Collecting – Balls




We collectors are a weird breed you know, I have even gathered together a small collection of balls.

I have:

  • A set of Ivory Billiard balls
  • Two sets of Crystalate Billiard balls
  • A set of Super-Crystalate Billiard balls
  • A set of Bonzoline Snooker Plus balls, 24 in all including the orange and purple

These various sets of balls all play differently, the Ivories make a much sharper clicking sound when they collide and the Crystalate’s seem heavier in the way that they react to off centre striking.

The way that coloured dye remains on each ball varies too; the Ivory red ball only has colour on the ends, if you can visualise that it came from essentially a great tusk.

The colour of the orange and Purple balls from the snooker plus set are quite deep and vivid, whereas the Pink ball looks like the pink colour you often find in ice cream. The brown ball is the deep chocolate colour that you associate with pre television age sets of snooker balls.

I remember reading about a local club booking; I think Ray Reardon and Fred Davis to play an exhibition. During the afternoon, just prior to the evening’s entertainment the secretary of the host club decided to boil the balls to be used that evening in order to present them in pristine condition. Unfortunately they became misshapen and useless, much to his embarrassment.

I don’t know if this story is true, but I keep my balls away from extremes in temperature just in case.

I took along my snooker plus set to show Roger Lee at the world championship in 2001, he said that they must be worth a few quid, but declined to put a precise figure on them. My own opinion is that they are worth at least £300 as the whole set is present along with the box!

I remember reading that, John Spencer could screw the cue ball back massive distances with Crystalate balls and that when they were replaced with Super-Crystalate’s in the mid 1970’s, he struggled for form. If this is true, what an immense achievement to win the world snooker championship in 1977 with a new cue and his less favoured type of snooker ball in use.

I once heard another story, where two elderly gentlemen played a full frame of Snooker with an off centre weighted cue ball and did not realise. My current form on the table cries out for a similar excuse.

David Smith

© Copyright November 2001 David Smith