th hole at Hindhead Golf Club in May 1970 whilst playing in a Stableford Foursomes competition. Normally that hole measured 398 yards but due to course re-construction at the time, the 5th had been reduced to 150 yards. Which explains the rarity of a hole-in-one on the 5th at Hindhead!

Our reader’s hole-in-one trophy was designed by a fellow Hindhead member, Reginald Liesching, who was a jeweller by trade. Liesching had been asked by the Hole-in-One Club to design a suitable trophy to show the ball that had been obliging enough to perform this rare feat. His design comprised a black plastic plinth with a curved arm to hold the ball (in this instance a Dunlop 65), topped off with a miniature flag.

Each trophy was manufactured from materials supplied at cost by men of the Scottish Institution for the War-Blinded at Linburn in Midlothian Scotland.

The Hole-in-One Club marketed and promoted the trophy and Golf Clubs were invited to purchase them for £3.50 each (out of which 50 pence was paid directly to the Institution). It was hoped that every golf club in the country would hold at least one trophy in stock, to be used as and when required. Even Henry Longhurst, writing in the Sunday Times, suggested that this should be recognised as the standard mounting with which to commemorate golf’s ultimate achievement.

VALUE: Although I haven’t seen many of these ‘modern’ Hole-in-One trophies, its value would, I’m afraid, be only moderate, due to its plastic content. When they come to auction, examples such as this sell for up to £25.

GOLF BALL ADVERTISING SIGNAGE

Could you please date and value what I assume to be point-of-sale advertising for the Leyland Rhythm golf ball company?
Richard Broad by email

The Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Company manufactured golf balls as an extension to their main business of ‘India Rubber, Asbestos & Waterproof’ manufacturers. The Company had two factories, one in Maryhill in Glasgow and the other in Leyland, near Preston, in Lancashire.

Their first golf ball was the Leyland Flier released in 1907. Our reader’s shop sign dates to 1930 and advertises the Leyland Rhythm golf ball, a ‘One Shilling ball with the Two shilling performance’. The cover pattern of the ball comprises mesh square dimples. Looking at the photograph, it appears to be in superb original condition and the colours are bright and strong.

VALUE: Very commercial in today’s market, and an item that would be highly appreciated by golf ball collectors. At auction, £100 plus...

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

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