The Gary Player Collection
Offered in this auction are the most important golf trophies to ever hit the auction block. In eight consecutive auction lots, we are pleased to offer all four of the Major Championship trophies that make up the Grand Slam – The Masters, The Open, the US Open, and the PGA Championship, as well as four Senior Major Championships. To put this in perspective, in the entire history of sports memorabilia auctions (ours and all others), not only have these trophies never been offered at the same time, many of these trophies have never been offered for sale at all.
And that brings us to Gary Player. His playing record is among the finest in history, and he is one of only 5 men to obtain the game’s highest achievement – the Holy Grail of golf - the Grand Slam. Joining Gary Player in this exclusive club are Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. He will forever be remembered as golf’s first global star and international ambassador of the game. In addition to his 9 Major Championship victories, Gary Player won 165 professional golf tournaments in six continents over seven decades. But the Black Knight’s legacy does not stop here; his commitment to charity may be his greatest achievement of them all. His foundation has raised more than $64 million for impoverished children around the globe.
The trophies presented in this auction were previously sold to a private collector to raise money for charitable causes. This is the first time they have ever been offered for public sale. While the trophies will be sold in individual auction lots, the hope is that the winning bidder(s) will allow this truly historic collection to be placed somewhere where it will be on display for public viewing. And we are willing to assist with that endeavor. Outside the homes of Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, it’s hard to imagine a more complete collection of Major Trophies ever being assembled together again.
Gary Player 1978 Masters Tournament Trophy
Offered here is Gary Player's official 1978 Masters Tournament trophy. The 1978 Masters was Gary Player's 3rd Masters Tournament victory, and the final Major victory of Gary Player's illustrious career. In the final round of the 1978 Masters, Gary Player famously overcame a 7 stroke deficit by shooting a 64 (-8) en route to a 1 stroke victory.
The Masters Tournament trophy is far and away the most elusive trophy in all of golf. Unlike the other Major Championship trophies (not to mention other sports), replicas are not produced. No salesman samples, no smaller copies, and no other versions for Augusta members or tournament VIPs. Save for a couple larger "Permanent" trophies produced for the Hall of Fame and other museums, the only way to obtain a Masters Tournament trophy is to go out and win the Masters.
This is not the trophy that was received by Gary Player at the time of his victory. Mr. Player did not receive a Masters Trophy at the time of his victories except for a cigar humidor or bas relief plaque. This now-iconic three dimensional sterling silver trophy was first awarded in 1993, meaning that it was only presented at the time of victory to 19 different Champions (Bernhard Langer through Patrick Reed 2 years ago). Additionally, some living Masters Tournament Champions have been allowed to purchase this trophy. We can confirm that at least six different then-living Masters Champs have trophies. If even 10 other Masters Champions obtained a trophy, that is still less than three dozen Champions that own one. A look through that list of names like Tiger, Jack, Phil, Jordan, and Sergio, it becomes quite clear that very few of these trophies will ever reach the collector market. And with the earning potential of today's golfers, we presume that no future Masters Champion will likely put his trophy for auction either.
That background information was necessary to fully illustrate one important point - only a scant few Masters Tournament trophies have ever become available, and will ever become available. In the ensuing decades, perhaps 2 or 3 collectors in the world will ever have the chance to own an official Masters Tournament trophy.
In the past 5 years, two such Masters trophies have been sold publicly (both by us):
Arnold Palmer's trophy (engraved with all 4 victory years) for $444,012 in 2016