Frequently Asked Questions
I found some old clubs in the attic. Are they worth anything?
They have a value because they tell us something about the social history of a certain period, about patterns of leisure and, from the markings on the clubs, manufacturers, retailers and trade. There may even be more personal value to you if the clubs belonged to a family member. If they are Scottish you may find evidence of a Scottish ancestor working in all corners of the globe with markings on the club such as Royal Calcutta G.C., or Shanghai G.C. or Nairobi being quite common.
But will they make me rich?
So that's what you meant by worth. The answer is probably not, but you never know ! The clubs commonly collected now are wooden, generally hickory-shafted, ones. So if it is metal-shafted, even if painted or coated to look like wood, you are unlikely to find a buyer today. If time is on your side, hold on to it - remember the Ford Edsel.
Yes, it is wooden-shafted, so can I retire on the sale proceeds?
If it is eighteenth century or even early nineteenth century you probably could (provided you don't plan on living too long). These clubs are extremely rare and fairly easy to recognise. They have a long wooden head (long nose being the prevalent collectors term) and look fairly fragile - because they only needed to bash a feather-filled ball about the course. If this is what you've found, congratulations. Most probably, though, you will have found a club made between 1890 and 1935.
Some things will tell you immediately if it is a common, mass-produced club:
- Yardages or iron numbers stamped on the back of the head
- Most (but not all !) of the clubs with American retailers' or common US manufacturers'
names stamped on the head (e.g. MacGregor, Burke, Columbia, Wright & Ditson)
- Stainless steel or chromium-plated heads
What features might make them valuable?
Items have a value because people want to collect them and the psychology of collecting and collectors is like most human psychology - extremely weird. Scarcity is obviously a factor in making anything collectable as is quality: makers like Morris, Park, Forrester and Forgan were expert craftsman - their products were valued by players of the day and are valued for that same craftsmanship by collectors today.
Beyond that, every collector has his or her own fetish. Ladies clubs or left-handed clubs are scorned by some but the only interest of others. Some specialise in particular clubs, jiggers or putters, for instance, or certain makers which may be as a result of family connections or geography as well as quality of workmanship. Interesting face patterns on irons (the so-called pretty-face clubs) have a large following and generally mean a higher financial value for a club but, then again so does a completely smooth iron face - it probably indicates a relatively early club.
I thought answers were supposed to clarify, now I'm completely confused.
The general principle of collecting is that someone, somewhere will want what you have whether as a valuable acquisition for their museum, a prize for a company golf tournament or a fence post. If you want to sell your club or clubs, you can use our auction facility on this site. Given the number of people who visit our site and, we presume, all interested in antique golf collectibles, you stand a good chance of finding a buyer.
Will you buy my clubs?
Probably not but someone else visiting the site probably will. Use the online auction section to reach a huge audience cheaply and effectively.