ABOUT ME AND THIS SITE
Welcome to my website. First, a little about me so that you know who I am. Not to brag, but just so you'll know that when I say a cue "hits good", I want you to know I have some idea what I'm talking about.
I've been a pool player for six full decades now. I like all the games, and have played and gambled on everything from snooker to three-cushion, but in recent years play more one-pocket and bar box pool than anything else. I lived in Buenos Aires for a short time, and was fortunate to be able to play three-cushion with some of the world's best players. I've played in tournaments all over the country, and still play competitively. In 1970, I took 2nd in the National Collegiate Championships held in Lawrence, Kansas in straight pool. My high run was 85. In the late '60s, I was at the old Johnson City tournaments in Illinois, and was able to soak up the old-time atmosphere of pool at its best, watching Luther Lassiter, Irving Crane, Cowboy Jimmy Moore, Hubert Cokes, Weenie Beenie, Ronnie Allen, Minnesota Fats and many other legendary players. So, I may not be a world champion, but I can play a little, and I know when a cue feels good in my hands.
As I became more interested in cues and cue collecting, I became active in a number of related organizations. For a number of years I served as a business consultant to the American Cuemakers Association, and am still an Associate Member. For the past 12 years have been a voting member of the ACA Cuemakers Hall of Fame selection committee, helping to select new additions to the Cuemakers Hall of Fame. I was on the Board of the American Academy of Cue Art for six years. I now serve as the Executive Vice President of the International Cue Collector Show. This is the premier cue event for high end collectors, and is held in a different locations every other year or so. It attracts the top collectors, casemakers and cuemakers from around the world.
I am proud to represent a small number of top cuemakers. I'm especially proud to represent several makers who only have one or two dealers. I pride myself in selling only cues that play well, first, and look good, second.
I take a lot of pride in having the only website on the internet (that I know of) that owns almost every cue it sells. I don't generally do consignments, so when you see a cue on my site you can be assured of its quality and condition - I wouldn't have sunk my own money in it if I didn't think it was a great cue. Except in a few rare cases, I'm not selling consignments and adding 15 or 20% on top of the real price, just to make money. Every cue I buy I select as if I were buying it for myself.
I have the largest inventory of custom made cases for sale by various cuemakers in the world. I am a dealer for a number of the very best casemakers. I believe in cases that are beautiful, but functional, at a reasonable price. Roger Assunco, from Indonesia, is making some of the best today - the Volturis. These have increased in quality by leaps and bounds in recent years, and they turn out quality cases with excellent carving and designs, especially for the price. Good cases are scarce. Ron Thomas and Jim Murnak have (for the most part) retired, GTF cases are no longer being made, and Joe Whitten has a long wait-list. Good custom cases are not easy to find these days.
In 2013 I retired from my fulltime career in association management and moved my home and business to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I still play almost every day and still compete in league play and tournaments. I begin most days checking the emails to Recollection Cues, so when interested in purchasing a special cue or case that can become one of your most prized possessions, drop me an email.
SPECIAL COMMISSIONED CUES
Several years ago I collaborated with cuemaker Andy Gilbert, and Bob Hergert, the master scrimshander, and commissioned a very special "theme" cue based on the story of The Lord of the Rings, which I was able to introduce at the ICCS in Santa Fe in 2009. I was pleased that it came out to be everything I hoped it could be. It recently gained international attention, being featured in an article in the March, 2010 issue of Pool & Billiard Magazine.
I also collaborated with Pete Tonkin on a very special cue that is now pictured on the site (but not for sale), one I call "The Mountain Cue." It follows a native American theme, using the symbol for mountains as the centerpiece of the handle. Pete estimated it has about 740 separate inlays! In addition to the "Mountain" motif, it uses a traditional "Frog Foot" design and a "Fishback" symbol to decorate the grip wood, with tons of ivory, silver veneers, and blue lapis and coral to add a blue and red color theme. You can find this cue on the website.
One thing you will notice about many of my cues is that they're built by cuemakers who began their association with pool as a player, and later became cue makers. I think this is very important because only someone who plays can distinguish between a good hit and a mediocre or poor hit, and therefore, only decent pool players can make consistently good hitting cues. Being a player myself, I know that there are cue makers who do excellent artistic and creative work with great craftmanship, only to produce a beautiful cue that hits poorly. I particularly like cuemakers whose cues consistently hit well, not just some of them. If I don't like the hit, I have no interest in the cue regardless of its beauty or price.
I often hear comments about the values of cues. I believe they are an excellent investment. I know they have been for me. Buying a good cue is like investing in the stock market, but with less risk involved. Smart stock investors buy "value" stocks. Smart cue collectors should do the same. In cues, value generally means a good combination of price and who made the cue. You get what you pay for. With only very rare exceptions, don't expect a cue that you purchased for a couple of hundred dollars to go up in price. If you buy a cue from one of the production line companies, you'll take a hit in depreciation before you walk out the door. If you buy a custom, one of a kind cue from a top-name cuemaker, you may be able to play with it for many years and still sell it for a large profit later. My Gus Szamboti cue has gone up more than 1500% in value since I first purchased it. I have many others that have doubled or tripled in value.
There are several cue makers today who are making cues that I believe offer excellent values. Sometimes you can get in early and buy a cue or two from a cue maker who is going to build a big reputation. (Although I tend to stay away from cuemakers until they've been at for five years or so - I don't want to be a part of their learning curve.) I love Josswest cues, but it's too late to find many bargains on them today. Ginacues are some of the most beautiful made, but Ernie Gutierrez is no longer taking orders, and the pre-owned ones that are still in "new" condition command a price significantly higher than his original retail price, especially those made with ivory. The prices on his cues have jumped astronomically in the last couple of years. Bob Owen of Kansas is making terrific cues these days, and I think they are underpriced. He is doing extremely good work and I think they will be sought after for many years. Doug Beasley of South Carolina is quietly making great cues, and they will grow in notoriety.
On the other hand, cues don't have to represent a huge investment. Josh Treadway of Missouri, Chris Nitti in Florida, and Mike Durbin of Illinois make great player-level cues, sometimes for as little as seven to nine hundred dollars. You'll have to wait a year or so (unless you find one on my site!), but when you get one, you'll have a good playing cue as well as a good investment. Dave Kikel of Colorado was one of the best cuemakers around for many years, and consistently underrated, but he made cues that were near perfect in every way, and play a ton. You can still occasionally find his cues on my site, but they're hard to find and generally sell quickly.
The point is, there's a good choice for anyone serious about playing pool. A good cue costs less than a good set of golf clubs, and I challenge any golfer to come close to using his clubs a fraction of the hours that I've used my playing cues!
However, if you're looking at cues as an investment, be cautious of getting caught up in the frenzy over whomever is the latest "fad" cuemaker. There are a number of cuemakers who make good cues, not great cues, but because of a false demand created by cue buyer hysteria, their prices have been artificially driven up beyond any reasonable logic. Leave those to the buyers who have money to throw away on bragging rights.
Having said all this, I have to add that to really enjoy cues, you have to just enjoy them for their sheer beauty and form. Always, always, buy what you like.
The craftsmanship and design work being accomplished today by the top ten or fifteen American cue makers is truly something to behold. Moreover, cue making is one of the few art forms that effectively combines art and function. My fanciest and most expensive cues are also great playing cues, so there's no reason a collector/player can't have the best of both worlds... a beautiful cue that hits a ton.
My final word is this: no matter whether you collect cues, cars, or coins, always buy what you like and buy the best you can afford. In fact, pay more than you can afford... you'll be happy you did later. Something that was cheap to start with will never grow in value the way something nice will. Buy from a recognized "name" maker, buy the highest quality you can, and in the best condition you can find. I know there are always exceptions, but when collecting, buying the best you can always pays off down the road. And if you like it, you'll always be satisfied with your investment, whether it "pays off" or not.