As the summer auction season winds down, we would observe that prices of quality golf books are on the rebound. August was an interesting month at many levels in our part of the world. We suffered from twin rarities in August, for this part of the world at least, an earthquake and a hurricane. As we look ahead to a productive golf season (our favorite time of year to play), we thought it would be interesting to reflect back on recent trends.
We wrote back in October 2009 that book prices had peaked in 2006-2007, along with almost every other asset class except gold, it seems. Based on our own recent activity and the health of the auction market, prices are clearly on the rebound, especially in the higher-end of the market and in quality, rare titles.
Two good examples:
The Masters Tournament written by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones in 1952 sold for $4,200 at auction. This rarity was prepared “in appreciation to those who have actively contributed to the success of the Masters Tournament…It also represents an effort to respond to enquiries concerning our tournament organization, its policies and its methods of operation” and rarely comes up for sale or auction.
The other spectacular book that sold was a special edition of 100 prepared by Charles Blair Macdonald specially for the founding members of the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, NY. Published around 1912, it is a small book at only 24 pages and contains a letter from Macdonald to the founders as well as their agreement establishing this world-class haven.
The price of this rarity? $9,600.
Although the above two books are so unique they don’t have good comparables, some good quality books with comparables do indicate the trend continues up. A limited edition copy of Macdonald’s Scotland’s Gift with the rare slipcase sold for $8,400, which was a nice jump up from a prior auction sale in 2009 when a similar copy went for $6,000.
Time to break out the champagne and start to shop around for a vintage Austin-Healey to tool around in? Probably not, but it is nice to rebound a bit.