The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf by Hilton and Smith, Limited Edition #172 of 900, 1912

Hilton, Harold H., Smith, Garden G., The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf. London: The London and Counties Press Association Ltd., 1919. Published for Golf Illustrated Ltd. Limited edition #172/900. Original boards and archival clamshell case.

Presented is a first subscriber’s edition of the Royal and Ancient Game of Golf. This limited edition run printed only 900 copies, of which this is numbered 172. Edited by Harold H. Hilton and Garden G. Smith, the book was published in London in 1912 for Golf Illustrated Ltd

This book covers the history and origin of golf, eminent golfers, continental and American golf, and delivers a final Ode to Golf. The original front board features a gilt embossed lion emblem. Below the lion reads, “Far & Sure,” a common golf saying predating the 19th century. The book is heavily illustrated throughout.

The United Kingdom has a long history of golf. The game was first invented in Scotland during the 15th century and was said to add ten years to a man’s life if played often enough. Later in 1744, the first gentleman’s golf club was formed and rules began to formalize. During the 19th century, wherever the rule of Great Britain went, golf soon followed. The sport grew and certain destinations became known for their own style of courses. Books and guides like the one serve to inform the avid golfer on tips, tricks, and observations relating to certain courses, golfing cultures, and prominent individuals.


The first subscriber’s edition is presented in its original full red Moroccan leather binding, with decorative gilt embossed titles to spine and front board. Significant bowing to the boards due to age. All three edges of the pages are gilt. Internally, the pages have light occasional foxing from age. Some surface abrasions and toning to boards. The stamped number for the edition is in purple ink and clearly legible. 

The book is presented in a custom made, archival 3/4 red Moroccan leather and cloth clamshell case with gilt titles and raised bands to protect the book.

Dimensions: 13 3/4" H x 11 1/4" W x 2 1/4"D (with slipcase).

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