You can just imagine the discussions at the publishing house. “Well, let’s not publish a book with a traditional cover, why don’t we cover it with something that won’t last”. This month we focus on golf books that were published with some unique materials. Although they probably seemed like a good idea at the time, these unique items have not stood the test of time. The materials that these books were made from have not always proven durable over the long term. The good news for the collector with a keen eye is that if you can find one of these gems, you have made a real discovery, especially a copy in its original state.
Spider-web see through cover
The 75 Year History of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, 1891-1966, written by Ross Goodner is a rare enough book in its own right. The book was produced in a limited edition of 500 and as a history of one of America’s elite courses, it is a collectable and desirable book even without the cover. What makes the book truly unique is the translucent glassine cover that has a spider-web motif to it.
As with most of these unique items, over time the covering has proven to be so fragile that it often fell apart, was damaged or was lost. A copy with the unique covering still present typically is worth $500-$1,000 more than a copy without it. Having handled several copies of the book with the wrapper present over the years, we can personally attest to how fragile and prone to mis-handling it can be.
Burlap is not just for sacks
An A.B.C. of Golf, by a Victim a pseudonym for Dewitt C. Falls, is one of a handful of American golf books published in the nineteenth century. This rare book, published in 1898 is covered in burlap, an unusual material to cover a book in.
The cover is saddle-sewn with red rope inside the original pictorial burlap covers which have red and blue stripes and a color pictorial label on the front cover. The cover itself actually wears fairly well. The binding has generally proven to be less resilient, due to its weak construction.
The Duffer’s Handbook of Golf by Grantland Rice and Clare Briggs was issued in a signed limited edition of 500 hand-numbered copies in 1926. The red plaid wool cover has generally not stood the test of time. The cover is often in poor condition due to moth or insect damage or it is torn due to its delicate nature.
The cover of the book also has a paper label attached to the front and spine. This book was originally published with a green cardboard box, also with a paper label attached. The box was also very fragile and is almost never seen. The book was also issued in a standard trade edition in 1926 with a traditional dust jacket and no cloth on the binding.