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Outing magazine poster, June 1896 - fall colors with the Man In The Moon winking at this lovely lady on her bicycleRiding a bike is one of the simple pleasures in life, so basic and peaceful, but since the introduction of cycling in the early 1800s, the pastime has encountered any number of bumps in the road.  It may be hard to imagine today, but during the nineteenth century, cycling changed the world, encouraging the improvement of roads, developing technical skills and machines that later helped to produce cars, and even aiding in the emancipation of women and the suffrage movement!

As the bicycle evolved throughout the 1800s, each new development seem to spark a new cycling craze, and this passion left its mark on just about everything from the period.  Cycles and cyclists show up on everything from cigarette cases and pocket knives to watch fobs and inkwells.  (I particularly love the intricacy of the carving on this Meerschaum pipe.)  Riders posed for photographs with their machines, individually and as members of the myriad cycling clubs that sprung up in Europe and across America, and cycling magazines and posters, like one pictured above, began to appear everywhere.

And, of course, there are the bikes!  Tricycles, highwheels, and tandems, the classic Huffy and Schwinn, and all the accessories from lanterns to locks.  (Check out this ammonia pistol called the “Dog Scarer”!)  Early highwheels have fetched more than $45,000 at auction, while a restored Schwinn or Huffy can bring $4,000 to $6,000 at auction, so be sure to take a closer look before just walking by an old bike at a yardsale!

A birch bark fishing creel, possibly Montagnais/ NaskapiSummer’s all about fishing, although I have to confess that I’m a wretched fisherperson.  Within about thirty minutes, my brother would usually be grumbling something like, “If you’re going to throw rocks, at least go downstream!”  Still, a well-stocked, well-organized tackle box is a thing of beauty – at least until I start stirring around in it!

Of course, fishing wasn’t always about glittery rubber worms or shiny metal discs, and it’s easy to identify collectibles by searching the database.  You’ll find lures to mimic all sorts of small aquatic life, from minnows to frogs.  I’m fond of the “Fly Rod Runtie,” partly because of the name and partly because he looks about as panic-strickened as you’d expect bait to look!  (He only has a slight edge over the “Luny Frog.”)  We’ve also got all sorts of antique reels, from modest ones to hot collectibles like this Morgan James reel that sold for over $9,000!  Folk art collectors love the hand-carved fishing decoys that mimic everything from trout to turtles, as well as the beautifully crafted creels, like the Native American birch bark example pictured here.  And, at the end of the day, if you’ve still not had a nibble, you can always haul home a taxidermy mount like this 44″ pike to claim as your own!

A carved [duck hunting] duck call by Charles Perdew (1874 to 1963) of Henry, Illinois.My brother came to visit recently and because he is intent on being the best uncle ever, he arrived with four stuffed birds (all of them play the appropriate bird song and all of them must now travel up and down daily with my daughter for naps and bedtime) and his turkey call. It’s spring and the wooded strip between our house and the creek bottom is alive with birds, including our local flocks of turkeys who are all atwitter for mating season. They were eager to talk and my daughter, who loves all things birds, was, of course, transported.

But she’s not apt to start collecting bird calls soon – and not just because of my sanity, but because various hunting calls are actually one of those classic examples of when it’s important to take a closer look. Many of them are commonplace, of course, and mass-produced, but certain ones could finance a college education! You’ll find handcrafted calls for a variety of birds in the antiques marketplace, including goose, turkey, and even crow, but duck calls are, by far, the most prevalent.

American Indians had likely used mouth calling for generations, but mechanical calls came into being around the mid-19th century with the first patent recorded in 1870. Several family names became associated with the production of mechanical calls – yes, before the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty came along. Fisher, Beckhart, Turpin, Perdew (see above) – and many others – are apt to show up at yard sales for pocket change, but a Perdew call, for instance, can bring anywhere from $200 to $8,000 or more at auction, depending on type, age, and condition. These are the kinds of little yard sale finds that the database can turn into big money, so when in doubt, it definitely pays to search!

Winchester starter cannon

Winchester starter cannon

One of the most common questions in the antiques marketplace is, “What’s hot right now?”  At Prices4Antiques, with the Olympics in full swing, we’re seeing lots of searching in our sports category.  We’ve recently seen searches for a Winchester starter cannon, an English lignum vitae bowling ball, an Ad Topperwein silhouette shooting target, a granite curling stone from Scotland, and a bicycle polo mallet.  These were the top five items viewed in our sports category’s miscellaneous section this week, but people searched for thousands of other antiques and collectibles at Prices4Antiques.

To search the Prices4Antiques antiques reference database for valuation information on hundreds of thousands of antiques and fine art visit our homepage.

McGregor Chieftain golf clubs, set of 3 swan neck fancy face woods, circa 1929

McGregor Chieftain golf clubs, set of 3 swan neck fancy face woods, circa 1929

Antique & Vintage Golf Club Collectibles- Values and History of Golf Clubs through the Ages

Golf has been a popular sport since its invention in Scotland in the 1400s, and while its collectible opportunities are numerous, golf clubs are probably the most popular and valuable.

While golf has always been popular, sometimes it’s more popular than others, and although subject to the whims of fashion, golf has a long history as a favorite leisure activity.  Due to its long term appeal, golf and its equipment and memorabilia have always found favor with collectors, although prices and values have been subject to wild fluctuations over the years.  Collectible golf categories include balls, tees, scorecards, bags, magazines, photos, trophies, flags, and autographs, but by far, the most popular golf collectible are the clubs used to play the game.

Collectible Antique and Vintage Golf Clubs

Because of its long history as a popular sport, golf clubs from as early as the 1700s still exist.  These clubs belong to the earliest of the three categories that are typically used to describe the age and type of a collectible golf club.  The club categories correspond to the type of ball that was used with them.

Golf Club Categories

These categories are used for the purpose of describing the vintage of golf clubs:

The Featherie – this earliest type of ball was used until around 1850.  Made from a core of boiled bird feathers, the feathery was then wrapped in strips of leather that were sewn together.  Clubs from the feathery years were slim and light headed, made entirely of wood, and used to sweep the ball rather than hit it.  Pre-1850 clubs are almost always wooden.

The Guttie – used between 1845-1900, the guttie ball was made of solid gutta percha (a rubber-like material).  These hard, heavy balls proved too much for the lightweight clubs of the featherie years.  Guttie driving clubs had thicker wooden heads, and irons came into use at this time.

The Modern ball – around 1900, a new ball made of wound rubber strips wrapped in a textured rubber cover was developed, and within twenty years or so, steel shafts became the norm for all clubs.

Antique and Vintage Golf Clubs for Collectors

Pre-1850 woods (so called because the clubs have both wooden heads and shafts) are possibly the most collectible, especially those made in Scotland by makers Hugh Philip (although after his death, his stamp was stolen and forgeries of his clubs flooded the market) and three generations of the McEwan family.  The Philips clubs are long-nosed with heads around 5” long at the striking surface.  McEwan clubs are marked with the family name.  This company was still making clubs into the 1970s, but the ones produced between 1790-1850 are the most valuable.  Prices for common golf clubs were at the highest in 2001-2002, but have since come down.  The upturn in values probably had something to do with Tiger Wood’s domination of the sport during those years, and his rekindling of world-wide interest in golf.

Newer collectible clubs include those from the 1930s-1960s, especially those endorsed by famous golfers such as Tommy Armour and Arnold Palmer.  As a rule of thumb, woods and putters are the most collectible, as are entire sets of earlier vintage, especially those once owned by famous (if not accomplished) golfers.

For centuries, golf has been a favorite leisure activity, and collecting the memorabilia and equipment associated with the sport is almost equally popular.

- p4A contributing editor Susan Cramer.

Reference & Further Recommended Reading:

To search the Prices4Antiques antiques reference database for valuation information on hundreds of thousands of antiques and fine art visit our homepage