Not much is known about the Augusta National green jacket that was found in a Toronto thrift store in 1994. No one even is sure what year it dates from or who once wore it (the original owner’s name is cut out of it). The only thing most people agree upon is that it’s from the 1950s, probably before 1957 based on the style of tag inside it.
But what we do know is this: Augusta National has confirmed its authenticity, and it could be yours at auction Saturday if you have five figures to spend.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 8, 2017
The bidding at Green Jacket Auctions opened at $5,000 and since has risen to $30,579. The auction closes at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday night.
Green jackets bearing the Augusta National logo are given to each member of the club plus each year’s Masters winner, a tradition that started with Sam Snead’s victory in 1949. However, only the Masters champion may take their green jacket off the grounds of the club, and then only for their one year on the throne. And so the mystery of this particular green jacket deepens: How on Earth did it get from Augusta National to a thrift store in Ontario, where it was purchased for $5 by an avid golfer who was rummaging through a pile of jackets and knew exactly what he was getting.
Augusta National only would confirm the jacket’s authenticity; it has refused to provide any other details about it, including who possibly once wore it.
Somehow, the Canadian green jacket wasn’t the only one that’s been unearthed at a thrift store. In late December 2015, a member’s jacket that was estimated to date back to the 1960s popped up at a nonprofit store that serves the elderly in Houston. The store sold it to a car dealership in Pennsylvania for what it would only describe as a “substantial amount … which will go a long way with helping our mission,” according to Golf.com’s Sean Zak.
Bob Zafian of Green Jacket Auctions told Zak that he had sold more than a dozen green jackets — the one given retroactively to Horton Smith, who won the first Masters in 1934, went for $682,000 at auction — so it’s not like seeing them in the wild is completely unheard of. But finding one in a Toronto thrift store: definitely bizarre.