Bobby Jones' Personal Calamity Jane Putter with Bobby Jones Letter
I have a letter from John Dawson asking me to send a putter to you to add to your collection. I shall be glad to dig one up and send it along in a few days. John tells me your collection is very interesting.
-Bobby Jones to Fred X Fry on May 10, 1937
Offered here is an item of unparalleled importance and collecting appeal - Bobby Jones' personal Calamity Jane putter.
Golf Digest declared Calamity Jane "the most famous putter in history." In truth, of the countless millions of clubs produced over the years, it would be hard to dispute that Calamity Jane is the single most famous golf club.
Bobby Jones owned multiple Calamity Jane putters during his life. The first one was already a used club when Jones received it from Jimmy Maiden in 1920. That putter was retired in 1926 and J. Victor East of Spalding produced Calamity Jane II. Calamity Jane I is now owned by Augusta National, and Calamity Jane II is among the USGA Museum's most prized possessions. Then Bobby Jones signed with Spalding when he retired from competitive amateur golf at the conclusion of his Grand Slam year in 1930. For a very short period of time (approximately 1932-1935), Spalding produced a Calamity Jane putter in partnership with Jones, though not with a Registration Number like the offered club, and not with this club's chrome plating. Clubs with Registration Numbers, purportedly the idea of Bobby Jones himself, were reserved for custom orders to a player's specifications that were kept on file.
This is one of those Calamity Jane putters - produced by Spalding for Bobby Jones himself in or around 1933, and given as a gift by Bobby Jones in 1937. The 1937 letter from Bobby Jones that accompanies this piece is exceptional, as one can easily visualize Bobby Jones looking around his house to "dig one up" in order to send a Calamity Jane to Fred X Fry.
Fry was perhaps the preeminent golf club collector of his day - collecting significant putters for his museum in the 1930s before doing so was commonplace. According to a 1954 Golfing Magazine article on Fry's collection, Fry's prized possession was Harry Vardon's actual putter used to win all 6 of Vardon's Open Championships. "Secondly, he favors a personal putter from Bobby Jones. It is a model of the 'Calamity Jane' with which he stroked his way to his great amateur triumphs."
As he was known to do, Fry stamped this Calamity Jane putter "Fred X. Fry" and "F X F". While this may seem like a sacrilegious thing to do to Bobby Jones' putter, the fact that he did so certainly helps with the ability to trace this exact putter from Bobby Jones' hands to the present day. Whether Bobby Jones used this putter, or the extent of its use, is unknown to us.
Fred X. Fry passed away in 1967. His vast collection was sold by Fry's heirs in the 2000s to Jeff Ellis, author of The Clubmaker's Art, The Golf Club, and other books. Our consignor owns both Fry's Harry Vardon putter as well as Bobby Jones' Calamity Jane offered in this auction lot.
Of the various Calamity Jane putters that were made for Bobby Jones, this is the only privately owned example known to us that can be definitively placed in Bobby Jones' hands.
Letter of Provenance from Bobby Jones, 5/10/37
Copies of Numerous Articles on Fry's Collection, Including July 1954 Golfing Magazine Article Referencing Bobby Jones' Personal Calamity Jane Putter
Full Letter of Provenance from Green Jacket Auctions
**UPDATE** Golf Magazine recently called this Calamity Jane "one of the most cove