Twenty Years Ago




I have recently purchased four quite interesting cues from a small business that was closing down. The little shop sold golfing equipment and snooker and pool cues and was located less than ten miles away from where I live. The gentleman who owned the shop has I believe decided to retire.

In the rack were several old, machine spliced cues:

  • A BCE, one piece Eddie Charlton cue, in Maple
  • A John Virgo two piece cue also by BCE in Ash
  • A Silvino Francisco Maple cue with a centre-joint, made by Britannia Billiard Cues
  • A Willie Thorne 147 Classic cue made by Peradon and Fletcher in Ash. Single-piece design

All of these cues are in mint condition, never having been out of the shop before; they are not collector’s items in the usual sense but at the same time, where would you get such cues that are in such condition today.

Each cue has a reproduction signature on the shaft and has some type of veneer on the front facing splice. I have bought them to preserve a sample of the era, just before the introduction of the so-called three-piece cue or three quarter butt jointed cue.

These cues are a kind of snapshot of the cues that were being made and sold about 1978 to 1984. This era had recently seen John Spencer and Cliff Thorburn win the World Snooker Championships each with a two-piece cue and Kirk Stevens make a 147 break in the Masters, also with a two-piece cue.

Adam cues had a range of high quality cues on the market that looked not unlike cheaper and less usable cues, these cues quickly gained a good reputation among snooker players and a true hand-spliced version soon appeared. 

Within a few years Jimmy White rose to prominence using a three quarter jointed cue, soon many manufacturers began to produce cues that resembled the one used by the “Whirlwind”, with low joints and hand-spliced butts.

Cues are still produced in centre-jointed versions and still have the great advantage of being easily portable and in some cases being quite inexpensive when compared with hand-spliced cues.

If you find a cue that you can play well with, its collectable value is largely irrelevant. Just ask Mr Spencer and Mr Thorburn for an informed opinion. Who knows there may be a future collector’s item lurking in a shop near you that might bear closer investigation?

Good hunting.

David Smith
Cues n Views