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A replica of a 1920s golfing toy, a pristine players’ badge from Sir Henry Cotton’s 1937 Open at Carnoustie are among items our resident expert Kevin McGimpsey casts his eye over this issue...


I have attached a photograph of a 1937 Carnoustie Open players’ badge and would like to know its current worth. We had it valued ten years ago at The Antique Road Show in York.
Andy Dowe, York

Following the abdication of his elder brother in 1936, George (VI) was crowned on May 12 1937 as the new monarch of Great Britain and its Empire.

It was a time of great rejoicing and excitement in contrast to the darkness cast by the abdication. The Lord Chamberlain’s office, whose responsibility was to sanction the use of the royal cipher, was kept very busy authorising (or not), for example, the many potteries wanting to produce extensive ranges of china ware decorated to celebrate the coronation.

Most likely the R&A approached the Lord Chamberlain’s office for permission to use the King George VI Crown in its elaborate yellow metal and purple enamel competitor’s badge for the 1937 Open Championship at Carnoustie. Up until that time, the competitors’ badges were plain card tie-on badges. In 1938, Britain was preparing for war and although the Open was played in 1939 and 1940, the competitors’ badges reverted to cardboard.

Card continued to be used at the first Open after the war in 1946 because of rationing and the prioritising of materials such as metal. It was not until the 1963 Open, having been revitalised in 1961 and 1962 by Arnold Palmer, that the R & A issued the competitors with round silver and blue metal badges.

(Sir) Henry Cotton won the 1937 Carnoustie Open. Some commentators remarked at the time that Cotton’s reception at the 18th was like a coronation. George was the new King but King Henry was the reigning Open Champion.

VALUE: All pre-war contestant badges are rare. There are other factors to be considered such as the venue, the champion, the number of contestants (in this case 258 players), exactly how old the badge is and its provenance. Carnoustie is, of course, a top quality venue, Henry Cotton was the best British golfer at the time and the badge is 70 years old. The only significant fact we don’t know is which player wore this badge. This one even retains its small original cardboard box.

Ten years ago such a badge was valued at £300. Today it would be double that at £600 plus. However buyer beware because there are fakes on the market!


I found this mechanical golf toy at a flea market last year. What can you please tell me about it?
J. Self, Milton Keynes by email

This clockwork toy is a modern replica of ‘Jocko the Golfer’ as originally made by the Ferdinand Strauss toy company in the USA in or around 1927. Our reader’s reproduction toy was made in Shanghai China by the Ha Ha Toy Factory and is a near-perfect copy, also using lithographed tinplate to resemble a golf course or green.

Strauss marketed their toy as being ‘A Dandy Game’ and there was a ‘Hint to Hostesses – Give a Play-Golf Party – It’s all the rage’.

As with the original, to play the game each player takes a turn at activating the golfer to stroke the ball toward the 9 holes arranged in a triangle at the far end of the ‘green’; the clockwork mechanism automatically re-tees the ball for the next player to have his turn.

VALUE: This toy is readily available on the Internet priced at £20 and, yes, it is an ideal gift for the golf player who has everything! Will it be a collectible in the future? Probably not but it makes a good alternative to the real thing which, if it was in a similar mint condition and with a crisp box, would be valued at over £400 plus.


I was clearing out the loft and came across a number of programmes and I would welcome a view on potential value.
Andrew Jackson, Huddersfield

As can be seen in the photograph our reader’s collection comprises modern Open Championship programmes that all appear to be in tidy condition, without tears or creased corners. Generally programmes from the early 1980s fetch at auction £10- 15 each (our reader has 1983 and 1984 top left); programmes from the 1990s fetch £8-10 and ‘blue cover’ programmes from 2000 to the present day only £6-10. Factors that will increase values include the daily Draw Sheets, course layouts and entrance badges as well as player’s autographs.

The 1991 Royal Birkdale programme has a draw sheet signed by Jack Nicklaus and the 1987 Muirfield programme has been signed on an early page by the winner that year, Nick Faldo so those autographs would increase the programmes by at least £30 each.


I have had these two wrapped (Great Britain?) golf balls inherited from my wife’s father. Any value?
David Crawford, Llandudno

Actually the ‘GB’ stands for Griffiths Brothers, a paint manufacturer based in Bermondsey in Essex during the 1920s and 1930s. The company also made golf ball paint and produced (for a short time) golf balls covered with their paint. Such golf balls were marketed as having, ‘Value, Flight and Durability’. They are relatively scarce and I believe that less than six mint examples have come to auction within the last five years. Our reader’s golf balls are still in their plain brown paper wrappers. He has described the cover pattern beneath and it comprises square dimples, as opposed to round dimples.

VALUE: Each ball is very collectible and is worth £80. The more common round dimple variant would be worth less at £40.

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine



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