Arnold Palmer's Masters Trophy.
In the collecting world, this is what's referred to as a "Dream Piece" - an item so rare and desirable that the thought of actually owning it could only occur "in a dream."
It's unthinkable to imagine that one of Arnold Palmer's Masters Trophies could hit the collector market, yet here it is.
The story of how the trophy reached this auction block is both extraordinary, yet unsurprising. Arnold Palmer Enterprises still owns Mr. Palmer's other 3 Masters Tournament trophies. This 4th trophy was intended to be part of an ambitious golf museum on the East Coast of the United States. When the financial crises hit the U.S. economy, plans for the museum were abandoned and everything was liquidated. This was the crown jewel of the museum's collection.
These "clubhouse" trophies were first awarded at the 1993 Masters Tournament. Then, just as Augusta National famously did when they decided to award Green Jackets to Champions for the first time, trophies were retroactively produced for past Masters Champions. This is now the recognized Masters Tournament trophy for all Champions.
This sterling silver on wood base "clubhouse" trophy measures 13.5" wide by 6.5" tall, and weighs 20 pounds. The front of the trophy is engraved "Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club." The side is engraved "Arnold Palmer" and the dates of his victories. Arnold Palmer's other Masters Trophies are substantially identical to this trophy - allowing for differences in placement and styling of engraving on the band.
This trophy comes with a substantial amount of provenance:
-Letter from Arnold Palmer Enterprises
-Original Invoice for Production of Trophy from Asprey London to Arnold Palmer Enterprises
-Multiple Correspondence from silversmith regarding trophy, pricing, delivery, etc
-Letter of Provenance from golf course developer who worked with Arnold Palmer Enterprises to obtain trophy
In the golf collecting world, this trophy has few rivals in terms of value and appeal. For modern memorabilia, only Horton's Smith record-setting Green Jacket (sold in Green Jacket Auctions' Summer 2013 Auction for $682,229) may be considered superior; though we imagine many would even argue that point.
***Statement from Arnold Palmer's Family***
Please be advised that the production of this trophy was arranged for by Arnold Palmer in response to a request by the owners of Bay Creek Golf Club, who promised Mr. Palmer that the trophy would be used for the sole purpose of display at the Bay Creek Hall of Champions museum. Ultimately, these owners did not build the museum and, instead of sending the trophy to Arnold, the owners sold the trophy to a third party without notifying our family. As a result, this trophy is now being sold again in this auction, which is extremely disappointing to our family. It was always Arnold's intention that this trophy would be placed in an appropriate museum or institution with which he was personally associated. We hope that the winning bidder in this auction will allow the trophy to be publicly displayed so that it can be appreciated by fans of Arnold Palmer for years to come.