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. 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 1974 Open Championship Claret Jug
Offered here is Gary Player's official large (90% scale) 1974 Open Championship Claret Jug. The 1974 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes was one of the most dominating performances of Gary Player's career, and it resulted in Player's 3rd Open Championship victory. Gary Player went wire to wire - having at least a share of the lead every round en route to a 4 stroke victory over Peter Oosterhuis and the rest of the field. Conditions were tough that year, and Gary Player was the only golfer under par for the tournament.
Though we've had the privilege of offering several Masters Tournament trophies for sale over the years, this is actually the very first large Claret Jug that we've ever brought to auction. To many collectors, this is unquestionably golf's Holy Grail.
This is not the trophy that was received by Gary Player at the time of his victory. When Gary Player won his Open Championships, he had to return the permanent Claret Jug after his year as defending Champion had expired. Years later, the Royal & Ancient finally allowed a large 90% scale Claret Jug to be produced for each living Open Champion. Several of these trophies are currently on display in various museums around the world, including the British Golf Museum in St Andrews. But, to our knowledge, this is the first to ever reach the auction block. The engraving of Champions on this trophy was kept current though 2006 - stopping (perhaps intentionally) after Tiger Woods' back to back victories in 2005 and 2006.
This official 90% scale Claret Jug is hallmarked by the R&A's official trophy producer Nicholas Winton Ltd, and stands 19" tall.