If you’ve seen a display with different golf balls at your relatives or in a golf club, you might have asked yourself: “Are golf balls collectible”?
Golf balls have a long and interesting history, and like any other area there are a collectors community around vintage items.
But it’s not only vintage golf balls that are collectible. So are golf balls with certain stamps and logos, along with autographed ones.
But how do you navigate through the world of collectible golf balls?
We’ll give you the insight you need in this article.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Vintage Golf Balls
The old types of golf balls like gutta-perchas or featheries are by far the most sought after in the world of collectible golf balls.
Like many other areas of collectible items, a blast from the past is what people are looking for. The history of an item is interesting and appealing.
There’s just something about holding an old item in your hand while imagining what it’s been through 100 or 200 years ago.
“Feathery” Golf Balls
The earliest real golf balls that were produced in larger numbers were “feathery” golf balls. And by numbers I mean like 3-4 a day from a leatherworker craftsman.
Because of the age and the craftsmanship put into these balls they are among the ones that have the highest price tag of collectible golf balls.
These balls are referred to as antique, and goes for sums upwards of +$5000! See example from eBay below.
“Gutty” Golf Balls
Next in line are the gutties. They were made in larger numbers and thus cheaper for the collector. The first ones were smooth, and later ones were cut or hammered by hand, which makes them more sought after because each individual one was unique. If you can find an unused one the price rises quite a bit.
Later the balls began being produced in higher numbers which caused the uniqueness of the balls to fade a bit. But if you can find vintage golf balls in their original box, the value rises quite a bit. In this example we have a complete dozen in a great looking box, and as you can see it’s quite a price tag.
“Haskell” Golf Balls
In 1901 the Haskell Golf Ball Company was founded on a brand new idea, and the golf ball was revolutionized again.
They took a rubber core, wound it with rubber bands and encased the rubber in gutta-percha.
It is quite rare to find a golf ball with the Haskell logo stamped into it, but if you do, you will get your hands on some significant golf history.
Look for protruding dimples, as it wasn’t known at the time that dimples cut into the ball was the most optimal.
Logo Golf Balls
With the advancement of golf balls it was not only the ball itself that got new features. At some point it was made possible to print logos on the balls. This made for a whole new segment of collectible golf balls.
Many collections are quite extensive, because of the vast numbers of different logos printed through the years. They are noy particularly pricey, but can be fun if you have a connection to the object printed.
Many courses in the world have balls with their logo on it, and it can be quite fun to collect balls from the courses you’ve played or some of the prestigious courses around the world. Pebble Beach, Augusta National, TPC Sawgrass, etc.
Other logo golf balls could be ones with cartoons printed on them, big company logos or the like.
Also Ryder Cup logo balls will be sought after.
Autographed Golf Balls
An entirely different segment of collectible golf balls will be autographed ones. But autographed golf balls are quite a delicate matter. If you are on a quest to get an autographed ball, do it with humbleness and because you really want the autograph, not for the $$$.
As Jordan Spieth explains in the video below, autograph hunters can be harsh in their language and even violent. Worst of all they can ruin it for the kids.
There are quite a few autographed balls available online, and a good source is sportsmemorabilia.com. If you search for “golf balls” and “signed” you will get a whole bunch. Of course the biggest names of golf are on top, if you sort for highest price. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Jordan Spieth are some examples of very sought after names.
Watch out if you start collecting autographed balls, it can become an addiction 🙂 Joe Galiardi, a lifelong collector, was a subject of this addiction and managed to collect 418 autographed golf balls with some high profile ones amongst them.
Special Golf Balls
Ping Two-colored Eye Golf Balls
I hadn’t heard of these when doing research for this article, but apparently they were quite popular once. The production of Ping two-colored Eye golf balls were seized in 1997, so they are definitely a collectors item.
The fact that they come in many color combinations adds to the sport of collecting them all. But they can be a little pricey.
The right combination of colors can yield a seller upwards of $1000.
A quick search on eBay for “Ping Eye Golf Balls” will show you loads of different listings.
Here is a nice chart to show you which ones are worth going after.
Summing It All Up
I hope this article was what you were looking for to spark your interest in collectible golf balls.
It sure sparked my own interest, and my approach will be starting with a fun Ping Eye to turn some heads on the putting green. In fact I just put in an offer on six different ones in mint condition 🙂
The ultimate goal for me will be a hand-hammered, un-painted gutta percha 😉 See example above in the post.
But the beauty of this is that there sure are quite a few different types to go after. Whether you’re into hunting autographs or just want some good old golf history on your shelf.
The added benefit of hunting autographs is the possibility of having a rare piece sometime in the future, when the pro golfer is retired but has left behind a legacy.
If you have any questions be sure to shoot an email or leave a comment below.
To finish off I just want to ask:
Do you have a rare golf ball already?
Or are you starting your collection today like I am?
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Rarest Golf Ball?
A contender for the world’s rarest golf ball would have its origin in Ireland.
Back in 1840 there was a quite famous golfer known as Old Tom Morris. He was quite a unique guy since he won the Open, designed golf courses, was a clubmaker and the list goes on.
The story says that he once drove 20 balls into Lough Salt (a lake) in Ireland when he was on a visit from Scotland designing the nearby Rosapenna Golf Course in 1891.
Because he was the most famous golfer of that time these balls are very sought after and goes for thousands of dollars. Few have been on the market, so divers still try their luck at the Lough.
What Are The Best Golf Balls?
See this is an interesting topic. Golf balls are very different in their compositions, and therefore also on their benefits to golfers.
If you’re interested in this topic, take a look at our ultimate guide to the best golf balls. We’ve put together all you need to know to choose wisely.
Are Old Golf Balls Worth Anything?
That really depends on your own definition of “old”. If you mean bashed up lake balls from your local course then the answer is no.
If you on the other hand mean some old odd-looking antique ball from your granddad’s cupboard, then you might be onto something valuable.
Old featheries or gutta perchas go for upwards of +$5000!