The head on this golf club has an iron hosel and two iron plates, one forms the sole and the other forms the crown. Between these two plates is a block of wood faced with leather. The slip of material directly underneath it is typically ram's horn, but this slip appears to be something else.
Six rivets are visible around the perimeter of the top of the head. Each of these rivets extend through the head and are visible in the iron sole plate. Eleven nails fasten the leather to the wood face. The hand-crafted nature of this club is outstanding!
This combination wood and metal driver is most likely devised by John Hodgkin and covered under his 1893 British patent. The Clubmaker's Art 2nd Edition volume 2 page 353 shows this club and provides a detailed presentation. As can be seen, the purpose of the club was to combine the best of both wood and metal into one club. The steel exterior of the head provided durability in all weather and situations while the wood behind the leather face provided the feel that golfers were accustomed to. And that seems to be the case. The metal on this club shows significant use along the leading edge but nowhere else.
The 39 1/2" shaft in this club is a reshaft. Despite its short length, the club is clearly a driver. The head has little loft and its overall shape is correct. Even though its shorter-than-normal for a driver, the club feels well balanced and has a hefty head weight. It's entirely possible that the original club was the same length, as 39 1/2" is typical for a driving iron. Maybe this club which uses an iron hosel and head was made to play that role? The sueded grip matches up well to the period.
This is the only such club the auctioneer has ever seen. With a patent date of January 9, 1893, Hodgkin's combination club is one of the very first in the history of the game to incorporate metal into a driver head. The only patent that called for making a driver with metal head prior to Hodgkin's was William Currie's April 3, 1891 UK patent. While its shaft is not original, this club is extremely rare and historical. It beat hundreds of millions of metalwoods to the market including nearly all that were made during the wood shaft era. Plus you will quite possibly never see another one.
As mentioned, this club is the very club in TCA2. A signed copy of the page will be included with the club.
This club is second from the right in the top row of the group image.