This lot consist of an 1823 scorecard and an 1824 letter, both connected to the Thistle Golf Club in Leith, Scotland.
This Thistle Golf Club Gold Medal score card, dated May 10, 1823, 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 was sold at Sotheby's July 12, 1996 golf auction in London, which I attended.
The Thistle Golf Club Gold Medal competition in 1823 consisted of two
rounds over the Leith Links 5-hole course. This card bears the name of
W. Wood who shot a 63 for the 10 holes. That was an excellent score and quite possibly the winning score.
scorecard predates even the oldest scorecards owned by the
international golf museums. The oldest known scorecard is an 1820 Gold
Medal Thistle Club scorecard from the Tin Black Box find. It just sold at a UK auction for well over $6000.
Among the many important early documents in that box was this 196-year-old scorecard as well as this 195-year-old letter, dated March 8, 1824, from John Dudgeon to John Cundell, secretary of the Thistle Golf Club. In the letter Dudgeon wrote:
Being desirous to join the Thistle Golf Club may I beg the favor of your proposing me as a Member at your next meeting.
I am, Dear Sir, Yours faithfully,
Dudgeon was admitted. He was one of the 45 people listed as members in “The Rules of the Thistle Golf Club” written by John Cundell in 1824.
The scorecard itself measures 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches. The frame around the card measures 9 ½ x 12 inches. The letter itself measures 5 x 8 inches. The frame around the letter measures 14 x 11 inches. Both of these items have been museum quality framed with, I believe, UV Glass.
Suffice it to say, these two items are truly historic and would be outstanding additions 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 items offered here, are often credited with having been the property of 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...."