Gerald Ford's golf clubs, rug raise thousands in auction

DALLAS Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:57pm IST

President Ford playing golf in a 1975 photo. REUTERS/Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library

President Ford playing golf in a 1975 photo.

Credit: Reuters/Courtesy Gerald R. Ford Library

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DALLAS (Reuters) - A set of well-used golf clubs that belonged to former President Gerald Ford was among 50 items that sold at auction on Tuesday, raising $131,682 for the expansion of his presidential museum.

The golf clubs in their original bag, with the inscription "Jerry Ford" and the presidential seal, were sold by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions for $26,290. The clubs were the highest-selling item, since they were so closely identified with the late president, who was an avid golfer, Heritage officials said.

"This was not some presentation set that was locked away in a closet and never actually used," said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions for Heritage. "These are his much-loved personal clubs."

Other items auctioned off included a hooked rug of the Presidential Seal that was used in Ford's home office in Rancho Mirage, California, which sold for $13,145.

Ford's personal copy of an 8x10 inch signed photograph of the five then-living presidents - Ford, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush - taken at the dedication of the Reagan Library in 1991, sold for $7,170.

A flag that flew over the White House during Ford's presidency sold for $2,151.

Heritage does not disclose the identities of the buyers.

Ford's family put the items up for auction to raise money for the private, non-profit Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, which supports the museum in Ford's hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of Ford's alma mater, the University of Michigan.

The money raised from the auction will help build a student learning center at the museum, Heritage officials said.

Ford, who took office in 1974 on the resignation of Nixon after the Watergate scandal, died in 2006. His wife, Betty, died in 2011.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Peter Cooney)

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