Collect or Tinker




I recently received an e-mail from a visitor to the site asking what should he collect and where should he start.

As I have previously stated, “I am not compiling this site to make money but rather to share the hobby of collecting billiards and snooker memorabilia with a wider audience”.

I have created a link to Craftsman cues and another local company Classic cues which, I hope will increase their business and my contacts in the future.

I have a page where our readers can sell their items, if they wish and in fact I am attempting to sell some items for my friends and indeed have done so already.

One of my greatest pleasures in selling anything is not making a profit but matching the item to the right person.

I remember being approached by someone that I did not know at the time and this person asked me to get hold of an old maple cue for him so that he could improve his game and hopefully enter the local Pool tournament. I managed to get a hold of an old Askrod Harlequin cue, hand spliced, With a lovely old maple shaft. 

My friend paid me what the cue had cost and went on to win the tournament a few weeks later, much to my delight.

I also managed to get hold of a second hand Glover cue, this cue was jointed just above the splices. I sold the cue to a friend of mine who used to make regular forty breaks with his old cue. I was delighted again less than a month later to see him knock in a good 57 break.

My other reason for selling a cue is that I have often come across cues like ones that I already own but in better condition. Should this arise, I put the cue that I wish to replace on the market. That is not to say that for a player or for someone, who wishes to start a collection, these cues are often good for either possible purchaser.

Some cues are in themselves excellent for playing the game but their badge may be a little faded, to a player who can use these cues; this is of little or no consequence. Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry both had their cues seriously modified. A serious cue collector would try to keep the cue as pristine as when they bought it. If a player feels that they can make lots of money, with a three-quarter jointed cue. I would recommend that they buy a new one, rather than destroy an old one but the cue is theirs and so is the choice.

Tinkering with cues yourself, is not in my opinion a good idea as it often results in the cue becoming unplayable. I have heard many stories of people extending cues or shortening them, adding new joints and increasing the weight. I feel that it is better if your finances will allow, to trade in the old cue as it is for a new cue, rather than render it useless with tinkering. 

Some people manage to get hold of old cues for just a few pounds or even in some cases a pint of beer, if on these occasions the new owner wishes to take his tools to the cue, I suppose there is little to discourage him. However please think about the many years that this cue has remained undamaged and ask yourself, whether keeping the cue in as near original condition is better for future generations to enjoy it rather than turning it into a useless pile of sawdust.

Repairing an old cue and restoring it to nearly its former condition is a skilled job, I recently spoke to Tony Ions from Newcastle who spoke of how a customer brought him a Burwat Champion cue in two carrier bags having accidentally driven over it in his van. Tony spent two full days virtually non-stop putting the butt together again, fortunately there was little wrong with the actual shaft. When the job was finished, you could apparently see your face in the butt and distinguishing the damage was virtually impossible.

The level of craftsmanship required to accomplish the above is I feel quite rare, so I’m keeping my tools well away from any of my cues for the next hundred years or so.

Returning to the question of what to collect, my advice is collect what you like and of course what you can afford. Shop around if you can, but if you see something that you like, get stuck in. Over the years I started with the hope of getting a cue that represented every manufacturer that had existed, after a while I discovered that I preferred to collect cues that commemorated past players and their achievements. I am now considering returning to collecting cues by specific manufacturers such as Riley or Cannon.

I enjoy my collecting for the most part but have learned some lessons along the way.

I hope that you continue to enjoy your collecting and remember, if you want any help or information myself and the team are only an e-mail away.

David Smith