Specializing in Fine Antique Golf Clubs and Historic Memorabilia

Lot # 14: Allan Robertson c. 1855 Hand Hammered Gutty Ball

Category: Golf Balls

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 1 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Summer Golf Auction 2019",
which ran from 7/3/2019 12:00 PM to
7/20/2019 8:00 PM

Allan Robertson is considered by many to be a giant character in the history of golf. He has even been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Born in 1815, Robertson taught Tom Morris the art of making clubs and balls.  Robertson, however, worked primarily as a ball maker.  Located in St. Andrews, he was also known as the "King of Clubs," as he won a great deal of money playing challenge matches, and many during his day believed him to be the best golfer.  Robertson died in 1859, but not before being the first person to ever break 80 on the old course at St. Andrews. Today many consider him to be the first golf professional.

As a ballmaker, Robertson marked both his feather balls and gutta percha balls "Allan".  This early gutty ball, the oldest ball the auctioneer has ever seen with both vertical and horizontal hand cuts all around the ball, was made by Robertson. His "Allan" stamp remains only in part, but enough of it remains (the bottom of the first "L" and the concluding "LAN") that a clear and positive ID can be made that it was Allan himself who molded, hand-cut the pattern, and then painted this ball.

The ball looks to be unplayed/unused.  The original paint, however, is quite brittle and will chip off easily, as has happened across the past 165 or so years. Fortunately, around 75% of the original paint remains, as does most of Allan's name stamp. 

I have included an image of the cover of Kevin McGimpseys "The Story of the Golf Ball" and notice that the second ball on the cover, a smooth gutty, also has chips in its paint.  This is typical of the paint used on the earliest gutty balls as they remain today.

All in all, this is a great ball of major historical value.  Allan-marked Gutty balls are far fewer than Allan-marked feather balls. Furthermore, ANY hand cut gutty ball made in the 1850s is a true rarity let alone one made and marked by Robertson himself.


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