In days past, in my opinion a number of irons that date to 1850-1875 or newer have been presented at auction or sale privately as being from the 1830s or before. This iron, however, is a genuine heavy iron that dates c. 1830s.
The club has a 20.75 ounce deadweight, a 5 1/4-inch long hosel, 2 1/16-inch face depth, and a distinctly concave face. These features are those of a heavy iron made before the end of the featherball era.
The original 39-inch hickory shaft is quite thick, much thicker than anything ever found in a Gray or Carrick iron as you can see in the comparative picture. The sheepskin grip, which still has its original whipping, is also bigger than you will find on an iron made c. 1850 or thereafter.
The picture of four irons that accompany this lot is very helpful. It shows this 1830 iron next to a circa 1870 John Gray lofter (Gray irons do not come much bigger than this one, and he was making irons back in the 1850s—see lot 40). To the right of the Gray lofter is a Willie Wilson lofter from the late 1880s. We know its late 1880s because its shaft is stamped WF Davis, Montreal - Davis was at Montreal from 1881 through 1890. To the right of the Wilson iron is a c. 1915 backspin iron.
Showing these four irons together shows the evolution of the iron during the 19th century. The viewer can see how the shaft thickness, the head size, the hosel length & thickness, and the blade itself downsized across time. It also helps the viewer to get a feel for just how big this c. 1830s iron is. In a world where too many people advertise and sell clubs from the 1860s as being from the 1830s, this image helps demonstrates that the iron offered here is, indeed, a brutish circa 1830s iron, used only to extract a ball from deep grass or other trouble. This is an outstanding club made contemporary with Hugh Philp's woods and early McEwan woods.
The image of this iron with the Marshall feather ball also helps provide perspective to the size of this iron as well as remind the viewer that this iron was made to be used with featherballs.
All in all, this is an honest heavy iron from the featherball era in magnificent condition.
The featherball and the 3 additional irons shown in the accompanying images are not part of this lot. However, the featherball is available as lot 1, the c 1915 bakspin/sidespin iron is available as lot 37, and the John Gray lofter is available as lot 40.