The cable business network CNBC has a feature on its website that it calls "Alternative Investing." It "may not be for everyone," the website states, "but there's an entry point for almost anyone -- whether it's coins, horses, memorabilia, vehicles or wine." Or golf memorabilia.
It explains: "With more than 15 million U.S. golfers, the market for collectibles has expanded greatly in recent years. Such memorabilia can make good investments that increase in value over time. Experts suggest buying pieces attached to golf's biggest names, especially those who figure prominently in the sport's history. Autographed golf clubs, balls, shoes and gloves fall into this category, as do signed tournament pin flags, action photos, or award medallions."
Among the examples it cites is the auction price fetched for what is believed to be Bobby Jones' original Augusta National green jacket from 1937: $310,700.
CNBC's slideshow includes items from SportsMemorabilia.com, Golf Links to the Past (a shop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach), TheGolfAuction.com and and Heritage Auctions. One not listed that features golf memorabilia is Green Jacket Auctions, which in its latest auction sold a 1999 PGA Championship flag signed by winner Tiger Woods for $4,260.75.
A flag that would have cost, say, $25, sans signature that is now selling for 70 times that suggests that CNBC is onto something here.
-- John Strege