Recollection Cues

Collectible Cues, Cases & Quality Players


George Balabushka, probably the most well-known name in the history of cue-making, built a limited number of cues for the best players in the world at the time.  Everybody who was anybody had to have one, but unless you were a friend or top player, they were hard to obtain.  Today, they're even harder to find.  And finding one in very good condition is rare.

The one thing that can make finding a rare cue like this even better, is finding one with outstanding provenance as to its history.  This one is accompanied by two key documents.  The first is a letter from the original owner describing his friendship with Balabushka, how he got the cue, when, etc.  The second document is a signed letter and description of the cue, signed by Pete Tascarella, authenticating it as a Balabushka in original condition.

Not only is this one in great condition for its age (nearly   ), it's also fairly rare.  Many of his sticks were made from Titleist house cues, which this one was.  But it has a unique butt sleeve made from plastic see-through rings with underlying foil, and black plastic rings.  It is also unusual in that the old, original Cortland wrap has two "inked rings intermixed with the green.  The combination of these two features makes this cue special.

It is in very good condition, especially for a cue of this vintage.  Most Balabushkas were bought to be played with and received lots of use, and most of them show it.  But this one has survived in great shape.  The butt is dead straight, one of the shafts is dead straight, and the second has just a slight wobble. The finish on the nose shows the aging you would expect, and the wrap is far better than most of those you see on cues of this age.

He dressed this cue up a little more by adding large mother of pearl dots in the base of each point.

The finish on the forearm is aged, but still intact with no major dings or dents.  The rings in the butt sleeve are still very smooth, something that's very unusual for old cues like this - they almost always moved with age.

It's always problematic with Balabushkas to be confident that what you have is the real thing.  There are a number of people who know what to look for and can authenticate an old cue as genuine, but the most widely known and most respected is Pete Tascarella, who is quite a cue maker himself.  Getting Pete to authenticate a Bushka in writing is the gold standard.  This cue comes with an authentication letter from Pete, as well as a detailed letter from the original owner.  This second letter adds interest and provenance to the stick, and the two together give confidence and value.

Both shafts are in good condition, and are about as straight as you ever find on a cue this old.  As you would expect, they both show some wear and age, but are actually very clean for their age.

Using an old Titleist house cue, he selected one with very pretty colored veneers - maple, brown, green and lavendar.  He made many of his early sticks using these old house cues as blanks.

The original old green Cortland linen wrap is in great shape, and with the addition of the inked rings, it is a very rare wrap.

The original old rubber bumper is not only still in place, it's in very good shape.  As with all of the old Bushkas I've seen, it's a reddish-brown color.  Based on the minimal wear of the shafts, and the great shape of this bumper, I believe this cue really didn't get a lot of play, and was certainly well cared for.

The plastic and foil butt sleeve is quite pretty, and in exceptional shape.  The rings are all still even, and the foil under the plastic looks like it was just put in yesterday.  And of course, it still has the original old Delrin butt cap.

It has a nice set of ebony joint protectors with it, but I'm fairly sure they are not original to the cue.  However, they are old, and they are nice, and someone took great pains to add veneers similar to the colors of the cue.

It has the classic stainless steel piloted joint typical of Balabushka cues.

The ferrules on the two shafts have ferrules which have aged differently, so it's likely that one ferrule was replaced at some time.

This is an outstanding example of George Balabushka's early work.  It is a unique stick with some unusual details, adding to its rarity and value.  And, it is in excellent condition with unusually strong provenance and authentication.  Here is a piece of billiard history.