Commemorative Cues

Players from older era’s 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 Inman’s 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 Smith’s 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 collectors item. 

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 reproduction frivolous?

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 can’t 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 can’t. 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?

David Smith

Record Break cue images
Picture Plate cue images

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