The majority of golf memorabilia is bought for Christmas and birthday gifts, however, there is also growing market in golf memorabilia investment. Like any other sport memorabilia investment; investors make an educated decision on how the value of pieces of memorabilia will change over time.
Let’s look at an example of an piece of iconic golf memorabilia and the factors that make a great golf memorabilia investment.
Bobby Jones’ Green Jacket
Bobby Jones was one of America’s greatest ever golfers, he was the first golfer to win the US Open, The Open Championship and the British Amateurs in one year. The year was 1930, it was golf’s first Grand Slam and he was an amateur golfer.
Bobby Jones’ green jacket from the Augusta National Golf Club sold for $310,000 when auctioned by Heritage Auctions. More than tripling its estimated value at $100,000.
Why did Bobby Jones’ green jacket perform so well at auction?
- Provenance; the authenticity of the jacket was thoroughly examined and proof of authenticity was supplied with the sale
- America is a prosperous, sport loving nation. There is a large market of sport memorabilia collectors looking to buy a piece of sports history.
- Professional golfers have a deep love for the history of the game. As some of sports most well paid athletes, they represent a wealthy market for golf memorabilia of historical significance.
- Sport loves underdogs. It was unprecedented what Bobby Jones achieved as an amateur. He has an amazing story but he’s not the only one. Seve Ballesteros for example was an underdog and golfing maverick. He taught himself to play golf when he should have been in school. On beaches near his home with only a 3 iron given to him by his older brother.
- The auctioned piece was steeped in the history of one of America’s greatest golfers in a number of ways. As well as helping found The Masters golf tournament, Bobby Jones advised the architect who designed the golf course at Augusta National. Because The Masters was founded by an amateur golfer, the tournament has maintained a tradition of honoring amateur golf.
- The Green Jacket has become an icon of professional golf. Awarded to the winner at The Masters, it has been presented to a long list of the golfing greats including; Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
What to look for when investing in golf memorabilia
- Provenance; the most important asset of golf memorabilia is proof of authenticity. eBay and other online marketplaces have created a huge market for fakes which are worthless. Ensure the golf memorabilia you buy has proof of authenticity.
- Supply & Demand; the value of golf memorabilia goes up with scarcity. Including when there is scarcity of pristine condition items. Collectors, investors, museums and exhibitors are all in the market for the best condition piece. You can gain a competitive advantage by better preserving your memorabilia that is vulnerable to decay.
- Market Size; the market size for golf memorabilia is largest and most prosperous in the United States. Investing in memorabilia associated with American golfers will ensure a healthy market. For investors who are less risk averse, buying golf memorabilia associated with professional Chinese golfers may pay dividends as their economy grows and the popularity of golf increases.
- Big Names; investing in historical golf memorabilia associated with the big names is a safer bet than less popular golfers. Values will increase after big tournament wins, retirement and death. For example, Tiger Woods golf memorabilia will increase when he is forced to retire early through injury. The supply of new Tiger Woods golf memorabilia will end.
- Be Objective; use the facts and history around the memorabilia you’re buying to make the decision. Buying memorabilia because of an emotional connection will cloud your judgment.
- Be An Expert; the market for sports memorabilia is getting more fragmented than it ever has been. You might be able to find great value on eBay, at thrift stores and garage sales if you develop your knowledge about the history golf
- Be Patient; prices fluctuate up and down. Don’t feel disheartened if your memorabilia drops in value. Play the long game, the popularity of golf’s sporting heroes isn’t going to go away. Ride out recessions and dips in the games popularity.