Guide to collecting hand painted coin golf ball markers.

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A 25+ YEAR OLD ORIGINAL MADE BY CREATIVE USA
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A 25+ YEAR OLD ORIGINAL MADE BY CREATIVE USA

Why these golf ball markers are highly valued by the golf ball marker collecting community.

Most of the hand painted / coin type markers post 1952 are originals sold at the actual events. Those prior to 1952 are certainly 'commemoratives' as the stymie rule applied and golf balls could not be lifted and cleaned. These commemoratives were made as part of a program by Golfdesign USA and Creative USA in the 1980s to match those that were currently made for the US Opens, Opens, USPGA and Ryder Cup events by those companies. They are therefore 'originals' in design and not replicas of earlier designs - however they were certainly not made in the 1920s 1930s etc.  
 
In the 1990s the USGA (United States Golf Association) asked Golfdesign and Creative to stop making 'commemorative' ball markers for the US Opens and USPGAs - issuing a threat of removing the license from them to continue to make ballmarkers for current US Opens / USPGAs. Of course they conceded to this request as they did not want to lose their license - and as such commemoratives for earlier years ceased to be made. That is why earlier ballmarkers for US Opens, Opens and USPGAs are very collectable today.

This ball marker was made by Creative in the late 1980s - it has a plain brass back. Creative only added markings to a few markers in the late 1990s and not to any of the commemorative series as the production of these had stopped by that date. Golfdesign only started back printing their logo on top their ball markers in the mid 1990s. Before that date all were plain backs.

During the last year a number of recent unauthorised copies of the Open, USPGA and Ryder Cup ball markers have appeared on Ebay mostly from the same seller based in the USA who has obviously copied the original designs. Buyers should note that the original ball markers made by Creative USA and Golfdesign in the 1980s and 1990s are of a higher standard in all respects, quality weight, painting and embossing. The brass backs of the originals are usually tarnished unlike the recent copies that have a bright shiny sheen to the reverse of the markers. This is because the alloy used to make the recently copied ball markers is different from the originals. The originals tarnish naturally and the recent copies do not. Some of the fake copies also have spelling mistakes as they have been made in the far east and not copied correctly. Please refer to some of the photos I have included below showing the recent copies compared to the originals.
 
 Hope you find this information useful.
 
All the best and happy collecting!
 
Paul


In 2003 / 2004 the USGA allowed Golfdesign to release a few complete commemorative sets for the US Opens. This was for the new magnamark issue and these sets were provided strictly to a few lucky collectors who at the time made a formal written request for these sets. They were provided strictly on the basis of  'not for resale' and were provided on the understanding that these were for collecting purposes only. Commemorative sets of ballmarkers for the USPGA were not made avaialble at that time. Magnamark commemorative sets are no longer available from Golfdesign.

AN ORIGINAL 'COMMEMORATIVE' BALL MARKER MADE IN THE 1980s
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AN ORIGINAL 'COMMEMORATIVE' BALL MARKER MADE IN THE 1980s
ANOTHER CREATIVE USA ORIGINAL FROM THE 1990s
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ANOTHER CREATIVE USA ORIGINAL FROM THE 1990s
AN ORIGINAL GOLFDESIGN BALL MARKER - SOMETIMES WITH A PLAIN BACK OR STAMPED TO THE REVERSE.
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AN ORIGINAL GOLFDESIGN BALL MARKER - SOMETIMES WITH A PLAIN BACK OR STAMPED TO THE REVERSE.

HOW TO SPOT A RECENT FAKE COPY!


LOOK CAREFULLY AT THE EXAMPLES BELOW - ALL THE RECENT FAKES ARE ON THE LEFT AND THE ORIGINALS TO THE RIGHT. EACH EXAMPLE HAD TEXT BELOW TO EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCES. IN SOME COPIES THERE ARE SPELLING MISTAKES AS IN THE EXAMPLE DIRECTLY BELOW, OTHERS HAVE DIFFERENCES IN THE LOGO AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN COPIED CORRECTLY OR STAMPED TO THE SAME QUALITY STANDARD. MOST RECENT FAKES HAVE BRIGHT BRASS COLOURED BACKS AND LOOK VERY NEW AS A DIFFERENT METAL ALLOY WAS USED TO THE REVERSE. THE BRASS BACK REVERSE OF THE ORIGINALS IS USUALLY TARNISHED. THE PAINTWORK ON THE COPIES IS NOT UP TO THE SAME STANDARD AS THE ORIGINALS AND THEY ARE USUALLY HAVE LESS WEIGHT.

THE ORIGINALS WERE ALL MADE BY CREATIVE USA AND GOLFDESIGN USA - MOST OF THE RECENT COPIES ARE MADE IN THE FAR EAST.
THE FAKE COPY IS ON THE LEFT - NOTE THE SPELLING MISTAKE 'COUNIRY CLUB'
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THE FAKE COPY IS ON THE LEFT - NOTE THE SPELLING MISTAKE 'COUNIRY CLUB'
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THE FAKE COPY IS ON THE LEFT - NOTE THE SPELLING MISTAKE 'COUNIRY CLUB'
Compare the details on the flags - the outlines are much sharper on the original (right).
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Compare the details on the flags - the outlines are much sharper on the original (right).
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Compare the details on the flags - the outlines are much sharper on the original (right).
Look for mistakes in lettering (see left fake copy- R in Thunderbird)
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Look for mistakes in lettering (see left fake copy- R in Thunderbird)
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Look for mistakes in lettering (see left fake copy- R in Thunderbird)
The gold gilt is often duller on the fake copies & sellers deliberately add poor photos on listings
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The gold gilt is often duller on the fake copies & sellers deliberately add poor photos on listings
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The gold gilt is often duller on the fake copies & sellers deliberately add poor photos on listings
Again the fake copy is on the left
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Again the fake copy is on the left
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Again the fake copy is on the left
Fake to the left again - note the poor quality.
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Fake to the left again - note the poor quality.
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Fake to the left again - note the poor quality.
Fake on the left - look waht they've done to the USA flag
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Fake on the left - look waht they've done to the USA flag
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Fake on the left - look waht they've done to the USA flag
Fake on left - golfer has turned from a male to a female golfer
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Fake on left - golfer has turned from a male to a female golfer
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Fake on left - golfer has turned from a male to a female golfer
Fake on left - a fairly good copy but note the difference in colour and the sharpness of the lettering
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Fake on left - a fairly good copy but note the difference in colour and the sharpness of the lettering
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Fake on left - a fairly good copy but note the difference in colour and the sharpness of the lettering
Hello - he's here again faking masters stem ball markers. See guide to collecting stem markers.
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Hello - he's here again faking masters stem ball markers. See guide to collecting stem markers.
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Hello - he's here again faking masters stem ball markers. See guide to collecting stem markers.
All recent fake copies on the left from the same seller - original on the right
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All recent fake copies on the left from the same seller - original on the right
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All recent fake copies on the left from the same seller - original on the right

Hope you found this guide useful.

Take care when choosing your ball markers to buy and have fun!
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