Lot # 2: Harry Vardon’s Trophy for Winning 1903 Open Championship

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 26 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Masters Week Auction",
which ran from 4/3/2024 8:00 PM to
4/13/2024 8:00 PM

"I unhesitatingly say that whatever good achievements I have accomplished, my victory in the Open Championship in 1903, under the existing circumstances, was my greatest success." - Harry Vardon

Offered here is one of the crown jewels of the golf collecting hobby - Harry Vardon's actual trophy presented to him by South Herts after Vardon's victory in the 1903 Open Championship. Vardon's 1903 Open win was his 4th Open title, and first since 1899.  

Immediately following his 1903 Open Championship win, Vardon took the train home to South Herts, where he took the job of head professional in 1902 and would remain in that position until his death in 1937. At South Herts, a celebration was in order, and Vardon was presented the offered trophy - a 3 piece Tea Set engraved as follow:

Presented to Harry Vardon
by members of the South Herts Golf Club
June, 1903

During Harry Vardon's victory at the 1903 Open, and during his celebration at South Herts immediately following, he was suffering from exhaustion and lung bleeding due to tuberculosis. Only days later, Vardon was ordered to a sanatorium in Mundesley in Norfolk where he spent the rest of the year and into 10904.

This 1903 trophy representing Vardon's 1903 Open Championship victory was among the most cherished possessions of the great Harry Vardon, and almost certainly acted as a constant reminder during those dark days in the sanatorium while the golfing world wondered whether the great Harry Vardon would ever be seen again.

Quite spectacularly, years later Harry Vardon posed for a photograph with his collection of golf trophies and medals earned during his playing career. Sure enough, Vardon's 1903 trophy set is prominently displayed in the photo, and with Vardon's 1900 US Open medal resting on the sugar bowl! That makes this trophy set the oldest photo matched golf item we've ever encountered. 

Sadly, only a handful of Vardon's trophies and medals from this photograph have survived, as many were destroyed during the bombings of England during World War I (note that Vardon is wearing a black wartime armband in the photo), and others were lost in a fire. 

Main Trophy/Teapot: 11" wide, 6 1/2" tall, 26 ounces
Sugar Bowl: 6" wide, 4 1/4" tall, 9 ounces
Creamer: 5" wide, 4" tall, 6.5 ounces

Sales History:
Sotheby's, July 2000, London