Spalding Bobby Jones Hickory-Shafted Golf Clubs, ca. 1933

Value (2010) | $5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction

I was in downtown La Jolla. There was this antique store with golf clubs in the window. I asked the price, $600 for these. I had to have them, so packed them up and took them home.

How long ago was this?


This is the old school golf. When I saw Jones on there, I wasn't sure if it was Robert Jones, Bobby Jones, really who he was at the time, but old wood golf clubs look cool on a wall. The explosion of golf occurred in the early 1900s, thanks to Harry Vardon and then Francis Ouimet, who won the 1913 U.S. Open against Harry Vardon. People loved to play golf. Golf courses went everywhere, and manufacturers like Spalding-- the brand on these clubs-- MacGregor and Wilson, they started making hickory-shafted clubs in the millions to satisfy the need for all the golfers. A lot of people think that because hickory-shafted clubs are old, they're worth a lot of money. The fact is that 90% are probably under $50.


Now, the wood shaft era started ending in the 1920s, because in 1924, the U.S.G.A. legalized steel-shafted clubs. But it took a few years to get up to speed, and it also took a few years for people, particularly traditionalists, to come over to playing steel-shafted clubs. But once they found out, A, they were more durable, and, B, they could get more distance on the clubs, they came over. But you have someone who's old school, like Bobby Jones, he won the Grand Slam in 1930-- the British Open, U.S. Open, British Amateur and U.S. Amateur-- by using hickory-shafted clubs. He retired after that, and then he made a deal with Spalding to create steel-shafted clubs, which he did starting in the early '30s. So what you have here is a set of irons that say "Bobby Jones" on them. The original clubs they made, the steel-shafted ones, they painted to look like hickory, and a lot of people today think that they have hickory and they may have something rare, when they actually don't. In one year, for one catalog in 1933, they offered hickory-shafted clubs, and they did that for traditionalists. And you couldn't just get them from the catalog. You had to actually call up and custom-order them. So these are very rare.


They're in nice condition. You have the two through nine; you're missing the one iron. Now, the golf club market has changed. It's not as dynamic as it once was, and there are some prices that have actually dropped, so I'd put an auction estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.


That's a pretty good deal for 600 bucks.


Appraisal Details

Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
Washington, DC
Appraised value (2010)
$5,000 Auction$7,000 Auction
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.