This Thistle Golf Club Gold Medal score card, dated 1 May, 1824, is one of the oldest remaining scorecards in the world. It
was once owned by Colonel T.B.A. Evans-Lombe O.B.E., who kept it in a
'tin black box' that was auctioned off by Sotheby's after he passed
away. This box contained historical golf documents having to do with the
Thistle Club in Leith between 1816 and 1826. The entire contents of the
box were sold at Sotheby's July 12, 1996 golf auction in London, which the auctioneer
The Thistle Golf Club Gold Medal competition in 1824 consisted of two
rounds over the Leith Links 5-hole course. This card bears the name of
Donald Smith who, armed with 200-year-old long nose clubs and feather balls, shot an 86 for the 10 holes. Needless to say but lest we forget, the game as played 200 years ago was quite different from the game today.
The oldest card auctioneer knows of is a Thistle Golf Club card from June 3, 1820. The scorecard offered here measures approximately 3" x 4 1/2" inches. The frame around the card measures approximately 10" x 12" inches. This card is in a beautiful museum-quality frame with UV
Glass, or so the frame is labeled on its back.
When one stops to think about the bazillions of scorecards that have
been printed across the past 200 years, this card, suffice it to say, is
truly historic. It would be
an outstanding addition to any collection—any museum—in the world.
For the record: The tin black box mentioned above and the Thistle club scorecards and letters it
contained, including the card offered here, are often credited with having been the property of Sir Henry
Cotton. They were not. Sotheby's held their Henry Cotton sale the same
day and at the same location as their regular golf auction. Sotheby's, however,
provided two separate catalogs--one for each sale. The Thistle Club
items are not in the Cotton catalog. They are in the golf catalog which
clearly states they were "the property of the late Colonel T.B.A. Evans-Lombe...."