A very nice example of an early mesh patterned golf ball which was produced using an early mould, hence the irregular squares compared to later mesh patterned balls. The overall condition of this ball is very good still retaining about 95% of the original paint and only having two light ‘strike marks’ which have not deformed the shape of the ball.
Gutta-Percha balls are solid made totally from gutta (Gueta) meaning gum which produced from the sap of the Palaquium genus trees indigenous to the south Far East. The word Percha means cloth which was used to wrap the pure gutta in manageable blocks once surplus resin had been drained off and the gutta had cooled. The first gutta-percha balls were introduced in 1846 but they took a while to be accepted by the golfing fraternity and to be made suitable for playing with but once the latter had been established they soon became the norm because they were much cheaper to produce than their predecessor the Featherie ball.
This ball was part of a golf memorabilia collection held at an unknown golf club in Scotland for many years before they sold part of the collection including this ball to help raise funds for an extension to their club house. This ball was almost certainly made in Scotland, the maker being DUN which is intriguing because the surname of the famous twin brothers (Willie and Jamie) known as the ‘Dunnies’ is spelt DUNN. There matches against Tom Morris and Allan Robertson were always compelling and excited the audience that followed them. They began their professional career at the Blackheath Golf Club in London before moving back to Leith (Edinburgh) in1869 to 71 and finally Musselburgh in 1871, the year that Jamie died.
However in the book ‘The Story of the Golf Ball’ by Kevin McGimpsey, page 10, it shows both their names spelt with a single N. No reference of a ball maker with the surname DUN can be found so it is very probable that some of their balls were produced showing only a single N. This mystery has been taken into consideration when pricing this ball, i.e. if the name DUNN was shown then the price would be considerably higher.
The markings on these early balls were written by hand in ink so possibly that is another reason as to why the name only shows a single N. The mystery of golf and sadly there is no one left alive to ask the question. Also information regarding these old gutta-percha balls is scarce as records were not kept.
The number 26 relates to the ‘pennyweight’ of the ball which ranged from 26 to 29dwts. The 26 ball was a light ball weighing 1.70 ounces compared to the 29 ball being heavier with a weight of 1.81 ounces.
Re Postage for Vintage Golf Balls.
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