Before the Masters was the Masters, the annual tournament in Augusta, Ga., was called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament.
Horton Smith was the first player to win the event, played in 1934 at the course Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie designed. However, Smith wasn’t awarded a green jacket, the iconic symbol we know today, for his victory. He got a trophy.
But in 1949, Augusta National began issuing green”coats” to its Masters champions. Sam Snead won the first that year. Meanwhile, the club retroactively doled out jackets to winners of the Masters in its first decade. Smith, who also won the Masters in 1936, received a jacket that year.
Then it kind of disappeared. Smith died in 1963, and no one — neither Augusta National nor the World Golf Hall of Fame — had any idea where it was. However, the jacket was in the safe hands of family. Smith’s brother’s second wife’s kids had the jacket, sitting in a closet, merely collecting dust. They decided to sell it at auction through Green Jacket Auctions, a company which, as you might guess, specializes in bidding up Masters memorabilia and merchandise.
After being up for auction since Aug. 21, the bidding ended on Sunday morning. The 37th and final bid was the winner: $682,229.45.
The jacket is a 43 Long in size, and it will be a long time before a jacket like this is sold publicly again.
[Images courtesy: Green Jacket Auctions]