What started as a collection of souvenirs from golf courses Andrew Duckett played has grown into one of the largest private collections of Masters memorabilia..
His collection has gotten so big that in 2009 he set up a booth at Trends & Traditions Antique Mall on Washington Road to sell some of it off.
But the collector in him continues to scour yard and estate sales for anything obscure related to golf and its premier tournament – The Masters.
The Atlanta architect has always enjoyed collecting things and loves to play golf.
About 25 years ago he started picking up items from the pro shops with the course logo on them.
Duckett attended his first Masters Tournament in 1983. His father was a member of the Atlanta Athletic Club, of which Augusta National founder Bobby Jones was once a member as well. So Duckett was quite familiar with the tournament as he grew up and became fascinated by the Atlanta-Augusta golf connection.
In 1989 he noticed patrons collecting players’ autographs during practice rounds, so he began collecting them himself. It was a social opportunity, as well as a chance to meet the players. Others who collected autographs sat by the practice range together and hoped a player had time to stop. It was really a great ambience, he said.
“Then, when Tiger Woods came along, it got a little more competitive and crowded, and not as much fun because people were trying to get his autograph to sell and trade,” Duckett said.
Like many collectors, the beginnings of his Masters collection were things easily acquired, like badges. But his interest in the history of the tournament led him to search for rarer items that were related to the tournament and to its founder.
“Everybody can collect Masters badges,” he said. “They’re not hard to get. Anything from the late ’70s, ’80s or ’90s or later are not hard to find. The thing I like to do is look for obscure things.”
It could be something as simple as an old copy of Masters Edition from 1959, still in the plastic wrapper.
“It’s still rolled up. It wasn’t opened or read. As an item, it’s just interesting to me,” he said.
At an estate sale he found letters written by P.J. Berckmans, who owned Fruitland Nursery on the land now occupied by the Augusta National Golf Club.
He also has 8 mm films from the tournament and a recording of a radio broadcast made from the tournament in the 1940s.
He also has a couple of periscopes that were used by patrons in the 1950s. They were only in use at the Masters for a couple of years, he said.
Digging into the Masters’ history led to an interest in the history of Augusta, and he’s recently started collecting items relating to the resort hotels – the Bon Air, the Partridge Inn and the Hampton Terrace in North Augusta.
Much of his collection remains at his home in Atlanta, but he and good friend Byron Eder, also a collector, maintain a large display at Trends & Traditions.
Duckett brings more items each time he comes to Augusta, which is about once every couple of weeks,
and weekly as Masters Week approaches.
“I think a lot of this is to get the house back,” he said.
Duckett said he still loves to collect, but now makes many of his purchases with an eye toward what his customers may want to buy.
“I’m kind of disappointed now that everything is up for grabs,” he said.