Golf Books – A buyer’s market!

The Jaime Ortiz-Patino collection of golfing memorabilia was auctioned off at Christie’s auction house on May 30th. Patino is most closely associated with Valderrama, a course that he brought Robert Trent Jones Sr. back to in 1985 to lengthen and redesign into one of the world’s premier courses. Christie’s marketed the sale in New York, Hong Kong and Dubai prior the London sale.

The auction included a large selection of artwork, clubs and balls as well as some books. Christie’s had predicted that the sale would bring in £2 million, but it realized only £1.8.  That’s US $2.8 million, putting Jimmy clearly in the 1% that many of the street protestors object to. The top three items in the sale were works of art, the highest being Sir John Lavery’s painting of North Berwick which sold for $376,350 (seen below).

We say it is a buyer’s market because the savvy purchaser could have snapped up some real bargains. H.S. Colt’s Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture with its rare dust jacket sold for $390!!! This book is worth at least 10 times this amount. Also, a copy of Bobby Jones’ Down the Fairway with the slipcase sold for $5,070, about half of what the book has traded at in recent years. Hillinthorn’s Your First Game of Golf also sold for 50% of the price normally achieved by US auction sites.

A 1743 copy of The Goff sold for $46,800. Although a difficult book to benchmark prices against because of its rarity and varied conditions, a 1793 copy sold for $80,500 in 1998 as part of the Joe Murdoch sale.

This rare Prestwick Rules book from 1873 achieved $2,340:

The auction also yielded some unusual results on the upside. Charles Blair MacDonald’s Scotland’s Gift was sold for $12,675, a price which is $5,000 more than a comparable copy we currently have for sale. Our conclusion after the Christie’s sale is that for sure it is still a buyer’s market with prices remaining cheap for those building a collection. It also reinforces our view that an educated buyer who does his or her research and is patient can build a nice library. And as the MacDonald book proves, P.T. Barnum was right!

The full results of the auction can be found on Christie’s website including prices realized.

The website of Valuable Book Group, LLC

About valuablebook

Valuable Book Group specializes in rare, collectible and valuable golf books. We are avid collectors ourselves obsessed not only with playing the game, but also its history and the literature of the game.
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