Sporting auction is all ready to tee off with golf items

Important items from one of the most comprehensive historical golf collections are coming to auction next week.

They will go under the hammer Bonhams Sporting Sale at 22 Queen Street, Edinburgh, on Wednesday 24 October, at 10am.

One of the highlights is a striking, early golfing portrait, which has an estimate of £40,000-60,000.

The Portrait of John Campbell of Saddell, circle of Sir Henry Raeburn RA (British, 1756-1823), depicts an important figure in the development of golf in Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th century when the game was becoming widely established. Campell’s son – also named John – was a noted golfer, one of the founders of the North Berwick Golf Club in 1832, and appears in Charles Lees’ iconic Grand Match (Scottish National Portrait Gallery).

The Pierre Horwitz golfing collection covers the period from the early part of the 19th century to the 1920s, and concentrates especially on the manufacture of clubs and balls and rare patented designs of both.

Other highlights include:

A Whitman & Barnes ‘Willie Dunn’s Stars and Stripes’ golf ball from around 1897. This extremely rare golf ball is only one of 12 known surviving examples. Patented on 27 July 1897, it was the first golf ball patent in the USA.

The cover pattern, which shows the main elements of the US flag, was the inspiration of Willie Dunn Jr. He was a runner-up in the inaugural US Open in 1895, and immigrated to America from his native Scotland the following year. It has an estimate of £18,000-22,000.

Also for sale is a Leith Thistle Golf Club gold medal scorecard dated 4 May 1822.

One of the oldest surviving score cards in the world, it shows that the golfer – a Mr Logan – played the five holes within the Musselburgh Race Track twice, a total of 10 holes in 164 strokes. The scorecard, which once belonged to the famous golfer, Sir Henry Cotton, is in remarkable condition and has been mounted and framed. It has an estimate of £3000-4000.

There’s also a George Wees Wizard alignment rod putter, circa 1914. When extended to the rear of the putter, the indicator on the telescopic alignment rod enabled the golfer to place the putter for the putting stroke accurately, and to strike it perfectly. It is estimated to sell for between £4000-6000.

The sporting sale itself will take place at Bonhams 22 Queen Street, Edinburgh on Wednesday 24 October at 10.00 am.