It had been purchased by the vendor’s grandfather in the 1950s for 10 shillings and purportedly acquired by the previous owner during a cellar clearance in Leven, Fife.
Blacksmith-made irons were used, alongside wooden-headed clubs, to extract the ball from difficult lies in the rough or rutted cart tracks. This example, for a left-hander, is of the so-called spur toe type, a form abandoned in favour of a more conventional rounded blade in the second half of the 18th century.
Dated to c.1690-1700, it bore comparison with two other clubs offered recently at auction: one sold for a premium-inclusive £58,850 as part of the Jaime Ortiz-Patino collection (Christie’s, London, May 2012), and the child’s left-handed club that went unsold with an estimate of $75,000-100,000 at last year’s sale of the Roberto Family Trust collection (Bonhams Los Angeles, March 2017).
Finding buyers for the best golfiana has proved difficult in recent years but the iron at Gorringe’s, pitched at an attractive £10,000- 15,000, sold at £26,000 (plus 21% buyer’s premium).