Specializing in Fine Antique Golf Clubs and Historic Memorabilia

Lot # 1: The Personal Letters of Bobby Jones: 6 of 7 Signed Letters to His Personal Clubmaker, Plus Signed Pinehurst Score Card

Starting Bid: $15,000.00

Bids: 1 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Summer 2020",
which ran from 7/8/2020 12:00 PM to
7/25/2020 8:00 PM

The Personal Letters of Bobby Jones. 

Custom Bound in this exquisite, oversize volume are 11 “art mat" pages that frame and preserve seven signed Bobby Jones letters, nine 8 x 10 Bobby Jones photos, and a Bobby Jones/J. Victor East signed Pinehurst #2 scorecard.

The first item in the book is the Pinehurst No. 2 scorecard dated 23 March ’32.  Signed by Bobby Jones and J. Victor East, this card commemorates a match wherein East aced the 4th hole while winning a two-man best ball against Jones.  Afterwards Jones and East signed a few cards in the clubhouse, circling a “1” on hole number four.  In perfect condition, this card appears to have been stored flat and never folded. To read more about this scorecard—of which the article says only 2 are known—and Jones' visit to Pinehurst, click this link

In the volume's first letter, dated July 19, 1940 and written to Mr. E. S. Humphries, Jones gives valuable instructional insight, including a couple of fine points on how he struck a golf ball.  With this letter Jones included two items which are also in this lot:  a “Comments on Toe-Shot Sequence” document from the “Research Laboratory of A.G. Spalding & Bros” and a Spalding “Toe Shot Impact Sequence” photo that presents 8 stop-action frames of club and ball at impact.  These items are detailed and informative. 

The remainder of the volume contains six very meaningful letters. They were all sent to J. Victor East, the personal clubmaker and close friend of Bobby Jones for many years. (A picture of East in a 1941 article is shown in this lot.)

In his own right, J. Victor East is an important character in the history of golf.  It was East who recognized and then demonstrated to Jones that the face on Jone’s Calamity Jane putter had become warped. It was East who Jones entrusted to make six replicas, one of which (Calamity Jane II) Jones used to win the Grand Slam.  A second club made by East was used by Jones in winning the Grand Slam in 1930: a spoon stamped “J. Victor East, Special” now on display at Augusta National.

When Jones signed a contract with Spalding, Victor worked with Jones to create the first set of Spalding clubs to bear the Jones name. Seeking to duplicate the feel of Jone's hickory-shafted clubs but with steel shafts, the first Robert T. Jones Jr. clubs came out in 1932. Jones and East continued in their close clubmaking relationship until 1941, when Spalding let East go, another casualty of WWII.

The six letters from Jones to J. Victor East are as follows:

May 24, 1939 – The American Golf Institute letterhead.  Jones talks of the American Golf Institute’s efforts to grow the game. This appears to be a promotional letter likely sent to more than one person, hence possibly a Jones autopen signature.

January 20, 1941 – A.G. Spalding & Bros letterhead.  East had just left Spalding. Jones commented how he would “sorely miss” East and how he enclosed “a ‘To whom it may concern’ letter” in an effort to assist East in finding a new job. It did not take long. The letter about his "very valuable friend" of "high integrity" was glowing. It is not included in this lot, but is shown herein and reads in part "... Mr. East possesses knowledge and experience in the game second to no one. He has been a capable tournament player, a keen student of technique..., and an outstanding model maker and designer of golf clubs."

July 9, 1941 – A.G. Spalding & Bros letterhead.  Jones provides detail on Spalding’s shaft and clubmaking prowess. Likely a promotional letter sent to more than one person, hence possibly a Jones autopen signature.

Feb 20, 1946 – Robert Tyre Jones, Jr letterhead.   Jones had tried to get East a hotel room at Augusta, but with no success. 

April 29, 1953 – Jones, Williams, Dorsey & Kane letterhead.  East had just started work at a new company “Fawick Flexi-Grip Co." and had gotten himself in trouble with Jones, who was quick to forgive. 

November 6, 1961 – Jones, Bird & Howell letterhead.  Jones covers a bit of history regarding both of his Calamity Janes.  East was preparing an article about Jones and his famous putters for Golf Digest. East’s article was published, complete with pictures, in the May 1962 issue.

J. Victor East accomplished much in the golf world.  Born in 1886 in Elie, Scotland, East grew up in Australia. At age 13, he became Australia’s first apprentice clubmaker, working for James Scott at Royal Sydney Golf Club  At age 17, after the sudden death of Scott, East was made the pro at Royal Sydney. In 1908, he was the runner up in the Australian PGA Championship.

According to the June 1946 issue of Golfdom, East organized the PGA of Australia in 1908 and became its first Sec-Treas. East later became “the professional at the Royal Melbourne GC [1916-1922] where he conducted his own business of manufacturing golf clubs.  He made a world tour with Joe Kirkwood in 1921.”  In 1922 East moved to America.

Golfdom continues, “East became the professional at the Biltmore-Forest CC, Biltmore, N.C.  While there he, with Fred Newham, organized the PGA of the Carolinas and was elected its president. In 1924, he became pro, and subsequently mgr., of the Longmeadow (Mass) CC.  After that, until 1941, he was retained by A. G. Spalding & Bros. as golf club designer, divisional manager in charge of golf club production, and executive in the production department of tennis, squash, and badminton.” 

Victor was hired in early 1941 by Wilson Sporting Goods Co. as a consultant on research, manufacture and promotion in golf. An article in the 1941 issue of Golfdom notes, “East has been responsible for several important inventions in golf club design and construction, and is internationally known as an authority on golf equipment and pro business development." (Article w/East's picture is in the accompanying images)

Complete with a cloth-covered slipcase, this hand-tooled leather-bound volume measures 14 1/8&

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