Why Do People Collect Pool Cues?
There are collectors of many things – sports memorabilia, trading cards, vintage vinyl records, old toys – the list goes on forever. Fortunately for pool lovers, pool cues can also be collectibles. The wonderful thing about most collectibles is that what makes it a collectible usually isn’t the item itself, but what it means to the collector.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what makes pool cues valuable, vintage pool cues and share some of the most sought after collectible pool cue brands we know of.
Why are Pool Cues Collectible?
Pool cues are collectible because they are just like any other form of hand-made art. They can be incredibly unique and feature rare types of wood and stone inlays.
Billiards has a lot of history behind it, and there are lots of pool cues that have cool stories behind them. Lots of billiards fanatics love owning these pieces of history.
There are cue collectors of all types – some who like playing with their cues, and some who just enjoy having them to look at. While beautiful, old pool cues can still be incredibly functional.
What Makes a Pool Cue Valuable?
There are a variety of factors that come into play when determining pool cue value, but 4 of the main ones are wood quality, the cuemaker’s skill and reputation, condition and cue rarity.
1. Wood quality
Pool cues built with high quality woods will likely hold their value for a long time, assuming the cue is taken care of. Most cues are built out of hard rock maple and many high end, hand- made cues feature other high quality exotic hardwoods such as snakewood, olivewood, ebony or brazilian walnut. These exotic woods are more commonly featured as inlays within the cue.
When it comes to collectible pool cues, exotic woods are becoming more and more common. If you come across older pool cues with inlays, chances are those editions are much more limited than you might think.
2. Cuemaker reputation
Creating pool cues from scratch is an art, and for those who do it well, it can become a lucrative business. Over the years, there have been several high end cue makers who have built quite the name for themselves.
If you know of pool cue builders who do custom work and started 20 or 30 years ago (or more), chances are they have created some cues that collectors are sure to love.
Here is a list of some popular cue makers with collectible cues available on the market:
- Bob Runde
- Chuck Starkey
- Ernie Gutierrez (Ginacue)
- Dale Perry
- Chris Nitti
- Larry Vigus
- Paul Mottey
- Tim Scruggs
- Scott Gracio
While all of these custom cue builders create amazing pieces, each one will have their own preferences when it comes to cue making. The trick is to match up what you value as a player, to what the builder values.
A pool cue kept in immaculate condition is always going to maintain value better than a cue that has degraded or been damaged over time.
If you’re looking for collectible pool cues to acquire, do your best to make sure that the cue hasn’t been professionally refinished, as that means the cue has been altered and is not in its original form.
Original pool cues are always more sought after than cues that have been restored.
4. How rare is the cue?
Pool cue rarity is one of the most important factors that can determine how valuable a collectible pool cue is.
Vintage pool cues are pretty common, but ones that are in amazing shape are not. Another indication of rarity is just how many pool cues were made by highly respected pool cue builders.
How to Determine Pool Cue Values
Nowadays, old pool cues that are still in great shape are worth more to some people than others. The truth is, there is no strict guide that tells us exactly how valuable a collectible pool cue is.
A pool cue is worth what someone will pay to own it. Sometimes, that’s less than it originally sold for, and sometimes, it’s a lot more than what the original retail price was. It really depends on what the cue means to the buyer.
One thing we can keep track of that will help give us a decent idea of a pool cue’s value is recently sold cues. Cue buyers can track recently sold listings on eBay of their favorite vintage cues. They can also keep track of classified section activity on billiards forums such as azbilliards.com.
The world of rare and collectible pool cues is a fascinating one. Finding pool cues made by respected cue builders is always a thrill – a thrill that’s even more exciting if you get to play pool with these cues.
To learn more about how custom cues are built and the people behind them, do some searching online for some of the brands mentioned above.
While vintage pool cues can get very expensive, there are also many beautiful hand-made cues that will likely fall within your preferred price range. There are so many different styles of cues that have been made over the last 50+ years, so there is likely to be a great collectible cue out there that’s perfect for you!