World’s oldest golf scorecard fetches nearly £5k at Bonhams auction in Edinburgh

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THE WORLD’S oldest golf scorecard - marked in Scotland 199 years ago - has fetched nearly £5000 at auction in Edinburgh.

The framed and mounted scorecard showed that a Mr Cundell played the five holes within the Musselburgh Race Track twice on 2 December 1820.

The oldest scorecard in the world from when a Mr Cundell played Musselburgh in 1820. Picture: Contributed

The oldest scorecard in the world from when a Mr Cundell played Musselburgh in 1820. Picture: Contributed

The tally, in black ink smudged by the rain, shows he completed the ten holes in 84 strokes to win the Leith Thistle Golf Club winter medal.

The golfer provided his own commentary in a handwritten note at the bottom of the card, writing: “Dreadful storm of wind and rain -- atmosphere quite yellow -- just like the lurid regions of Pandemonium.”

The rare memorabilia, once owned by the great golfer Sir Henry Cotton, was sold at Bonhams’ Sporting Sale in Edinburgh.

An anonymous bidder chipped in with the winning bid of £3800 -- £4812 including premiums.

Cundell is almost certainly James Cundell, who was closely involved with the Thistle Golf Club since its founding in 1815 and who published one of the first ever rule books of golf in 1824.

Sir Henry Cotton, the best British golfer of his generation and winner of three Open Championships in the 1930s and 40s, collected memorabilia in a tin box discovered after he died.

Kevin McGimpsey, Bonhams’ golfing memorabilia consultant, said the scorecard was still in “remarkable condition considering its age and the atrocious weather at the time Mr Cundell played his round”.

He added: “This original scorecard predates the oldest cards owned by the international golf museums.

“The fact it was scored and marked in inclement weather nearly 200 years ago is quite phenomenal.”

James Cundell was a listed member of The Thistle Golf Club, established on 8 March 1815. They played on Leith Links, in Edinburgh, and later became the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield.

He is best known, however, as author of the “Rules of the Thistle Golf Club”, published by James Ballantyne in Edinburgh in 1824. One of only six books of printed rules published prior to 1830, it included historical notes on golf now regarded as the first “history of the game”.

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