According to Jim Cooper in Early United States Golf Clubs by A.G. Spalding & Bros., Wright and Ditson and Bridgeport Gun Implement Co.., (page 0 & 95) The "Spalding" (only) stamp like the one on this club was the first mark used on Spalding clubs. Cooper believed this mark identified the clubs Spalding imported before building their own. He dates it to 1893. He also dates Spalding's baseball mark as being used on clubs as early as 1893 as well. His book includes a single example of a "Spalding" (only) stamped wood, and dates the stamp as in use 1893-96. Spalding catalogs from 1895 and 1896, however, show all clubs as bearing the Spalding's baseball stamp. No need to import woods made by subcontractors in the UK at that time.
It is not known exactly when Spalding began selling clubs bearing their baseball stamp. Because the 1893 catalog does not have images of actual clubs, and an 1894 catalog is nowhere to be found, both the baseball mark and the "Spalding" (only) stamp are credited with being the first ones in use—the "Spalding" (only) clubs being made by British subcontractors and the Baseball marked clubs by Spalding itself.
The club offered here bears the "Spalding" (only) stamp on both its head and shaft. It's one of those likely imported clubs that date to 1893. It has a sturdy brass plate over its entire sole, but the club is more than just a brassie. Spalding's May 1893 Golf catalog offers 3 different brassies: brassie niblick, brassie spoon, and brassie bulger (driver). With a 43" shaft and little loft to the face, this is an outstanding example of the Spalding brassie bulger, and it looks like it was used very little. The shaft still has its original neck whipping and a nice fat, oversize sheepskin grip complete with the knitted wool underlisting unique to Spalding clubs. The head is solid and its color still rich. Its shape is "blocky" when compared to Spalding drivers made just a few years later. This is a neat tip-off to its early nature.
This driver remains in stellar condition. Everything about it shines. There is a bit of wear to the grip, but only if you want to be picky. When it comes to early Spalding clubs, this one is about as good as it gets, sold by Spalding before they were selling clubs of their own make.