An official Augusta National green jacket has to be on the shortest of short lists of improbable thrift store finds. Even more improbable, it’s happened more than once.
Some fortunate fellow snapped up one of the signature blazers at a Houston thrift store last year, selling it for an undisclosed amount to a Pennsylvania car dealership. But the “original thrift store green jacket,” which was discovered at a Toronto thrift store in 1994, and has been widely written about since, has just hit the auction block. So, ready those checkbooks, golf fans.
This particular green jacket’s story is truly outrageous. It was nestled among the gently-worn blazers at a Toronto thrift store…for $5. A golfer who visited the shop immediately saw what he might have in his hands and happily paid the pauper’s sum.
Augusta National authenticated the jacket, but the club didn’t provide any additional details. And to deepen the mystery, the original owner cut the tag with his name on it out of the jacket. So while the saga is an incredible one, it’d be all the more compelling if we knew who its original owner was and how it wound up at a thrift store north of the border.
The aptly named Green Jacket Auctions, who are conducting the sale, say the jacket dates to the early-to-mid 1950s, as it predates 1957 Champion Doug Ford’s jacket. While the institution of the green jacket dates to 1937, the ruling powers at Augusta National Golf Club didn’t start handing them out to winners until 1949. (Can’t let those riff-raff professional golfers look like us,” you can imagine some saying). Thus, the “thrift store green jacket” is known to be a particularly early vintage.
While the starting bid for this piece of golf history was just $5,000, we’d wager it’ll sell for at least $50K when the (virtual) gavel strikes in a couple of weeks. Even after paying the auction house, not a bad margin on a $5 initial investment for the original purchaser.
UPDATE: After 35 separate offers, the winning bid on Sunday numbered at $139,348.80