Collecting can seem like a closed shop to people just
getting into it I feel, for example I once knew a chap that had twelve J P
Mannock cues. At the time I thought it strange that someone should have twelve
cues all the same. Now I realise that if you consider the wood used in the
construction of these cues as well as what is written on the badge, there are
at least 7 distinct versions of a Mannock cue and suddenly his preference
doesnt seem so strange after all.
Some people only collect non mass-produced items, such
as personally autographed items; perhaps they feel closer to the subject of
their collection by owning things that their subject has touched?
I have two autographed books myself; one is Horace
Lindrums How to play snooker and billiards for the amateur and the other
is Tom Newmans advanced billiards. I must admit that the Newman book is
one of my favourite items that I own. He probably signed hundreds and yet to me
it is still significant.
I have a friend who owns two autographed cues a Joe
Davis and a Horace Lindrum, I think that the Joe Davis cue is his favourite
item from his collection, I have asked him to leave it to me in his will.
Even these items may seem trivial to the likes of
Roger Lee and yet most of us would probably like to get a hold of similar items
and would value them quite highly, if they found there way into our relatively
As I said previously, my collection started with the
reprint of John Spencers book, Spencer on snooker. Incidentally I met
John Spencer at the world snooker championships one year and approached him to
ask if he would sign my copy of Ladbroke international snooker a kind of
promotional book for a tournament that John had played in a few years earlier.
I said inanely "youre John Spencer" he replied with practised humour "I
hope so Ive been sleeping with his wife". I felt a little foolish but his
genuine smile assured me that his humour was designed to make me feel O.K.
rather than mock and he signed my book saying "its not often we older end get
asked to sign anything these days". I hope that he enjoyed the compliment that
I intended to pay him?
The book that I asked John Spencer to sign, was the
only book that I had with me at the time and fortunately it featured him inside
its pages. So asking him to sign it seemed appropriate, I wouldnt have
felt right asking him to sign Alex through the looking glass however.
Two years later I visited the crucible again and
bought a copy of Ken Dohertys video "A great day for the Irish" which
tells the story of his world championship win the previous year. This
particular year myself and a friend had booked an afternoon and an evening
session. We were just on our way back to the theatre, when my friend saw Ken
Doherty and a small group of friends coming the other way. I asked Ken if he
would sign something for me, he said yes, I delved into my bag and found the
video that I had bought earlier in the day. I slipped the cover out and asked
Ken to sign on the inside of it, which he did. I have since thought about how
lucky this was as I had swapped some books for the video with Dave
Johnston-Allen less than three hours previously. I wished Ken all the best for
the remainder of the tournament and as you know my influence proved slightly
less potent than I had hoped, yet he did get to the final. I am still waiting
for the cheque to come in the post.
A good book for those of you who wish to collect
autographs is Terry Griffiths book, "Championship snooker". This book has
quite a few pages that are blank at the beginning and at the end. My copy is
becoming something of an embarrassment to me as it now contains the autographs
of Joe Johnson, Wayne Jones, Ray Edmonds, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Mathew
Stevens, Roger Lee and Willie Thorne. My embarrassment comes from the fact that
I havent managed to secure the autograph of the author in these
well-scribbled on pages.
After all, this autograph hunting it seems strange to
confess but I dont really enjoy bugging people for their signatures as it
seems an intrusion, and yet it has provided me with these, I hope humorous
memories. In sharing them I further hope that I have encouraged you to look out
for items that give you pleasure, other peoples opinions may often be
noteworthy or interesting but your own pleasure should be of paramount
importance when collecting. Good hunting.