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Few things are more synonomous with greatness in golf than the coveted green jacket awarded to the winner of the Masters—the first of golf’s four major championships each year.
Unlike the typical Waterford crystal trophies and big cardboard checks presented to winners of most Tour events, the green jacket is a trophy that winners of the Masters wear with great pride.
You can imagine the surprise of volunteers at The Guild Shop, a non-profit retail shop in Houston operated to raise money to help elderly in need, when they opened a box of clothes from an anonymous donor and found a vintage 1960s Masters green jacket.
“This was a real find,” executive director Gaye Jackson told KHOU-TV. “We were going through a box of clothes and she came upon this green jacket, and she brought it immediately to our volunteer coordinator and said, ‘I think this might be something.”
Because of the anonymous donation, it may never be known whether it was donated by mistake or who it belonged to. Houstonians Jimmy Demaret (1940, ’47 and ’50) won three Masters titles and Jackie Burke Jr. won in 1956. Claude Harmon, the patriarch of Houston’s First Family of Golf for their teaching prowess, also won the 1948 Masters. And recent Houston transplant Mark O’Meara won the Masters in 1998. Over the years, there have also been a number of Augusta National members from Houston.
What makes the find more rare is that even Masters winners are only allowed to keep them for a year before they have to return them to the club. Current Augusta National custom is that member green jackets don’t leave the property.
The Guild Shop consulted GreenJacketAuctions.com, which auctions Masters memorabilia. They learned that this isn’t the first time a green jacket has shown up for sale. In 2013, the New Jersey-based auction site sold a green jacket won by 1934 and 1936 Masters champion Horton Smith, for $682,000. The last one to come up for
auction sold for $18,000.
After widespread media reports about the jacket, The Guild Shop sold the green jacket to a Pennsylvania car dealership for $18,000 and will use the proceeds to help the elderly.