Arnold Palmer's Masters trophy fetches $444,000 at auction

Arnold Palmer's Masters trophy fetches $444,000 at auction

Arnold Palmer's family demanded that the public be privy to one of the golfing great's Masters trophies after it was auctioned for $444,000.

One of the four Masters trophies presented to late golfing icon Arnold Palmer has sold at auction for more than $444,000.

Palmer, who died in September at age 87, was awarded a trophy for each of his wins at Augusta, when a replica of the clubhouse was added as a prize alongside the fabled green jacket in 1993.

MORE: Classic photos of Arnold Palmer

The seven-time major champion's family retains the other three trophies, with the fourth put up for auction after a golf museum that it had been intended for was not opened because of financial issues.

With a starting bid of $50,000, the lot far exceeded its $315,000 estimate before being secured by a private bidder, who paid $444,012.

Palmer's family issued a statement regarding the haul, expressing a desire to see the trophy go on display, as was initially intended, while criticizing the museum's "extremely disappointing" prospective owners for selling the trophy when they hit money trouble, rather than return it.

"It was always Arnold's intention that this trophy would be placed in an appropriate museum or institution with which he was personally associated," the statement read. "We hope that the winning bidder in this auction will allow the trophy to be publicly displayed so that it can be appreciated by fans of Arnold Palmer for years to come."

The price tag is reportedly the second highest in history for a piece of golfing memorabilia behind the green jacket received by the Masters' first champion, which fetched almost $700,000.

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