Lot # 7: Tom Stewart FO/RTJ 11-Club Iron Set

Starting Bid: $1,500.00

Bids: 15 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Fall 2021",
which ran from 11/4/2021 11:00 AM to
11/21/2021 1:35 AM

Made by Tom Stewart, each of the 11 irons in this set is stamped "FO"—the initials of Francis Ouimet—and "RTJ"—the initials of Bobby Jones.  These clubs are steeped in history.  By the end of 1930, Tom Stewart, the St. Andrews cleekmaker who made most of the irons Jones used during his career, made a few "extra's" —copies modeled after the "backup set" he had made for Jones. Most of these "extras' were simply stamped "RTJ", but there was a small number that were also stamped "RTJ" & "FO". 

It is believed by some that, while Stewart sold a few complete sets, he used the RTJ-stamped irons as a carrot to get his various distributor/retail accounts to order more clubs. If a paid up account placed a healthy order, the account would qualify to also order one or more RTJ irons.

When Jones found out that Stewart was making additional clubs marked with his initials, he asked Stewart to stop producing clubs marked with his initials.  Stewart complied but not before a few clubs bearing Jones's initials made it into the marketplace. 

This lot includes 11 of those clubs, all stamped FO/RTJ in script. Assembled by the consignor, this set consists of a 1, 2, 3, 44, 4, 5, 6, 66, 7, 8, and Putter. The clubs are shown in this order left to right in their full length image, the last one with this lot.  The leather grips throughout the set match in color and style.  The shafts also match up exceptionally well in their progressive length (the 1-iron is 39" long) with the singular exception of the 7 iron, which is longer than normal.  The 66-iron in this set is the only club in this set that was made by Stewart but not marked with Stewart's name in an oval. It's the 66-iron shown in Ralph Livingston's book, "Thomas Stewart, Jr. Golf Cleek and Iron Maker."

When located by the consignor, the putter in this set had weight welded to the top of the blade. He was able to have the weight removed and the head polished to a normal and natural looking condition, all things considered. Part of the FO and RTJ stamp on the back of the putter was lost because the welded weight had covered some of the lettering.  Enough of the FO and RTJ remain, however, so the club can clearly be identified as an original FO/RTJ-stamped putter.

A set of Tom Stewart's Francis Ouimet/Robert T Jones irons is one of the rarest and most collectible sets of irons in the antique golf club world. 

TCA2 V1 P142-144

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