Themed Collecting – W J Peall




W J Peall was a Billiards player who played at the higher levels of the game from about 1885 until 1920 his chief scoring method was the so called spot stroke.

The spot stroke involved repeatedly potting the red ball from the spot on the table that we now know as the black ball’s spot in Snooker. Peall once made a break of 3,304 and made grreat use of the spot stroke, he must have potted the red somewhere near a thousand times in this break as he would have merely received three points for each pot as that was the value of the ball on.

I sometimes wonder what kind of Snooker player Peall would have been if either the game had taken his interest or, if he had been born twenty years later.

Peall was I believe a small man by today’s standards at least, he stood around five feet tall. 

I heard a story last year about someone paying a substantial amount of money for a cue that this person believed was used by W J Peall throughout his career, the cue had a picture of the great man on the badge and carried a facsimile of his signature. I can only imagine their disappointment on discovering that the cue was produced in quite large numbers and that Peall himself used a John Roberts cue.

I have seen three main types of Peall cues on my travels, the most common is the cue that I shall refer to as the W J Peall record cue. This cue has a screwed in plate with his name and a representation of his signature along with the total of the break previously mentioned. The next is the so-called Picture Plate Peall, this cue is often slimmer in the butt, and as you might imagine carries a picture of Peall and records his 3,304 break as well.

The rarest Peall cue is the cue that as well as recording his great break, it carries a representative of his signature along with the date that the break ws made. These cues are mainly made from Ash, whereas the others can come in Maple, Ash or even Pear wood.

I suspect that the later Peall cues were made for many years as they vary in design quite a lot, some are shortish and have large old fashioned butts while others conform to more standard designs and more resemble modern Snooker cues.

I myself have four Peall cues, a Maple and an Ash picture plate cue and a dated record cue and a standard Ash Peall record break cue, they are all different and an individual pleasure in their own right.

A friend of mine recently purchased a Pear wood shafted Peall cue, as he did not like it, he sold it for about the price of a good standard Peall cue. He later discovered that many people consider these particular cues to be quite a prize and are willing to pay quite a sum to own one. Some lessons are hard learnt but nevertheless we never forget them once learnt.

I once owned a Peall with Ashcroft stamped into the ebony of the butt, this cue was a standard Peall and the stamping was quite crude, so I passed it on to someone else. I often wonder whether a specialist Peall collector would have been keen to own this particular cue as something of a rarity?

I am happy with the Peall cues that I currently own but have heard that a machine-spliced version of the standard Peall cue exists but I have yet to see one? Some cues are mythical and do not necessarily exist but are presumed to by people who theorise based on what other cues were around at the time and conclude that a certain cue must have existed. 

One such cue in my mind is the W J Peall Champion cue, the rumour goes like this, John Roberts had a champion cue, so W J Peall must have had one too. The reason that I feel sure that this is merely a rumour is because Peall never won the world billiard championship and in my opinion, the only way that, at this time a company would create a “Champion Cue” was if their client won the championship.

I like to hear from people who have used the same cue for many years and have no desire to sell the cue, what a brilliant advertisement for the cue makers art if a player is still using the same cue after say half a century.

David Smith

W J Peall cue images
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