How do I know if Antique Golf Clubs are valuable?

You may know the feeling. You are in your attic, and you spot some very old golf clubs that perhaps were owned by your grandpa. You look at them and wonder if they are of value. How do you know if they are?

Antique golf clubs have a value because they instruct us on a certain period's social history, leisure patterns and the trade, retailers and manufacturers of that era. They may be of value to you as they belonged to an old family member. You could find for instance clubs with markings from Shanghai Golf Club or Nairobi - giving you evidence of a Scottish ancestor that worked around the world.

If you want to find out their value to see if they make you rich, then we should tell you that the answer is that they probably will not, but you can always try. What discerns whether you get money for them is whether they are collectible. The clubs that are collected are those that are wooden and have hickory shafts. If the club has a metal shaft, even if it has been painted or coated so it looks like wood, then you are not likely to be able to find a buyer for it. But keep them, as something like that could become collectible in the future.

So, if you have found a wooden shafted club, the next thing you will want to know is how much you can get for it. The answer is that if the club is from the 18 th century or very early in the nineteenth century then you are onto a winner. These are easy to recognise as they have a long nose or long wooden head and will also seem very fragile. These rare clubs just had to hit a feather-filled ball so didn't need to be very strong.

Should you find a club manufactured between the late 19th century and early 20th then it is likely to be rather common and mass-produced. You can tell if it is common if there are iron numbers or yardages on the back of the head or an America manufacturers' (e.g. MacGregor) or American retailers' name on the back. If it has a chromium-plated or stainless steel head it is also likely to have been mass-produced.

Scarcity is a factor that makes something collectible. Quality is also important - look for makers names like Park, Forrester, Morris or Forgan. They were quality craftsmen valued by players of their time. Ladies and left-handed clubs may be ignored by some and valued highly by others. Certain specialist clubs like putters and jiggers may be the fashion.

Ultimately, it is about the psychology of collecting. Your timing could be perfect, or it may be completely out.

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