18th-century golf club sells for 92,400 pounds

THE RECORD price for a golf club was broken yesterday when an early 18th-century Scottish example was bought at auction for pounds 92,400.

The club, sold at Sotheby's annual sale of golfing memorabilia in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, more than doubled its top estimate in beating the previous record, pounds 55,000, set in 1990.

The seller, a joiner who wants to remain anonymous, found the club, made by an unknown blacksmith in general-purpose iron, in his garden shed. However, because he wrapped it in sacking and kept it moist with linseed oil, it is in superlative condition.

He was stunned when told the record-breaking price over the telephone. 'When David Neech (of Sotheby's) told me to sit down, it was a good job I was,' he said.

Its new owner, the Valderrama Golf Club, in Sotogrande, southern Spain, will give it pride of place in a new museum. It was bought on their behalf by Titus Kendall, the London dealer.

The Valderrama is believed to be owned by Jaime Ortiz-Patino. Mr Kendall said that 'he has been collecting it (golf memorabilia) for a number of years'. The museum is due to open in October.

Among other purchases, a US Golf Association 'Open Championship' Gold Medal of 1898, was bought for pounds 16,500 by Morton W Olman, a dealer and collector from Cincinnati, Ohio. The upper estimate was pounds 10,000.