There are so many Variants of the Joe Davis cue
that I could create a whole web site about them. Having said that I will
try to give you a flavour of what to look out for.
Joe was such an entrepreneur that he never
ceased to take every opportunity to promote the game of Snooker and of course
himself. Both E J Riley and Peradon Limited produced cues that bore his
name. The Riley cues always had a tombstone or bell shaped badge, either cream
in colour or on occasion, black. The Peradon versions always had a
It was customary for a player to have a
"Champion Cue" carrying his name made once he had won the world Billiards
championship in the late 19th and early 20th century and
after about 1940 the same tradition was applied to the world Snooker
championships. These cues are known as "Champion Cues". Other cues
were made to commemorate high breaks and world record breaks, sometimes these
cues were made to commemorate the highest break of a particular player even if
they were not the current world record.
Joe Davis made a high break at Billiards of
2.501 in 1927, so naturally all cues that bear this mark were made after this
date. Incidentally Joe Davis made a Snooker break of 100 in the
championship of 1928, the two breaks often appear together on some cues.
Joe also recorded record Snooker breaks right up
to 1955 when he made a 147, this break was not in the world championship as he
had retired from competing in the event after 20 tears of domination. His
breaks and dates that they were made are as follows;
Incidentally, the first ever total clearance was
achieved by Sidney Smith in the year 1936, his break was 133 and appears in the
badge of the Gold Cup Snooker cue that also bears his name.
As you can no doubt imagine the early days of
Snooker coincided with the demise of Billiards as a major box office commodity.
This meant that making the most of any Snooker related publicity was a
must. Prolific break builders like Joe Davis, Horace Lindrum and Sidney
Smith would make the papers if they could make a record break, particularly if
they made it in the world championships.
It is a little known fact, today that from 1936
until 1947, Snookers high break record was held by Horace Lindrum with a
total clearance of 141. From what I have gathered Horace would have held
other high break records if he had been familiar with how to register his
achievements, at any rate his 141 still stood for many years until Walter
Donaldson made a 142 in 1946 to eclipse it by a solitary point.
Returning to Joe Davis for a while, the cues
that bear his name often appear in ash, maple and hornbeam for the shafts with
an ebony butt of either machine or hand spliced configuration, with either a
maple or birds eye maple facing splice.
Exceptions to this design include the 500 and
600 century break cues and the pre 100 Snooker break cues which either had a
facing splice with ebony with maple lines or were simply, black butted
I myself have a Joe Davis special Snooker cue
from 1946 which is signed on the shaft by both Joe and Fred Davis, their
signature is dated too, this cue is machine-spliced and yet, I would think that
it is worth quite a sum of money.
Some people think that the Joe Davis cues that
bear additional round badges are cues made by other manufacturers, such as
Hixon, Raper or Alec Watson. The truth is that these cues were all made by
Peradon Limited on behalf of these other companies and then sold through their
own individual outlets. From my point of view they are worth about the same as
the standard cues.
Some of the Riley versions are very pleasing
indeed and often make excellent cues to use, they usually fetch a higher price
than the Peradon version, this is, I believe, because people think that they
were made in fewer numbers. I tend to doubt this, I favour the theory that
states that as more of them were playable for Snooker they were more likely to
have been used and abused by their owners over the years. Only time and
research will reveal the true answer.
Many collectors start out by collecting Joe
Davis cues on their own. I myself prefer to try to put together cues that
commemorate the achievements of all the great players of the late
19th and early 20th centuries. Which ever you
prefer, I feel sure that there is plenty of opportunity left to gather
substantial collections in either field of interest.