US Masters special: the Top Five pieces of golf memorabilia

Tiger Woods marked his return to the US Masters with a thunderous drive and warm support from the crowd - amidst some boos, admittedly - Paul Fraser Collectibles takes a look at the Top Five pieces of golf memorabilia to crop up on the collectors' and investors' markets in recent months...

#5, Signed Tiger Woods PGA Tour baseball cap - $2,890

Despite his, ahem, "personal transgressions", the fact remains that Tiger Woods has had more career wins than any other active golfer - and he's closing in on Jack Nicklaus's Majors Record.

According to the Frasers100 Index©, which follows the 100 most traded autographs, the price of a Tiger Woods signed photograph has increased by 84.2% over the last decade. In other words, he is the world's rarest and most valuable sports signature.

This signed baseball cap is neatly signed by Tiger across the centre of the brim in black felt tip pen. In very fine condition, it is currently for sale to collectors priced $2,890.

#4, A "mystery" golf club from 1900 - £3,120

Bearing an unknown name and unlisted in 'the Bible' of golf clubs, a 1900-dated putter sold at Bonhams Sporting and Golf Memorabilia sale in February.

The club has an intriguing history. The maker is unknown and the putter is not recorded in The Club Maker's Art - aka "the Bible" of golf clubs. It was stamped AGH Askew, but no-one of that name is recorded as a professional - so the club was probably made either for, or by, an affluent amateur.

The club likely fell foul of the banning of centre shafted putters which followed Walter Travis' win in the 1904 Amateur, after which the golfing authorities barred their use for over a decade. It sold for £3,120 at Bonhams.

#3, 'One of the most magnificent books in the entire library of golf' - $10,200

Described as "one of the most magnificent books in the entire library of golf" by expert Joseph Murdoch, a large paper edition of The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf sold at PBA Galleries' Fine Golf Books & Memorabilia sale, in February.

The rarest and most desired edition of the classic tome, authored by Harold H Hilton and Garden G Smith in 1912, originated from the collection of John M. McClelland, Jr and other owners. It sold for $10,200.

#2, The finest Bobby Jones signed photograph on Earth - $13,145

The photo was on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Anaheim, picturing the golf legend at the majestic pinnacle of his powers in 1930 - the year he cemented his legacy as the world's finest linksman with a sweep of golf's "Grand Slam."

Featuring Jones posing with the gleaming treasures of those wins, the victory cups of the British Amateur, the British Open, the US Open and the American Amateur, the image is simply flawless and wonderfully large image sold for $13,145.

#1, Craig Campbell's portrait of Jack Nicklaus, 'the greatest golfer' - $18,000

In a career spanning a quarter of a century and 100 major championships, Nicklaus won seven major professional titles between 1962 and 1967, and continued to win major titles until 1986.

"It's hard not to play golf that's up to Jack Nicklaus standards when you are Jack Nicklaus," he once said.

Scottish artist Craig Campbell's portrait of Nicklaus brought an impressive £18,000 at Bonhams in 2006. Campbell has also painted Tiger Woods, and many other golfing legends.



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