Mention the name Sam Snead to golf fans and two things come to mind: The perfect golf swing and 82 career PGA tour wins, including seven majors. Now, for the very first time at auction, golf fans and collectors will get their chance to acquire a part of Snead’s amazing links legacy as The Sam Snead Collection makes its debut as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 1-2 Platinum Night Sports Auction in Rosemont, Ill., taking place in conjunction with The National Sports Collector’s Convention.
The collection has been consigned to auction by Snead’s family and represents what Heritage experts consider to be the single finest collection of golf memorabilia ever made available to the public. Chief among “Slammin’” Sammy’s offerings is Snead’s 1954 Masters Championship Trophy, estimated to bring more than $100,000.
“Suffice it to say that this is as close as 99.9 percent of all golfers in the world will ever get to a Master’s trophy, let alone the fact that it was Snead’s, won by him in the 1954 Masters – the last of his seven majors – where he battled Hogan in one of the greatest golf matches ever played,” said Chris Ivy, director of Sports at Heritage Auctions.
This famous 18-hole playoff to settle the 1954 Masters was, in fact, described by none other than Bobby Jones, the founder of the tournament and the most revered name in the game, as the “greatest round of golf I’ve ever seen.” It’s the most famous of the many head-to-head battles in the storied Snead/Hogan rivalry.
Of almost equal importance to the Masters trophies – and perhaps of more importance to America’s friends across the Atlantic Ocean – is Snead’s sole British Open Championship Silver Claret Jug, won by the legend in 1946, one of his just three forays to Britain for the venerable tournament. It, too, is estimated at $100,000-plus.
“Snead probably could have won a few of these trophies,” said Ivy, “but his victor’s check in 1946 was only about $600, not nearly enough to cover the $2,000 out-of-pocket expenses he’d incurred to make the journey across the Atlantic. He was in the U.K. for the 1937 Ryder’s Cup, and played The Open at the tail end of that trip. Travel expenses would restrict Snead’s reappearance on the Open roster until 1962, eight years past the occasion of his final Major victory.”
Snead’s final victory in the PGA Championship, one of three he won, is commemorated in his 1951 PGA Championship Wanamaker Trophy, the 33rd edition of the oldest of American Major golf championships, and one of the most important. It is expected to bring $50,000-plus.
“Snead won this tournament when he was 39, becoming the oldest man to claim the title,” said Ivy. “It was Snead’s third and final finish at the top of the PGA Championship leader board.”
Rounding out the top lots of the 14 offered in this first grouping of the Snead Collection (more offerings from The Snead Collection will be coming in Heritage’s Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Sports events) is the 1959 Ryder Cup Championship Trophy won by Sam Snead in the decisive and still-revered American victory at Indian Wells. It is estimated at $50,000-plus.