Simply put, the offered photograph is golf photography's Holy Grail. This is an original Type 1 photograph [from the original negative at the time of the event] of the iconic image of Francis Ouimet and his 10 year old caddie Eddie Lowery at the 1913 US Open. This photograph was taken by famed Underwood & Underwood, contains the Underwood & Underwood stamp on the back, and was printed from their original negative. This was the most important moment in American golf history, and this is the most famous image from that historic event. In fact, it may well be the most famous photograph in golf history.
If you're familiar with the Francis Ouimet story, especially if you're seen the Disney movie The Greatest Game Ever Played, you're no doubt a huge fan of Ouimet and what he means to American golf history. The 20 year old Francis Ouimet was having some local success at the amateur level in early 1913. Ouimet literally grew up across the street from the host of the 1913 US Open - The Country Club at Brookline, outside of Boston. Since the US Open was being held at The Country Club at Brookline that year, he encouraged to play, and only accepted when his employer agreed to give him the time off. His caddie was a local 10 year old named Eddie Lowery. The US Open was intended to be a coronation for British greats Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, and the USGA even moved the US Open from June to September to accommodate the travelling Brits' schedules.
What happened next shocked the entire golfing world. Harry Vardon and Ted Ray did exactly what they were supposed to do - they were tied for the lead after 72 holes. But...tied with them was the kid who lived across the street - Francis Ouimet. Before the 18 hole playoff, Brookline members tried to persuade Francis Ouimet to replace his 10 year old caddie Eddie Lowery with a more professional jock, but Ouimet refused. Lowery skipped school, caddied for Ouimet, and the two of them shocked the golfing world by beating Harry Vardon by 5 strokes and Ted Ray by 6. Ouimet was the first Amateur to win the US Open, and the American pride that stemmed from his victory led to a golf boom throughout the United States. To this day, Francis Ouimet's victory at the 1913 US Open is seen as the most important moment in American golf history.
Back in 2014 when photography collecting was almost non-existent, this photograph sold for a then-eye popping $10,000 in one of our auctions. To put this in context, early Augusta National and Bobby Jones photos could be purchased for $300 or so at that time. Now that photograph collecting has finally gotten its due, we tracked down the owner, and made a convincing argument - the golf world needs to see this photograph. It remains the only original Type 1 of this image that we've ever encountered. One of the best baseball photographs of Mickey Mantle used for his Bowman Rookie Card sold privately for a reported $1 million. The next time the PSA Type 1 photograph of another Mickey Mantle photo - the one used for his 1952 Topps Rookie Card - trades hands it will surely be for many millions.
So how much is arguably the greatest golf photograph worth? Well, our bidders in this auction will decide...
PSA Type 1. The photograph itself measures 7" x 9".