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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

All Over the Map

Duffers and other Lost Golfers

The Duffers’ Golf Club Papers… ($15,600) and The Lost Golfer by Horace G. Hutchinson, ($2,400) at PBA Galleries of San Francisco on February 3.

This copy of The Duffers’ Golf Club Papers contained the bookplate of golf collector Joseph Bridger Hackler. Courtesy of PBA Galleries.

Golf books may no longer be quite the driving force they once were, but some titles still occasion robust competition. Take, for example, The Golfer’s Annual for 1869-70, which has no presence at all in auction records. Edited by Charles McArthur and published in Ayr [Scotland], its ambitions to be an annual were never realized, and the copy in this specialist golf literature sale trebled the high estimate to sell for $18,000.

Other potential high spots, however, had to be content with rather less than the saleroom and their consignors might have wished. The Duffers Golf Club Papers, to which is added, A Day on the Ladies’ Links is a case in point. Compiled by ‘A Member’ [Dr. Stone], these papers had first appeared in the Montrose Standard and were collected for publication in 1891—the author believing that “the great and increasing interest in the classic game of golf will make them acceptable to a much wider circle of readers.”

The Lost Golfer in its scarce original color illustrated dust jacket. Courtesy of PBA Galleries.

PBA have only once before offered a copy of this rarity, getting $18,400 in 1998 for a copy in the magnificent Joseph Murdoch golf library. That copy had been rebound without preserving the original wrappers, but in 2007, UK auctioneers Dominic Winter sold a copy in wrappers for £9200 (then $21,930). PBA had been hoping for something in the region of $20,000-30,000 for this one in blue morocco-backed boards with those attractive pictorial wrappers bound in.

The name of Horace G. Hutchinson, who wrote or edited a great many books about golf and its history, will be familiar to most golf book collectors, but of the twenty mystery stories that he turned out whilst wearing a different literary cap, The Lost Golfer of 1930 is the only one that draws on the game that he played so well and chronicled so assiduously.

From Granite to Marble

Autograph verses by Walt Whitman, $57,750 at Dirk Soulis Auctions of Lone Jack, Missouri, on February 26.

Whitman’s signed, annotated manuscript poem, Ah, not that Granite Dead and Cold, made news for a Missouri auction house this past February. Courtesy of Dirk Soulis Auctions.

Among the high spots in an unreserved Missouri sale of a collection of books, manuscripts, and autographs begun in the 1950s by Gene DeGruson (1932-97), an historian, librarian, publisher, and English professor of Pittsburg, Kansas, was this Whitman manuscript, which had been valued at just $400-600. Ah, not that Granite Dead and Cold is what Whitman called the poem when he signed and dated this version in February, 1885, and the title under which it appeared when first published in The Philadelphia Press that year.

Whitman’s revised version of the poem was re-titled Washington’s Monument, February 1885 for the “Sands at Seventy” annex to his famous and constantly revised collection of poems, Leaves of Grass. In that version, the granite of opening line became marble.

Editor’s note: To read more about this exciting auction, visit our blog.

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