Rare golf rule book could fetch £50,000 at auction

ONE of the earliest books of formal golf rules is expected to fetch up to £50,000 when it goes up for auction.

The rare copy of the Early Rules of Golf is attracting attention from Europe and Asia. Picture: Neil Hanna

Rules of the Thistle Golf Club, written by James Cundell, was one of only six books of printed rules published prior to 1830.

It is part of a lot that is valued at £30,000 to £50,000 and which also includes a rare 1822 ‘Thistle Golf Club’ silver prize medal won by George Logan Esq.

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It was awarded for the tournament played over Leith Links in Edinburgh held on December 7 1822.

Inscribed, ‘Mr Logan, Winter Prize Medal, 7th December 1822’, the medal will be offered for auction along with the winner’s scorecard which records the results of all 10 holes.

Paul Roberts, Vice Chairman of Lyon and Turnbull , who will sell the rare copy of golf rules, said: “These three items are unique within the game of golf.

“They all belong to the same person, George Logan, who won one of the first tournaments played over Leith Links in the early 19th century.

“This rare volume of the ‘Rules of Golf’ was one the most important accomplishments of the Thistle Golf Club.

“Published in 1824, it is a rule book with an extensive introduction on golf history, termed as ‘some historical notices relative to the progress of the game of golf in Scotland’.

“Significantly the history documents the origins of ball games, which with the related technology of the leather bound ball, known as the ‘feathery’, was key to golf development.”

The sale will take place on July 15 at an exclusive auction of golfing memorabilia at The Eden Club -- Scotland’s most luxurious private club at Pittormie Castle, near St Andrews.

Timed to coincide with the 144th Open at St Andrew’s, the auction will have just 37 lots including items from an important private collection.

The Thistle Golf Club was established in 1815 and members of the club played on Leith Links, in Edinburgh.

They later became the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield.

In 2005 Tom Lawrence, Founder of the Eden Club, transformed the former home of the first Duke of Fife, Pittormie Castle to an exclusive members club.

He said: “Pittormie Castle is a fitting backdrop for the sale with its rich history and beautiful surroundings.

“We are delighted to welcome Lyon and Turnbull and their clients to the Eden Club.

“With The Open only ten minutes away from Pittormie and the attention of the world’s golfers on Scotland, the sale is bound to add to the excitement.”

Paul Roberts added: “We’ve had a lot of interest from collectors around Europe and the far east.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to take part in an exclusive auction of important golfing items.

“Due to the nature of the location we decided to opt for a ticket only auction audience on a first come-first served basis.

“For those that can’t get to the auction there will be the opportunity to bid live online or by telephone, so no one will miss out.”

Viewing will begin in Edinburgh, at Lyon and Turnbull’s main saleroom, on July 12, followed by viewing and auction at Pittormie on July 15.