Before you spend any money on an antique golf club you need to first make sure it is indeed antique. You have to know how to look at the club and quickly appraise it before you buy it. Unfortunately all too many people don’t know how to do this. So they purchase a set of things thinking they are antique only to find out later they are not. Below I am going to share with you 3 things you should look for to ensure you are purchasing antique golf clubs.
The first thing most people look for is the makers mark. Many people discard a club if they don’t clearly see any marks. Doing this is a sure way to miss out on very rare and valuable clubs. An experienced collector will take the time to fully appraise a club. Even if there are no marks they will still give the club a thorough review. I would suggest carrying a small magnifying glass with you when you are viewing the potential antique golf clubs.
In some instances, you will be able to easily see the makers mark. In other cases, you will need to look very closely with a magnifying glass. Before the 1930’s rust, resistant clubs were not very popular. Because of this caddies would clean the heads using fine grained sandpaper. After doing this over and over for a long period of time, the makers marks wore away. That’s why you will see a few letters or symbols disjointed on irons that are pre-1900.
Maker & Retailers Stamp
If you can clearly read the markings on the back of the iron club that’s a good thing. Those markings will tell you two very important things. They will tell you who made the head and who sold it to the golfer. The maker of the club will mark the club one of two ways. They will either stamp it with their actual name or they will use a symbol or picture which is known as a cleekmark.
There are literally hundreds of different cleekmarks you will see on clubs. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some of the common cleekmarks include hearts, spurs, birds, crowns and feathers just to name a few. I would suggest buying a reference book on cleekmarks so you can quickly build your knowledge in this area.
You will usually find clubs made before 1905 will have smooth faces. So if you see a club with no marking that could very well mean it was made before 1905. However, it is important to note many club irons started out with smooth faces and were stamped or marked decades later. So just because marking is present doesn’t mean it isn’t an antique club. When looking at clubs ask whether or not the markings are original.
The good news is it doesn’t take a lot of experience to be able to recognize face markings that are machine made. Pay close attention to the patterns and the form of the marking. If face markings were later added this will affect the value.