As I have said on this site, my main collection
is billiard cues, however I have a small number of other items, including a set
of Ivory billiard balls, a small number of cigarette cards and a basket for
keeping the balls in. This basket is the type that you see people jumping balls
into in trick shot demonstrations. I also have a set of Bonzoline snooker plus
balls, which include the purple and orange balls used in this game.
My book collection includes the book by Dufton
and early books by John Roberts and John Roberts Junior. Collecting early books
has become quite expensive in recent years; I first started collecting mine in
second hand shops paying on average £5. Unfortunately, this situation
didnt last long but I suppose that Ive had my fair share of
One of my biggest was the Major General Drayson
book which, I bought for £3 on a market stall and one of Willie
Smiths books that I found in a shop in Whitby also for £3.
It is still possible to get some of the later
books for a few pounds but most people dont consider them collectible.
Some future collectors items include John
Spencers excellent book both instructionally and for giving
autobiographical insight is "Spencer on Snooker" which, if you are fortunate
you can find for just a few pounds to get you started. This book was reprinted
in 1986 in paperback and still sits on many second-hand bookshelves waiting to
be discovered. I remember a story about a certain Mr OKane the famous New
Zealand Snooker professional. As a youngster he borrowed this book so often
from his local library that they eventually gave it to him.
Other books that are becoming sought after by
some are Clive Evertons "History of Billiards and Snooker" which, is
packed with historical data and quite a good read.
Some books are more numerous than people realise
such as Melbourne Inmans book, "How to play Billiards". I have had four
copies of this book, never paying more than £8 for a copy, however I have
seen it for sale for much more.
Perhaps it goes without saying but the books to
look out for are first edition books, if you see yourself as a collector,
however if you just want to read and keep them for interest it doesnt
really matter too much. If you are interested and the price and condition are
within what you consider acceptable, you cant go wrong.
I remember getting John Pullmans paperback
called "Tackle Snooker", it was a few years later that I came across an
original first edition hardback version.
If you are on a budget and lets be honest most
of us are, then collecting some of the newer books may be a way to start.
Another new book that is interesting from a
historical perspective is Fred Daviss book "Talking Snooker", this book
is written in a very candid way and gives an insight into the snooker circuit
of many years ago as Fred had such a long career. This book can turn up for a
few pounds in second hand bookshops and is well worth a read.
Some of the earlier billiard teaching books can
be very difficult to enjoy reading for me as they require a degree of
understanding of the game that we might get from watching top class play, sadly
we dont get much chance to do this nowadays.
Another relatively modern book that is still
around on the second hand shelves is Terry Griffiths and Clive Evertons
"Championship Snooker", this book gives a good insight into the technical side
of playing snooker and a view of Terrys year as world champion.
Finally you might still be lucky enough to come
across one of the later editions of Joe Daviss book, "How I play Snooker"
in paperback. The original hard-backed version is now becoming quite expensive.
This book is the one that Steve Davis and his father Bill studied as a basis
for building Steves own technique in the 1970s. This book has
little autobiographical insights but is mainly a technical book on how Joe
Davis played the game of Snooker.
Good luck with finding the more obscure items
but remember some of the more modern books can be relatively inexpensive and
are often a better read. In no way am I attempting to discourage you from
getting hold of the older books but I feel that the books of the recent past
are the collectors items of the future.