Players from older eras that you might
still be able to find cues that commemorate them and their achievements
include. John Roberts, William Cook, Cecil Harverson, John Roberts Junior,
Charles Dawson, Joseph Bennett, W M Green, H W Stevenson, and W J Peall.
These players all played Billiards in the latter
part of the 19th century and achieved many great milestones
including higher and higher breaks and championship wins. John Roberts cues are
usually made of Ebony for the butt, which is often quite thick, by modern
standards, with a badge that incorporates the crossed cues that were his
trademark. Burroughes and watts made these cues at the turn of the century I am
informed that prior to the deal with Burroughes John Roberts had this type of
cue made in his own factory and took examples over to India for sale. The John
Roberts Junior cue is a virtual replica of the John Roberts cue except that
after the word Roberts on the badge Junr appears.
The Cecil Harverson Cues are interesting and
also made by Burroughes and Watts, the badges of these cues vary from cue to
cue, depending on age. The earlier cues have a large butt with alternating
splices of Ebony and Rosewood with a splice reminiscent of a Burwat Champion.
The later cues look almost identical except the words Burroughes and Watts
London appear on the badge along with a representative of C Harverson's
signature, the earliest cues have the Burroughes and Watts stamp above the
badge. I personally fell that these cues were a forerunner to the Burwat
Champion, which first went into production around 1890.
An interesting group of cues that are still
available but sadly are becoming quite expensive are the Reece cues which often
commemorate his unfinished break 499,135 which was made in competition in 1907.
Largely employing the close cannon method of jamming the two object balls in
the jaws of a corner pocket and scoring cannon after cannon from the position.
This break was not officially recognised.
Reece went on to make other quite large breaks
even after the rules were changed to ban his favourite scoring method, these
lesser breaks were recorded on cues up until 1927. The cues that record the two
breaks on the badge both having been made in 1907 are the rarest and so the
most valuable of them all.
Due to the badge being placed right at the end
of the cue, these badges often become damaged so an intact cue and badge is
well worth acquiring. The Reece cue that I have has both breaks recorded in
1907 but has a crack in the badge, however I consider it to be one of the most
interesting and possibly valuable cues in my personal collection.
Other cues of the early 20th century
that are becoming hard to find include the Melbourne Inman cues made by
Peradon/Thurston, these cues are available in facsimile form which commemorates
Inmans break and has a shaft that is ash but usually looks reddish in
colour. The other Melbourne Inman cue that I have seen is a picture badge cue
that again resembles a Burwat Champion but with thinner Maple veneer. These
cues are seen in Maple and Ash and Machine spliced as well as Hand spliced
editions. The price of the picture badge cues increases depending on the
quality of the image on the badge, use often makes the badge fade dramatically
and therefore reduces the collectability of the cue accordingly.
Willie Smith cues are an interesting subject as
the cues and badges vary so much and are made by both Burroughes and Watts and
Peradon/Thurston Ltd. The Peradon/Thurston cues were made after 1940 I believe
and come in hand spliced or machine spliced versions. These badges commemorate
Willie Smiths largest breaks in competition. The hand-spliced version has
a tulip wood splice and very black Ebony in the butt, the machine spliced
versions are very attractive, having exactly the same badge but with a mahogany
splice instead of the tulip with a coloured veneer. The earlier cues made by
Burroughes are usually made with Indian Rosewood in the butts and are all
Hand-spliced the badge says The Willie Smith Champion Cue Burroughes and Watts
London. These cues are often, considered as good playing cues and one is still
used by Tony Knowles today, I believe?
The final Willie Smith Cue is a black butted,
Burroughes and Watts Cue that looks similar to a Ye Olde Ash Cue of the same
period. These cues are slightly more common than the Champion cues with the
Indian Rosewood butts so are considered by many to be worth slightly less as a
None of the Willie Smith cues could be
considered signature cues as they all have standard reproductions of his name
on them and not reproductions of his own signature, perhaps he considered this
Returning to the former subject of Reece cues, I
have a friend from Peterborough, who is looking for the earliest Reece cue? So
if you have one please let me know and I will put you in touch with him, the
reason that he seeks this particular cue is that it is like one that he took to
India many years ago to compete in the World Amateur Billiards Championships.
Good Luck with your quest Des.
I myself enjoy collecting all aspects of
Billiards and Snooker memorabilia including Books, Cues, Cigarette Cards and
other small items of interest. I am sorry to say that I cant fit a full
sized table in my home so at least for the time being, size is important.
Some people think that cues can be divided into
two categories, those they can play with and those they cant. I hope that
for those of you who are interested in old cues these pieces are of use and
that the information that I have included is of interest?
I remember visiting a local social club and
seeing a group of Pool players using a Burroughes and Watts "Eureka" cue as a
break cue, I offered to buy the cue but was told that they did not know who it
belonged to? I wonder if they are aware that some people would pay a tidy sum
for just such a cue?