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It may not be as iconic as the Augusta National member’s jacket, but there’s a piece of Masters lore that you can now purchase that’s even more rare.
Of course, you’re not going to find it in the merchandise tent, there’s only one of them on the market and it’s going to cost you plenty.
What’s being touted as a former entry sign outside the famed club’s entrance is now up for bidding at Green Jacket Auctions. The site recently orchestrated the sale of Horton Smith’s green coat for a reported $682,229. The online auction is ongoing through this weekend and the current bid stands at just shy of $19,000.
According to Ryan Carey, co-founder of Green Jacket Auctions, the sign, slightly dinged from use, is believed to be from the 1960s and had been discarded by the club. It was retrieved by a local resident, and had been offered on eBay in 2010 before being sold to a private bidder. Now up for bid at greenjacketauctions.com, the three-foot sign opened at $5,000 and within five days bids already had surpassed $17,000 and now stands at $18,987.
“In a way, this is a perfect auction item because it has just as much appeal to the serious collector as it does to the average everyday golfer,” Carey said. “The thing is there’s no comparable item we can use to evaluate it. Even $100,000 would not be all that surprising to me.”
What seems slightly unusual about the three-foot tall white sign with green trim and letters is how the logo looks somewhat off from the traditional Augusta National trademark. The font is not the old-style modified Bookman type that has been seen on badges and programs dating back to the 1940s. It’s actually more of a Century Italic. Also, instead of a square-shaped flying hole flag in the flagstick, it’s a more stylistically stark triangle.
As it turns out, however, Carey says the sign at the club’s front gate at the entrance to Magnolia Lane has changed a few times over the years, and the typeface has not often exactly matched the famous logo. In fact, a Getty Images photograph from the 1989 Masters shows a similar sign, although the flag is different.
Carey says the sign uses vinyl lettering that likely would have been commonly available in a sign shop of the era. He also says the map of the United States appears to be hand drawn and is actually subtly different on either side.
According to the description at greenjacketauctions.com, “This very sign hung at the entrance to Augusta's famed Magnolia Lane. Anyone who has visited Augusta, Georgia knows this this understated sign is essentially the only indication that the hallowed grounds of Augusta National lay just beyond the hustle and bustle of Washington Road.”
A spokesman for Augusta National said the club has “never authenticated memorabilia.”
The auction is scheduled to end April 9, at 8 p.m.