Lot # 4: Box of 10 Mint Musselburgh Gutta Percha Balls

Category: Golf Balls

Starting Bid: $2,500.00

Bids: 7 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring 2022",
which ran from 3/3/2022 12:00 PM to
3/19/2022 8:00 PM

Wow! Talk about an absolutely killer box of 10 gutty balls!  These Musselburgh balls are mint, never used, in the box, some still in their original tissue paper. There are no surprises here.  The sides of the balls not showing look as great as the sides of the balls that are showing. Made in the late 1890s by J&D Clark, in Musselburgh, Scotland, these balls were among the top, most respected balls of their day. Vardon, himself, played the Musselburgh for a good period of time.

Back then, a dozen balls weren’t just emptied into a golf bag. Instead only a small number were carried by the player or caddie for the round. It’s fun to visualize an 1890’s golfer opening this box to select a couple of brand new balls before heading to the links for an important match. The remaining ten were then carefully stored away until they were needed at a later time. Fortunately for the successful bidder, the remaining 10 were never called into service, and their survival in 2022 was strictly a matter of chance.

The box however, unlike the balls, does show wear—not surprising, as 100+ year old cardboard wasn’t nearly as durable as gutter percha! Fortunately, the top of the box despite being detached has survived, and, even with the bit of damage on the left edge, it still looks great!   All the art work on the top is embossed so the graphics don't just look 3-D, they are 3-D.  The base of the box is torn on both corners at one end, but, again, it's all there and could be discretely repaired if desired.

This box of Musselburgh balls is easily recognizable in the large group shot of balls in the images. This group shot includes many other golf balls lots in this auction and demonstrates the remarkable evolutionary story of the  golf ball, from feather ball to hand-hammered gutty, line cut red gutty, molded gutty, the Haskell and early rubber core balls. 

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