Lot # 13: Walter Hagen's Circa 1920s Steamer Trunk (Lost Wanamaker?)

Category: Player Used

Starting Bid: $500.00

Bids: 16 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring 2021 Auction",
which ran from 3/24/2021 7:00 PM to
4/10/2021 7:00 PM

Offered here is something we had to see to believe. Presented in this lot is Walter Hagen's actual steamer trunk from the late 1920s. This massive, hand painted trunk would have likely been used as storage in the cabin of a steam ship. There are multiple clues that help us pinpoint a fairly accurate date for this steam trunk. First is the LA Young Co. name on the side of the trunk. The LA Young Company purchased the Hagen Company in 1927. Secondly, this style of large wood steamer trunks was almost exclusively used for transatlantic travel until approximately the end of the 1920s. It could have possibly been used for domestic train travel, but its large size is apparently more indicative of travel by boat. One expert we spoke to suggested that this is unquestionably a 1910s to 1920s trunk, but would've been out of style as the 1930s went on.

Therefore, we think it's reasonable to suggest that this steamer trunk would've likely been used by Walter Hagen for transatlantic travel from 1927 to the very early 1930s at the latest. Our research indicates that Walter Hagen made 2 voyages across the Atlantic from 1927 through 1932 - both trips to the Open Championship where he won - 1928 and 1929.  

Was this trunk actually used by Walter Hagen? Was it used by him to transport his belongings - like his golf clubs or the Claret Jug to and from the Open Championships? We won't likely ever know these answers, unless photographic evidence is found. But it sure is fun to think about!

Huge trunk with wonderful graphics. 48" x 24" x 31" tall. 100% original with the exception of later replacement handles. The front lock is still attached, but is bent from being pried open at one point long ago. 

**UPDATE** Within minutes of making the auction live, a couple of astute collectors contacted us regarding the possibility of this being the LA Young trunk where the missing Wanamaker Trophy was found in the late 1920s. While we had previously seen reports that the Wanamaker was found in an "unmarked box," apparently the lost Wanamaker was indeed found in a steamer trunk:

In 1927, Hagen won his fourth consecutive PGA Championship and, as dictated by tradition, he held on to the Wanamaker Trophy for the year until the trophy presentation the following year. The 1928 Championship was won by Leo Diegel. When it came time for the trophy presentation, Hagen admitted to having lost the trophy. He said he had given it to a taxi driver to deliver to his hotel but the coveted item never arrived. Two years later, as workers were clearing out a warehouse in Detroit; they came across a steamer trunk. When the trunk was opened they discovered the "lost" trophy.