9-8-22 Important Update at the end of this article.
This original red mesh-patterned gutty ball bears an old label marked "Special Whirlwind." The label is positioned directly on top of two rows of squares where the name would normally be stamped, if it was stamped with a name. The label is also long enough to cover the name "Special Whirlwind" if it was on the ball.
The only Special Whirlwind ball recorded was in the Harry B. Wood collection. The auctioneer does not know if it was a red ball or not, but suspects that this ball (which is not from the Wood collection) could be marked "Special Whirlwind" under the label. Some of the early 1890s gutty balls had their names marked with tiny, hard to read letters. Such would be a plausible even if ill advised reason to put an easier to read name-of-the-ball on the label. At least to a collector many years ago who did not forsee the value of the ball decades later.
No matter what is under the old label, this is a spectacular unused red gutty ball in near mint condition. The red paint is deep, strong, and still has much of its original luster.
Update 9-8-22 The auctioneer was recently digging through his files and made an important discovery: Lot 23, the Cock O' The Walk composition ball, and lot 75, the red Special Whirlwind gutty ball, were once part of Andrew Forgan’s golf ball collection as documented in the October 3, 1907 issue of Golfing (UK). The first page of the article shows the collection, the 2nd page provides a close up view of some of the balls, all of which bear a label applied by Forgan.
The Cock O’ The Walk ball is mentioned on the first page of the article and there is a picture of this ball on the lower left corner of the 2nd page. This does not appear to be the same ball as the one in this auction, as its label is applied in a slightly different location, but the labels on "both balls" match in every particular—size, shape, even the letters and their spacing are the same. It could also easily be that the label came off, so it was reapplied. No matter, there is no doubt that the Cock O’ The Walk in this auction was once part of Andrew Forgan’s collection.
A second ball in the Desert Mountain Collection—Lot 75, the red Special Whirlwind ball—also bears a matching label. The December 8, 1906 issue, p.4, of the St. Andrews Citizen newspaper includes a mention of Forgan’s ball collection and specifically identifies the “Special Whirlwind“ as one of the balls contained therein. You can also see there are a few red balls (which appear dark in the black and white photocopy image reproduced below) in the collection. The Special Whirlwnd is likely in the third row from the top, 5th ball from the left. There is also no question that this ball was also once part of the Andrew Forgan Collection.
A third ball in the Desert Mountain Collection—lot 49, the Woodley Flyer—was also part of the Andrew Forgan Collection. It still has half of its original label, which is marked "Flyer", on the side of the ball. Given that this ball is missing half of its label, its easy to surmise that the label on the Cock O' The Walk ball came off and was reattached at some point early in its history.
Photocopy images of these articles are included with the images of all three balls.