Specializing in Fine Antique Golf Clubs and Historic Memorabilia

Lot # 2: John Jackson 1830s Long Nose Putter - On The Front Cover of Stirk's "Golf: The Great Clubmakers"

Starting Bid: $2,000.00

Bids: 17 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Summer Golf Auction 2019",
which ran from 7/3/2019 12:00 PM to
7/20/2019 8:00 PM

Jackson long nose clubs are described in The Clubmakers Art as follows: "John Jackson's clubs possess all the traits of a master at his craft: style, grace, and quality workmanship.  Although Jackson was making clubs during the same period as Hugh Philp and Douglas McEwan, very few of his clubs remain compared to the number of known McEwan and Philp clubs."  This particular Jackson putter not only proves the point, it does so in spades.

Formerly the property of His Grace The Duke of Atholl, this magnifcent club was part of a little-used set of nine Jackson clubs (actually two sets of four clubs with only this single putter) that was auctioned by Christie's in Glasgow, Scotland, on July 15, 1987. These nine clubs are pictured on the front and back cover of David Stirk's book "Golf: The Great Clubmakers."  This putter is on the front cover.  

The soles of these clubs were inscribed by Jackson with the name of each respective club. On this club, which sold for £4400 in 1987, "Putter" is not only written in a beautiful script on the sole, it is also written on the face.

The writing itself is historic. Today, every clubmaker marks their clubs with the name of the club on the head.  That has been the standard practice for well over a century. Jackson was one of the first to ever do this, if not the first.  The auctioneer does not know of any earlier clubs marked with its name by its maker, be it a putter, driver, or spoon.

In addition to these nine clubs, the Duke sold two heavy irons, one of which was inscribed on the grip with the name of the club, and four W&J Gourlay feather balls.  William (b.1813) and John Gourlay (b.1815) worked together from the mid-1830s until 1844, when John died. It seems clear that this trove of clubs and balls were likely made for the Duke at the same time, then used very little, and then sold off a century-and-a-half later.  Judging from the broad head, thick shaft, and the thick horn on this putter as well as the other clubs in the set, this entire set of Jacksons dates to the 1830s and not the 1840s, when the shafts were typically quite thin. When  viewing the close-up image of "Putter" written on the face, notice just how thick the horn is.

This putter is not only original from top to bottom, it shows very little if any use. Even the cross-whipping on the sheepskin grip is still in place. The small amount of varnish that has flaked off the top of the head is the only "wear" to the head, which is broad—a full 2 1/4 inches from front to back at its widest point. The head length is 5 3/4 inches.  Face depth is just a touch over an inch. 

In short, this club is a superstar in the galaxy of long nose clubs.

For more on John Jackson, see TCA2 V1 p. 52-53


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