Palmer's Masters trophy fetches $444K at auction

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

Palmer 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.

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

With a starting bid of $50,000, the lot far exceeded its £250,000 estimate before being secured by a private bidder, who paid $444,012.

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

It read: "It was always Arnold's intention that this trophy would be placed in an appropriate museum or institution with which he was personally associated. 

"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.

Palmer died in September at the age of 87.