SETTING an auction record for a golf medal, Willie Fernie's 1883 Open Championship winner's medal sold for £48,500 at the sale held by Maxwells of Wilmslow, Cheshire on July 15. In good condition and in its original box, the silver-gilt medal was won by Scotland’s four-times runner-up in his only Open victory at Musselburgh.

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Willie Fernie’s winners medal from the 1883 Open sold at Maxwells of Wilmslow for £48,500, setting an auction record for a golf medal.

It just pipped the previous record of £48,000 for the medal won by Mungo Park in the 1874 Open, which sold at Graham Budd in May 2005.

The 1883 championship went down to a playoff between Fernie and the defending champion Bob Ferguson, which Fernie won by a single stroke.

The winner's medal was kept in the family until 2002 when it was sold privately to a collector from whom it was acquired by Maxwells' American vendor. The auctioneers said it came with a full documented provenance.

It was bought below its £50,000-60,000 estimate by a private buyer from the North of England.

Held two days before the start of this year's Open at Royal Birkdale, the price was a new house record for Maxwells' at their inaugural golfing memorabilia sale.

The buyer's premium was 17.5 per cent.

By Alex Capon