In its original form, billiards has a long and illustrious history that dates back to the 14th century. From dive bars to royal courts, it has captured the hearts of everybody. It is elegant and polished while being informal.
Both enthusiasts and decorators may appreciate the elegance of a table and cues, but even more so if they choose the perfect antique pool cues. They can enhance to the atmosphere of a space and tell a story when used as display pieces.
Whether it’s a vintage or a bespoke pool cue, the perfect addition to your collection can also be an investment in value that displays a narrative on your wall. We’ll look at the 10 most valuable antique pool cues in this guide, along with their identification and value.
Types of Pool Cues
The game being played will determine the type of cue that is being used.
Ash wood is used for English snooker and pool, and it can be identified by the grain running along its shaft.
The tip of a snooker cue will taper to a diameter of 9-10mm, whereas that of an English pool cue will taper to an 8-9mm diameter due to the much bigger size of a snooker ball than a pool ball.
The largest cue ball is an American cue, though, and the cue tip will taper to 13–14 mm. In order to give the ball more grip when struck and to make the surface of the ball rougher as the game is played, all three customarily have leather tips. The standard pool cue shaft used in America is constructed of maple and doesn’t have the same grain as a British cue.
Even though these are context cues, the simplest approach to determine a cue’s purpose is to look at the types of tips that each cue has. All of them have leather tips, but an end cap or ferrule will support them.
An American cue’s noticeable feature is its white plastic cap, which is meant to increase the cue’s shock-absorption and enable the best shot after a solid strike. In comparison, English ferrules will be made of metal in order to reinforce the cue: brass for pool and stainless steel for snooker.
While these are all common designs for competitive or recreational play, custom cues frequently feature exotic woods like rosewood, mahogany, or ebony. For the sake of differentiating one’s particular cue from the others, decorative enhancements may even be incorporated into the inlays. Models from a more recent era might be made of fiberglass, aluminum, or even titanium.
Prominent Manufacturers of Pool Cues
The following are some of the antique pool cues manufacturers’ names:
Martin’s cues were a favorite among west coast players up until about the 1980s after debuting in the Roaring Twenties.
Rambow produced pool cues in the early and middle decades of the 20th century, becoming known for his brass type joints and home-made machinery.
Szamboti produced renowned cues that were highly sought-after for their quality materials and craftsmanship from the 1950s until his death in the late 1980s.
Gutierrez, a well-known name in the industry known for his custom cue stick designs and opulent materials, has recently come under fire for allegedly participating in the illegal trade.
The cues made by New England cue stick manufacturer Paradise were especially well-liked by players on the east coast in the late 1950s.
Legendary cue stick maker George Balabushka founded a business bearing his name that started producing cue sticks in the middle of the 20th century and is still doing so now.
Hercek, a more modern manufacturer who took over Burton Spain’s cue stick company in the early 1990s right before Spains’ passing, is a luxury artisan.
After creating his own cues for roughly ten years, McDermott started his own cue stick production company in 1975. His contributions to the development of pool as a sport may even be more legendary than his status as a legendary cue stick manufacturer.
Black, who went so far as to garner numerous international honors for his cue stick creations in the 1990s, is still manufacturing renowned cue sticks today.
Gordon Hart, the creator of Viking Cue Mfg., Inc., started manufacturing two-piece pool cues in his billiard club the basement in Stoughton, Wisconsin, in the 1960s. To promote his cues, Mr. Hart traveled to various tournaments.
Top players started gravitating toward Viking cues right away. The cue shop was moved to its current location in Madison, Wisconsin, after Gordon sold his pool hall at the end of the 1960s. He initiated marketing strategies both at home and overseas, and he doubled his production capacity.
McDermott began his own cue stick production company in 1975 after almost ten years of making his own cues.
It’s possible to argue that his contributions to the growth of pool as a sport surpass even his renowned reputation as a maker of cue sticks.
Since each of these manufacturers has added their own history and design to their product lines, and since many of them feature their emblem on each model, it will be easy for you to recognize other products made by the same company after you acquire a sense of their distinctive characteristics.
Of course, not every cue will come from a well-known manufacturer; oftentimes, masters of their craft and craftspeople stand apart from labels. The International Cuemakers Hall of Fame has all the information you need to become familiar with specific manufacturers.
These pool cues are the best of the best, and if you find one with the maker’s mark, you can consider it to be an investment-grade pool cue.
How to Find Value of Antique Pool Cues?
Your pool cue or a purchase you make in a store may be valuable now or in the future depending on various of factors. These include the cue’s condition, quality of material, and age etc.
The boom years of professional billiards, the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s, are when many of the most highly prized artifacts will be found. Due to the impact of Hollywood films like Paul Newman’s The Hustler and the expansion of pool as a spectator sport, these were the times when pool experienced a real boom in popularity.
A cue that has been used by a well-known player, in particular, will quickly increase in value after being acquired.
Although an antique cue’s quality may be reduced overall, restoration services that increase value should be avoided. An original, in whatever condition you may find it, is preferable to a restored gloss for a collector because any sign of restoration will suggest an alteration to the original piece design or manufacturing.
As was already mentioned, a model’s uniqueness may raise its value. A custom pool cue made to order from a reputable manufacturer may turn out to be of investment-quality.
An eye for design may take a backseat to understanding who built it, how many of the model were made, their quality, and their history because these designs might be modern or classic, opulent or understated. Although turquoise inlays could be considered garish by one collector, it might have been ordered from a top-notch craftsman, and one’s own personal preferences can give the misleading impression about its value.
10 Most Valuable Antique Pool Cues
Here is the list of most valuable antique pool cues:
1. Balabushka Cues SLE2 B sold for $1399.00
2. Vintage Custom Balabushka, Coster, Richard Black Rare Pool Cue
3. Rare Vintage Herman Rambow Pool Cue Stick
4. Pool Cue Given to Mickey Mantle by Willie Mosconi, Made by Frank Paradise
5. EXTREMELY RARE TAD CUE FROM 1960’S
6. Vintage Viking USA Pool Cue sold for $100.00
7. Cabochon Sapphire and Wood Pool Cue sold for $14,950
8. Intimidator Masterpiece Cue sold for $150,000
9. A Vintage Viscotti Pool Cue Stick with two tips sold for $175
10. MEUCCI Billiards/Pool Cue Stick w/ Soft Case sold for $510.00
11. Huebler Sneaky Pete Hustler Pool Cue sold for $575.00
How do I identify Pool Cues?
There are numerous companies who make pool cues, and each has an own standpoint on the style, innovation, and characteristics of its goods.
Knowing which brand manufactured your pool cue can help in better decision-making over how to update your parts, the suitability of bespoke components, and where to obtain replacements or warranty benefits.
A cue stick might turn up at an antique auction, but it’s more likely that a buyer will need to search online auction sites like eBay or cue enthusiast groups in their area. There are a few characteristics to look for in these distinctive cues that people may want to add to their collections.
There are several ways to Identify Pool Cues:
Analyze the Pool Cue’s Back
The manufacturer’s stamps, markings, or logo are typically visible at the pool cue’s back.
Usually, the signature characteristics that they add to your cue can be used to identify the individuals who created it. This is particularly true for major brands that use their trademarks on products.
Manufacturers of Individual or solo cue, however, rarely affix signatures or brands to their products. The same holds true with personalized pool cues. It can be more challenging to locate the manufacturer of your cue if they were a sole owner.
Examine a two-piece pool cue’s joint
If you haven’t upgraded the joint and your pool cue still has the original pieces, it’s likely that the parts were all built to complement the unique qualities of your cue.
Through markings engraved or printed in various components, such as the joint, your pool cue may give away the identity of the creator.
Look for any signatures or logos that will help you recognize the restaurant’s brand. Remove it from the shaft and look inside for any clues.
Consider your joint’s design as well. Antique, first-generation cues had bigger, wider joints, but contemporary joints have slimmer shapes.
Examine the inlays and artwork
Brands frequently adopt that distinctive appearance to make their cues appear and feel like their own. Usually, designs would convey the manufacturer’s branding.
In order to identify the creator of your cue, search for cues with comparable designs. You will undoubtedly find similarities. You can delve a little further and learn what materials were employed to create the inlays and artwork.
The manufacturers who specialize in this type of design with those specific materials may be found once you’ve figured this out, which will help you weed out the brands that don’t match the criteria.
Identification of a Brand
Pool cues already have a recognizable style and set of features thanks to major manufacturers like Mcdermott, Brunswick, and others that have become well-known in the market. Thus, knowing what these brands are renowned for will help you assess whether your cue belongs to them or not.
Consider the cue’s quality
Always look for workmanship and quality in your cues, whether they are new or vintage. A cue will become more valuable and appealing the higher its quality. Any kind of modification, resurfacing, or restoration will dramatically lower a cue stick’s value.
Originality is the primary concern of every collector; changing the tip could decrease the stick’s value. A trustworthy appraiser should always be consulted before making any changes, including fixes, to a rare cue stick.
First Edition Maker’s Signs
Any first for a maker is significant, not only their first cue. For instance, the first of those designs will be more valuable than the ones that come after if they suddenly start producing carved or inlaid cues.
Similar to the fervor surrounding first edition books, cues and cue designs that are produced in limited quantities are highly sought after by collectors.
The biggest indicator that an ancient pool cue is an antique is a mark that says it was the maker’s first production run.
Check the woodworking shop where you take the pool cue
You can find out what kind of wood was used as the cue’s basic material by visiting woodworking shops. And frequently, brands use the same material for all of their collections, with the exception of those that are part of certain series.
You may reduce your choices and create a list of brands that utilize that specific wood for their cues by getting a deeper understanding of the wood used to construct your cue. After that, you can use the process of exclusion to focus your search.
Where to buy these Antique Pool Cue Online?
Searching online is your best option if you need to find one immediately. Consider the following sites:
e-Bay – The Antique Pool cue of your dreams can be easily found on eBay, one of the greatest sites to find beautiful Antique collectibles. It’s also ideal if you’re considering selling because they provide a very user-friendly e-commerce feature and can reach a sizable global audience.
Etsy – Since people frequently discover these different Vintage Pool cue items in their grandparents’ homes across the nation, internet marketplaces like Etsy are among the greatest places to find a ton of these pieces on sale.
Other Auction Sites – Anywhere in the world, there are auction houses, and each one is unique in terms of the type of goods it specialized in, the price range, the types of people it serves, and the way it does business. Liveactioneers and other auction sites where you can find your vintage items.
Frequently Asked Questions
What adds value to a pool cue?
The inlays on the forearm and butt of the shafts will be more elaborate the more expensive the cue is. The low deflection shaft issue is a further consideration. Professionals and novices agree that low deflection shafts are better to use, hence the majority of expensive pool cues will have them.
What identifies a Huebler pool cue?
Typically, Huebler cues have markings on the butt cap. The shaft of the joint screw has a nylon inlay that makes it simple to identify the signals that are not indicated.
Are there serial numbers on pool cues?
A string of alphanumeric characters known as the serial number are often carved or written beneath a cue’s finish. The serial number is typically located on the pin of the cue butt on Predator cues. The serial number is located on the butt cap of a P3 cue.
Due to its long history and potential value as an investment or work of art, pool cues may be both economically and emotionally rewarding. If you’re just getting started in the world of research and gathering, the factors outlined above should help you become a more knowledgeable consumer.
Just as throughout its lengthy history, billiards should be respected for the ingenuity and excellence it brings to the world. A stylish and appealing selection of cues will make your own game room stand out from the competitors and they also offer a great return on your investment.
We hope that explaining about antique pool cues in detail serves its intended purpose.