Craze for Masters gnomes grows. The little golf- centric statue becoming coveted collector's items


AUGUSTA, Ga. — Gnomes, those quirky statues that people put in their gardens, are flying off the shelves at Augusta National.

The Masters golf-centric gnomes been selling out within a couple of hours each morning after the tournament gift shop opens. Patrons are more than willing to wait in hour-long lines for the $49.50 ceramic figurine that has become a highly coveted collector’s item.

Augusta National has been selling the one-foot high gnomes — which come in different colorful designs each year — since 2016.

And they’re growing in popularity and value as time passes.

One seller has listed the collection of eight Masters gnomes for $16,000 on eBay.

Others who visited the shop this week have already put this year’s gnome up for sale on eBay at nearly 10 times what they paid.

John McGovern and his wife Erin made the trek to Augusta from Carlsbad, California and said the gnome was a “targeted item” for them.

“They are so cute,” Erin McGovern said.

John McGovern suggested the couple might give it to a family friend when they get back to California after the Masters. His wife has other plans.

“No, it’s going in the garden,” she insisted.

Others have no plans to allow their gnomes to endure the indignity of residing outside in potentially poor weather conditions.

After all, it would likely diminish its value.

“We’ll probably sell it,” said Pam Threlkheld of Ninety Six, South Carolina, said afrwe

“We’ve heard it’s worth like five times what we’re paying for it,” her husband Dwayne Threlkeld added. “Everyone was talking about it, so I figured let’s get one while we’re here.”

Patrons can only purchase one gnome per day and they are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are also mini-gnomes available at the gift shop.

Patrons typically will choose to navigate the long lines at the gift shop upon entering the grounds at Augusta National rather than heading straight to the course.

The gift shop shelves are restocked the next morning until the figurines are gone again.

The bigger winner in this gnome craze is, of course, the Masters. Forbes reported that the Masters made $69 million in merchandise sales in 2022.

This year’s Masters gnome is the familiar old man with a long white beard, wearing a blue cardigan with a white shirt and tie, a white Masters bucket hat and blue-and -green plaid pants.

“It’s become this iconic thing, so I got one,” said Ben Milgram from Detroit. “Everyone is saying, ‘did you get the gnome?’”

Milgram has no idea what he’s going to do with his gnome.

“There’s a running joke in my house that I once bought a dog leash — and I don’t even have a dog,” Milgram said. “So I don’t know what I will do it. Maybe put the thing on a shelf, I guess.”

There might be a few people willing to take it off his hands.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf



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