Most British Billiard Book collections stick to
English books, because apart from the odd Canadian, Indian, Australian and
American (Phelan's game of Billiards, for example) books. All others are about
the Carom or cannon game played on pocket-less tables.
number of people in the UK who collect overseas books can probably be counted
on the fingers of one hand. Although we may pretend that we can learn something
of practical value (how to make masses for more and better cannons), the main
reasons we collect are that A/. we have many of the English books B/. we are a
bit obsessive about billiards or C/. there are some interesting foreign books
There are plenty of opportunities out there to
collect none English produced books for us to make a worthwhile start at
building up an interesting collection.
According to Guy Huybrechts in his 2001 bibliography
of Billiards there are 104 English books, 95 French, 56 American, 38 German, 37
Dutch, 30 Belgian, 20 Spanish and 18 Italian, plus smaller numbers for
Portugal, Mexico, Japan, Sweden, Russia, Argentina and so on (these figures are
a little lower than in reality as they are based upon his own collection).
What is surprising about this list is that of the
131 books published between 1980 and 2000 only three relate to English
billiards. So a collector of Carom Billiards books has a greater number of
recent and in-print books to choose from.
you will probably appreciate you cannot readily get books on Carom from British
booksellers, but the Internet has opened up the possibility of buying such
books and made such an endeavour a great deal easier.
You can often pick up bargains on ebay, and a large range of books can be
viewed on Abe books and Addall, these are large web based second hand book
with English books, remember to shop around and not assume that just because a
book is offered for a certain price that it can not be obtained at a much more
reasonable or affordable price elsewhere.
European books tend to be slightly cheaper than
English books due to the rule of supply and demand and due to the fact that
there are very few collectors of this type of material around. Rare books
published in the USA tend to hold their value very well and sell for greatly
enhanced prices because there are a great many collectors of such books in the
The Billiard Encyclopaedia by Victor Stein and
huge lavishly illustrated book about the origins and history of billiards with
a large section on US Custom Cue makers, perhaps the most sumptuous book on any
sport produced, second hand copies cost about £100.
Books by Robert Byrne
The best is a modern sports classic "Mc Goorty" 1972 the autobiography of Danny
Mc Goorty" a three cushion billiards player from Chicago.
Plenty of drinking, gangsters and sex as well as
billiards stories told in Mc Goorty's cynical and colourful language, talk
about a miss spent youth.
Other books include; the wonderful world of pool and
billiards and great pool stories. Byrne is a great enthusiast and a fine writer
with a good sense of humour. Most of his books can be ordered from either Abe
Books or Amazon for about £5.
Le Billard by Vignaux
The standard older French book, perhaps equivalent to John Roberts Modern
Plenty of diagrams for cannon fanciers produced in huge numbers so should not
cost more than £50 at the time of writing.
Billard; das Buckder Spiel by Heinrich
author runs a billiard café in Vienna which has a billiards museum
attached, this 371 page book is rich in colour photos and diagrams.
Captain Mingaud's 1827 Le Noble jeu de billard
Copies of this work are owned by Andy Hunter and
Roger Lee, rare compared with the 1830 and 1836 English translation. Its value
is about £2,000 to £2,500, not bad for a book of trick shots.
Jack Ben Nathan has the only known copy of Traite
du jece de billard by monsieur B H 1825
While I have an 1828 book called Guide de l'amateur de billard which also
appears to be the only copy around. I also have a very scarce American book
called The Hosier Pocket Billiard Champion by E P Henning 1913. In which the
author recounts his unsavoury adventures as a Hustler and warns people not to
play for money.
Another novelty is Three Cushion Billiards by E Helm 1950 which is bound in
billiard table cloth.
Guy Huybrechts has a web site it contains lists of his books, cues and other
Wieter Haase is the author of Das Billiard; eine bibliographee, Kassel
University 2001. This book lists all Billiard books and journals in some
detail. A second edition is planned for 2006, a must for Billiard book
anyone has any Carom books to sell or would like a free valuation, please feel
free to contact me;
60 Church Road