Friday, January 11, 2013

The value of balls

Back in 2008 I wrote about a feather-filled golf ball that was to be auctioned, and was expected to fetch about $50,000.  It seems there's quite a market for golfing antiquities.  The BBC reports:

Divers have begun a search in Donegal for what they believe could be some of the world's rarest golf balls.

The gutta percha balls once belonged to golfing legend Old Tom Morris, who won the Open four times in the 1860s.

It is believed the balls have been lying at the bottom of one of the county's deepest lakes for 120 years.

"It really is like looking for a needle in a haystack but if we find the golf balls it'll be well worth the effort," said dive leader Gus O'Driscoll.

. . .

"We've carried out some research and spoke to local people whose parents were around when Tom Morris was here and they told us how he stood up on the hill overlooking Lough Salt and drove the balls into the lake," said Gus.

"It soon became a tradition after that for golfers on their way home from the Rosapenna to stop off and drive balls into the lake.

"That checks out because we've seen thousands of balls on the bottom of the lake and we have recovered some which date back to the 1940s and 50s."

But the golf balls Gus and his team are searching for are no ordinary balls.

Known as gutta percha, they were designed in the 1840s and used by Old Tom Morris at the time when he won his Open titles.

"They are a very distinctive ball and should stand out amongst the others.

"Some of them have come up for auction before and sold for thousands of pounds."

There's more at the link.

Another report suggests that one of Old Tom Morris' balls might fetch as much as £20,000 (more than US $32,000).  I don't know whether one could have survived for well over a century beneath the freezing waters of Lough Salt, but I wish the best of luck to the searchers.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have Gutta Purcha grips on firearms that have been exposed to the elements and are still mostly intact. Near frozen at the bottom of the lake might be better!
Who wants to know if there is an antique plastics specialist in the house?