In 1987 the Ryder Cup was held at the Muirfield Village course, owned by Jack Nicklaus, and in conjunction with that event Cybis produced a special limited edition porcelain commemorative. Approximately 20 of them were made: one for each Team USA player, plus additional sculptures for the PGA and World Golf Hall of Fame. It stands 15” high and is about 8” across at the widest point.
Because this was not a retail edition it’s unknown what the monetary value of the Cybis cup was at the time; but considering the extremely small edition size and restricted distribution it would certainly have been several thousand (a typical 1980s Cybis limited edition of, say, 500 sculptures retailed for approximately $2000 on average). The Ryder Cup pictured here was sold at auction in June 2013 with a hammer price of only $550 (!!) … clearly the auction house did not know what they had, or else did not advertise it properly, because there is no indication on the closed listing that there was any damage to the piece.
Not one but two Cybis Ryder Cup trophies were offered at auction by a company specializing in golf memorabilia. One of them belonged to Tony Jacklin; it had a starting bid of $500 and ended up selling for $1988 including a buyer’s premium, due to the fact that it had a cracked lid. The other cup in the auction belonged to former PGA President Warren Orlick and ended up being sold for $6238 including the buyer’s premium.
It’s possible that three were sold by this same golf auction company, because the description of the damaged one references another that was sold in 2011 for about $7300 but was completely destroyed in transit to the winning bidder.
As of August 2016 it appears that as many as five of the original twenty Ryder Cup Trophy pieces may have come onto the market: The 1987 sale pictured here; the two 2015 examples that sold for $1988 and $6238; possibly a 2011 sale for $7300 that was destroyed in shipping; and also a March 2016 example (with no damage noted) sale for $3750. However, because none of these were numbered, there’s no way to know whether or not the Cup sold in 2016 is the same as either of the cups that sold in 1987 or 2011. It does seem odd that Cybis did not put sculpture numbers on any of them.
Cybis produced several other golf-related sculptures (golfing bunnies and two golf-motif bears, all of them open editions) but the Ryder Cup is definitely the most expensive and exclusive golf sculpture the studio produced.
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