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Lot # 1500 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Nineteenth-Century Golf Ball Collection (3) with Rare Feather Ball

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,963

Collection of three nineteenth-century golf balls, the highlight of which is an extremely rare circa 1850 "feather" ball. The first golf balls were made of wood, but in the early 1600s they were replaced by the "featherie" ball. These feather balls, as they known today, consisted of a cowhide cover stuffed with goose feathers. The ball was manufactured while the feathers and leather were wet. During the drying process the feathers expanded while the leather shrank, which resulted in a very hard ball. Normally, the balls were painted white. Unfortunately, feather balls were not very durable. When wet, the balls became sodden and were easily damaged. Nevertheless, feather balls remained the standard for nearly 300 years, before they were replaced by the "Gutty" in the mid 1800s. The "Gutty" was manufactured out of guttapercha (the dried sap of the Sapodilla tree) and remained in vogue until the turn of the century, when rubber balls became the standard. This collection is comprised of a feather ball and two hand-hammered gutta-percha balls. 1) Rare Circa 1850 Feather Ball. Despite their long period of use, feather balls are very scarce today, as most were simply discarded after the "Gutty" supplanted as the ball of choice among golfers. While the exact number of surviving examples is unknown, they are easily the rarest of all early golf balls and remain highly prized by collectors today. The offered ball, which is constructed of three separate leather panels, is heavily worn, with nearly all of the original white paint having been lost. The stitching is loose, but intact, and the ball has retained its original shape. No manufacturer's name is visible. In Good condition. 2) Circa 1860-1880 Hand-Hammered Gutta-Percha Golf Ball. This is a reddish-brown example, with all of the scored lines deep and well defined. Former use is evident, but the ball remains in Excellent condition overall. 3) 1860-1880 Hand-Hammered Gutta-Percha Golf Ball. A well-worn specimen, with all of the scored lines deep and well defined. Much of the original color has been lost. In Very Good condition. Total: 3 golf balls (1 feather ball and 2 Gutta Percha balls). Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $2,963

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