The earliest irons Karsten Solheim made—the PING 69, 68, and Anser irons—were forged, produced in a exceptionally small quantities, and absolutely groundbreaking in the history of golf. Karsten believed in perimeter weighting, which was unheard of when these irons were made. The 68, 69, and Anser irons were his hand-made/assembled "prototype" irons, with their cavities milled out entirely by hand. They led the way to the mass-produced perimeter-weighted PING Model I irons which exploded into the golf world in 1969. The rest is now history.
In 1962/1963 Karsten and his sons John and Allan built this set of Ping woods (1, 3, 4) and Model 68 irons (2 through PW) in the garage of their Paradise Valley, AZ home. Allan milled out the cavities on the back of every iron head. Karsten, John, and Allan, removed the soleplates of the woods and reweighted each head—removing any existing lead before drilling new holes, angled into the toe and back, and filling the holes with new lead.
It is believed that only 100 sets of Model 68 irons were built. In this set, the 3-9 irons are stamped “50” in the back cavity. The 2-iron, which matches up with the rest of the set in shaft and shaft length, is stamped “45”. The only differences are the 2-iron has a Golf Pride Fine Line grip and a “True Temper Dynamic” shaft band and the other irons have the Ping “Tuned” shaft band and Golf Pride Chevron grips. The wedge is not stamped with a number, which was normal. The shafts are straight with no bend at the grip.
The number of Ping wood sets Karsten produced was less than the Ping 68 iron sets. The shaft of each wood is straight at the grip and has the Ping “Tuned” shaft band and a chevron grip that matches the irons. The polyurethane clear coat on each of the laminated wood heads has chipped off in a few places at the toe, as shown in the images.
Both woods and irons show very little use and are truly historic.
For more info, see And the Putter Went Ping p 66-68