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By RON KEURAJIAN

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Masters of Golf: Henry Picard

By RON KEURAJIAN

— Autograph February 2009

 

My favorite golfer of all time is Henry Picard. I got to know Picard in the late 1980s and corresponded with him often. Known as “Pick” to his friends, Picard was one of the finest dressed golfers ever to hit the links. Sporting finely knitted sweaters, he was the textbook definition of the gentleman golfer. Picard burst onto the golf scene in 1932 by winning the Mid-South Open. He captured the 1938 Masters by edging out long ball hitter “Lighthorse Harry” Cooper. A year later he won the 1939 PGA Open for his second major. By the time he retired in the late 1940s, he had won 26 PGA tournaments, and was inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. Picard remains a legend of the Great Depression era golf and one of the all time good guys of the game.

A signed check from 1973

Picard signed in a very flowing and legible hand. His signature shows a nice right slant and his letter construction is strong. It’s extremely legible and has good eye appeal. He usually signed his name as “H. G. Picard,” but on occasion he signed as “Henry G. Picard.” His hand remained rather consistent throughout his life, but early signatures tend to be a bit more rounded and softer than modern ones. As the years progressed his hand became more pronounced and the signature became bolder and more compact. Picard’s hand remained strong nearly his entire life, but material signed in his final months show a slightly labored appearance. His signature is difficult to replicate, so well executed forgeries are very limited.

Picard was a willing and gracious signer throughout his life, but he never received many autograph requests, so the population of Picard material is limited and generally restricted to index cards. Golf scorecards, 8×10 photos and gum cards are uncommon. Picard’s life-long love affair with golf translates into a limited amount of fine content letters. Letters, both typed and handwritten, are scarce and highly desirable. About 40 vintage letters originated from the estate of famed golf instructor Alex Morrison and were quickly absorbed into the market. Picard golf balls are scarce and are on most wish lists. The majority of Picard golf balls in the market are forged, so be careful when purchasing one. Picard told me that he rarely signed golf balls or equipment of any type. Canceled bank checks are the toughest to come by—there is just a handful known and they should be considered rare. To sum it up, Picard has a scarce signature for which demand far outweighs supply.

Prices of Picard material have increased at a continuous and moderate pace. Signatures sell for $75. Signed 8×10 photos are desirable and sell for around $200. A typed letter signed sells for $150-$200, while autograph letters signed are valued at $400-$500. On the occasion of coming across signed golf balls, one in good condition will sell for $300-$400. Bank checks are typically valued at $400-$500. I think that Picard’s signature will increase in value in the years to come and will be a fine investment.