Recollection Cues

Collectible Cues, Cases & Quality Players


Here is another rare cue from the shop of the legend, Gus Szamboti.  His cues are considered among the finest ever made, and since he only made a limited number, they have continued to grow in value since his passing.  This one is unique in several ways, including the fact that it has a rosewood butt sleeve and points, and has an original honey colored leather wrap.  Gus made very few rosewood cues, and perhaps even fewer with leather wraps, especially like the one on this stick.  Barry Szamboti said it was the only wrap of that kind ever used by Gus.

The leather wrap is tooled pigskin.  This rarity, combined with the rosewood, gave it sufficient distinction back in 1994 to be pictured in the Billiard Encyclopedia, 1st Edition, on page 338, as a prime example of a Gus Szamboti cue.

The history of its ownership is also interesting.  I have great provenance from several past owners by way of their old correspondence concerning the cue.  It was originally owned by Harley Bryan, an old-time player of some reputation who travelled for some time with Buddy Hall.  The last owner believes this cue was at Johnson City in its glory days, so it could probably tell some great stories if it could speak.

In any event,  Greg Nelson of Jacksonville, Florida, purchased the cue from Harley (date unknown), and he sent it to Barry Szamboti to have refinished, and to have a third shaft made.  Barry confirmed it was one of his father's more unusual cues (noted in the letter I have from Greg).

Greg Nelson then sold the cue to Gred Miele, who was a school teacher in Jacksonville, and he kept the cue until January of 1996, when he sold it to Mark Griffin, now owner of Griff's in Las Vegas.  It became his wife's regular playing cue.  Mark later sent it to Proficient Billiards in October of 2019, for another refinishing, with precise instructions to leave the original pigskin wrap alone. 

I  just recently acquired the stick and sent it to Pete Tascarella for additional authentication.  I have the letter from Pete verifying its authenticity, as well as some of the additional provenance noted above.

Not only does the rosewood greatly increase the value of this stick, it adds tremendously to the appearance.  And, it is very pretty rosewood, showing nice bright color and grain.  Gus made a wise choice.

The wrap on this cue, in my opinion, could be greatly enhanced with a good cleaning with a quality leather product.  If I were going to keep it for myself, I would do so.  However, I'll leave it to the next owner to make that decision.

As you would expect in a Gus cue, the points are virtually flawless.  They're sharp and even, and the veneer work is precise ... and pretty.  The colors go black/orange/brown/natural maple.

The last owner of this cue insisted I play with it for a few minutes before taking it.  He said I would be impressed with how well it played, and he was right.  I had a hard time putting it down.  If my own Szamboti hadn't been made especially for me by Gus, I would sell it and keep this one.

The bumper looks to be original, and although it is weathered and worn, is still doing its job.

The classic Szamboti stainless steel joint and rings, all still in excellent condition.

Another special thing about this cue is that it has three original shafts.  They are all reasonably straight, especially for a cue of this vintage, and all have ivory ferrules.   They are all slightly different lengths:  28-1/2", 29", and 29-1/2".   They all weigh 4.0-4.1 ounces, and shaft diameters are 12.8mm, 12.9mm, and 12.5mm.  Total weight of the cue is 19.3-19.4 oz., depending on the shaft used.

The butt is perfectly straight.

In summary, here is a chance to become the proud owner of a rare vintage cue by probably the most famous of all cuemakers.  And, one with excellent provenance (and pictured in the Billiard Encyclopedia) and an interesting history as well as being pretty and a great player.  Every cue collection needs to have an original Gus as an anchor, and here is an opportunity to buy one.