‘Slammin’ Sam Snead’s 1949 winning Masters trophy up for auction

Fatiha Betscher

Snead's trophy, awarded for his 1949 success, will be put up by Golden Age Auctions

Fatiha Betscher

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This is probably another of those very rare lifetime opportunities, and perhaps your only chance to own a piece of Masters history – Sam Snead’s 1949 Masters winning trophy.

Snead’s 1949 triumph was the first of three Masters victories, and the 1949 tournament is among the most famous in Masters Tournament history as it was the very first time a green jacket was awarded to the Augusta National winning hero. Snead won by three shots thanks to back-to-back 67s on the weekend.

Golden Age Auctions, charged with auctioning the trophy, suggest the Masters Tournament trophy is far and away the most elusive trophy in all of golf.

Unlike the other Major Championship trophies (not to mention other sports), replicas are not produced. No salesman samples, no smaller copies, and no other versions for Augusta members or tournament VIPs. Save for a couple of larger “Permanent” trophies produced for the Hall of Fame and other museums, the only way to obtain a Masters Tournament trophy is to go out and win the Masters.

The three dimensional sterling silver trophy was first awarded in 1993, meaning that it was only presented at the time of victory to 23 different Champions (Bernhard Langer through Jon Rahm this year).

Additionally, only living Masters Tournament Champions have been allowed to purchase this trophy, not their families, heirs or anyone else on their behalf.

The auctioneers say they can confirm that at least nine different then-living Masters Champs have ordered these trophies. Combined, that is still less than three dozen Masters Champions that ever received one. Looking through a list of names that includes Tiger, Jack, Phil, Jordan, Sergio, DJ, Matsuyama, Sheffler and Rahm, it becomes quite clear that perhaps none of these trophies will ever reach the collector market. And with the earning potential of today’s golfers, we can also assume that no future Masters Champion is likely to put his trophy for auction.

As an indication of what price Snead’s first Masters trophy may fetch, in 2021, a blank/unassigned Masters Trophy went on the market and it still brought over $500,000 at auction.

As the true scarcity of Masters Tournament trophies becomes apparent and fully appreciated by collectors, we expect the couple of available trophies to reach stratospheric valuations the likes of which have not yet been seen in golf collecting hobby history. Whether or not the hobbyists are ready for these numbers remains to be seen, but the 1949 Masters Sam Snead trophy will undoubtedly command $1 million+ in the very near future, if not immediately.

This sterling silver on wood base “clubhouse” trophy measures 13.5″ wide by 6.5″ tall, and weighs 20 pounds. The front of the trophy is engraved “Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Sam Snead 1949, 282.”

Snead passed away in 2002 aged 89 having won 82 PGA Tour events between 1936 and 1965, and though that tally has been matched by a still sidelined Tiger Woods, Snead also has another 60 wins worldwide.

He was fitted with three Masters winning jackets, the first in 1949, before earning two more in 1952 and 1954.

At a guess, this 1949 Masters trophy could go close to attracting a seven-figure sum.

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