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|Southern Open Golf Trophy||Testimonials|
|Restoration — Estes-Simmons maintains the old-world tradition of craftmanship.|
In 1927 the Southern Open Golf Trophy was in the hands of Bobby T. Jones, in 1979 it was in the hands of thieves, and in 1996, following its restoration by Estes-Simmons Silverplating of Atlanta, it was placed in the hands of the original owners, the Atlanta Athletic Club.
The sterling silver trophy, which is 24" high and weighs 113 troy ounces (10 lbs.) was originally manufactured by Bailey, Banks and Biddle in 1919 and presented to the winners of the Southern Open Golf Tournament from 1919 through 1927. Engraved on the trophy are the names of the winners: James Barnes - 1919, Douglas Edgar - 1920, Gene Sarazan - 1922, Bobby Jones - 1927, and the tournament sponsor, The Atlanta Journal.
Maintaining the authenticity of the trophy was of major concern to the craftsmen at Estes-Simmons. It was important to retain as much of the original engraving as possible. Before any restoration could be done, the original engraving had to be transcribed so that it could be retraced later. Using magnifying glasses and loops, silversmiths outlined the engraving, determining line length, letter height, and engraving styles. Having completed that step, restoration began.
Once the individual pieces were disassembled, they had to be reshaped into their true forms. The hammering process used to reshape the trophy to its original form involved several steps. First, highly polished steel forms in a variety of shapes, known as "stakes," were placed onto a heavy duty vice. Next, the sliver piece being reshaped was placed on the form. Using highly polished/mirror finished silversmith hammers of different shapes and sizes, the silversmith began to strike the damaged area with tiny blows, being careful not to mat, flatten, or stretch the silver. Using a circular rotation, small portions of the damaged area were hammered, shaped and then annealed (heated and cooled to reduce brittleness) before moving onto another section. Over 200 blows were struck per rotation. More than 20 rotations were completed on the midsection only.
When the true shape of the top and bottom were achieved, it was time to begin restoring the midsection. Before any work could be done, "Alligator Jaws" were used to spread the midsection apart. Using the hammering process described, the midsection was hammered back to its true shape, carefully working around the engraving to avoid further marring or additional loss of clarity. Over one half-million hammer strikes were needed to get the piece back into shape.
To complete the restoration, the engraving was retraced by a master engraver, clarifying the blurred areas and saving 95% of the original outlines. The final polishing was accomplished with a cotton flannel buff and jeweler's rouge. This step restored the luster and finish. It took approximately 100 man hours to restore the trophy.
"Restoring this trophy resulted in a moment of true pride and joy," said Mark. "The ultimate reward was the reaction of the Atlanta Athletic Club's board of directors when the trophy was returned to its place of honor."