We’ve been tracking golf book prices for a long time and find it amusing to try to gauge general price direction, which can be tricky. A good way to do it is to track prices of truly rare and unique items such as the 1863 book Historical Gossip About Golf and Golfers, by a Golfer. A Golfer was the pen name of George Robb.
If we follow the price progression below from the last twelve years:
May 1997 $9,200, missing original green wrappers
June 1998, $8,050, missing original green wrappers
July 2006, $18,400 in very good condition
January 2007, $18,300 in very good condition
February 2007, $11,500 in fine condition
August 2009, $13,200, in very good to near fine condition
When adjusting for the differences in condition, the price trend clearly indicates that in late 2006 and early 2007, prices were at their peak. We have seen this trend repeated with other rare and collectable titles such as the limited, signed edition of Bobby Jones’s Down the Fairway.
Like it or not, the price of rare golf books, like most things that are collectable, track the broader markets in the real world: the stock market and the real estate market. The reason is pretty obvious, with prices rising and people feeling good about the future, they indulge in the finer things in life like a quality golf book.
A ten year view of the stock market, above.
It should come as no surprise that prices go up and prices go down. We remain long term bullish on the value of scarce and collectable golf books that are truly rare. With the growth of big economies in Asia and the emerging markets, and a whole new generation of duffers taking up the game, demand should remain strong. The growth of the internet has made price transparency painfully clear. This has resulted in a big divergence between books that were thought to be rare but really are not and the genuine items.
Viewed in the long term, today’s bargain prices are an opportunity for a collector to pick up some rare golf books at favorable prices, before the next up cycle begins.