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1927 Down the Fairway Signed by Bobby Jones
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,440
Signed copy of one of the most desirable of all golf books: a first edition of Down the Fairway by Robert T. Jones Jr., and O. B. Keeler (Minton, Balch & Company, New York, 1927). Jones has signed the book, "Robert T. Jones Jr.," in pencil on the front flyleaf, with the signature grading "9/10." The book has also been signed in pencil ("9") on the front flyleaf by "Maureen Orcutt," a champion amateur golfer who later became the second female reporter to work for the New York Times. In between their two signatures is the handwritten pencil notation "Pine Hurst N. C./Mar. 24 '32." The word "Stroub" (possibly the name of the original owner) is written in pencil at the top of the page, directly above Jones' signature. It should be noted that the publishers issued a special signed presentation copy of Down the Fairway (signed by both Jones and Keeler) that was limited in number to just 300 copies. While we have seen a number of those limited-edition signed volumes at auction (the most recent sold for $10,714 in December 2014), this is the first signed example of the regularly issued first-edition we have ever handled. The fact that it notes the date and place at which it was signed, and also includes the signature of the era's top female golfer (whom Jones played against a number of times, as noted by the newspaper records), makes it an especially desirable volume. Down the Fairway, written by Jones at the tender age of twenty-five, represents his first published work on the sport of golf and is considered a classic by most golf aficionados.
Bobby Jones was one of the greatest golfers ever to set foot upon the links. In 1930 he accomplished one of the most amazing feats in sports history by winning all four golf "majors" in one season (the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, British Open, and British Amateur). While his accomplishments, which include thirteen "major" championships over the course of seven years (1923-30), speak for themselves, his legendary status is due equally to the unusual circumstances of his career. Jones played golf more for the love of the sport rather than the accolades or money. In fact, he often only played a few months out of the year. Even more shocking was his decision to retire at the age of 28, while he was still at the peak of his career. Following his retirement he produced instructional videos and helped found both Augusta National and the prestigious Masters Tournament. In 1948 he was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a rare degenerative disease of the central nervous system that confined him to a wheelchair for most of his later years. He died in 1971 at the age of 69. The book, which does not include the dust jacket, displays a few areas of light discoloration on the frontispiece photo and title page, as well as light wear to the cloth boards. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,440
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