View Full Version : Burton Spain Cue question & eyeglass question

04-14-2002, 11:19 AM
I have a cue stick made by Burton Spain. It was either made in Chicago or a close subburb. I had it made sometime between 1970 and 1980. I am unable to find him in the Chciago phone book. Does anyone know if the cue is worth anything? I would guess that I paid about $500 when I had it made. I could easily be off by about $100 or more.
I played pool and some 3 cushion billards in high school from about 1965 to 1970. Then sometime in the 70s I tried playing again & had the stick made. Back then I was told he was the best cue maker around. I probably played about 50 times. That place, The Illinois Billards Congress ( or something like that) was owned by Jim Parker. It was near 71st & Western Ave. It is also gone and there is no listing in the Chicago phone book. I couldn't believe how much worse I played then when I was in high school. And I quit playing again. I saw a womens match on ESPN in which the black spider ??? (nickname ?) totally dominated another lady in the championship match. I don't think the other lady even made 1 ball. I haven't seen any matches listed on ESPN and it's been about a month. I guess there just isn't much interest in pool.
That match sort of got me curious about pool again. I'm 50. In high school I had excellent eyesight. That was maybe my stongest point. I was never really any good. But I could play with almost all the others at the local restaurant/pool hall connected to the bowling alley. It had 4 old pocket tables and 1 billiard table. About 2 years ago I bought my first pair of eyeglasses. It has progressive lenses. A triple perscription for seeing far, then one for about arms length distance, and one for reading. I was wondering if I would be able to see well enough with these to try playing pool again. Does anyone know about how much it costs nowadays in Chicago. I don't know of any pool halls within a half hours ride of my house near White Sox park. I probably won't start again. I'm not interested in playing in taverns or bars on small tables. I use to play on 9' tables. Thanks for any info or suggestions.
Eddie Gorniak Jr. in Chicago

Chris Cass
04-14-2002, 12:29 PM
Hi Eddie G.,
I've shot at Jim Parkers place also long ago. It was at 2435 W. 71st. ave. It was called the Illinois Billiard Club. I remember how Jim made me break with a piece of cloth under the cb. He had an interesting concept with paying on the honor system and had a key to get in after hrs. for members.

Oh well, that Burton Spain is probably worth some good money. He did make one of the best cues around back then. So did Rambo(sp?) back then. Now day's cues are much more advanced in technology but I still like hand made points and consider no points a sissy cue.LOL

Try this web site for places in your area or close. I would go to Chris's Billiards if I were you. Theirs also Maries Golden cue but what ever is you think is closer and cheaper. http://www.canadianbilliards.com/cbm/places/us/Chicago.html

If your interested in selling your cue then I suggest you contact a friend of mine, Brad Simpson. He writes the Blue Book of Cues. He's a good guy and give you a very reasonable offer. He's respectful when it comes to cues. Unlike the likes of John Wright, who would suck the blood out of you. LOL Unfortunatly, I only have Brad's home number but I know he has a web site.

The Black Widow is Jeanette Lee. She is a hottie, and don't have to give anyone a shot. Good luck in finding a place to shoot. Did you ever think of Laser surgery for the eye's? You might think of doing it and throw away the glasses.

Best Regards,

04-14-2002, 01:39 PM
Your cue is valuable and do not sell to a dealer. They know who they are going to sell it to before they even buy it and will screw you given a chance. Ebay is not a bad place to sell. You can set your own price and see what happens. I know collectors that search ebay and are willing to pay top dollar if it is something they want. You will get plenty of emails from interested parties. If you don't need the money and want to sell, give yourself a chance to get the right price.

04-14-2002, 02:45 PM
you can't find him because he's passed away.

04-17-2002, 02:42 PM
Jim Parker's room is now in Downers Grove, Eddie. As for Burton Spain, he's a pretty good example of what I call "Jim Croce Syndrome": greatness magnified by death. Burton was a wonderful guy, and cut his cue-making teeth by furnishing blanks for all the greats of his era, including Szamboti and Balabushka. I would typify his own cues as very good but not great; he was definitely partial to synthetic joints, particularly one he called "Delrin." No question your cue is worth considerably more than you paid, and yes, Brad Simpson would be a good objective choice to consult IMO. Good luck. GF

04-18-2002, 06:28 AM
Thanks for the help & info everyone. I'm waiting to receive Brad Simpson's book on cues. I found out Joel Hercek bought out Burton Spains business about 10 years ago. He looked up my purchase. I bought a model #10 with some sort of diamond inlays for $222 total. I can't really remember what the inlays were. My stick has 4 pointed markings on it. And there are 5 different colors in each one. I think that was the diamond inlays mentioned in Burt's notes. And he put my name on the stick also. It isn't signed by him. I ordered it in April of 81 and it was finished on 7-1-81.
It looks a little like the one at <a target="_blank" href=http://www.cuecollector.com/cuemakers/spain.htm.>http://www.cuecollector.com/cuemakers/spain.htm.</a>
The points on that one look like they have 3 colors. I think he suggested using 5 colors so mine would look a little different and stand out a little. And he suggested putting my name on it. Mine has a white joint, ferrel, and butt end. I've been told it's worth at least 10 times what I paid for it. As much as I like it that make me feel it's too good for me to use if I ever do start playing again. I also have a Viking I bought about the same time. But I saw some pictures of Viking cues and they all had the Viking name on the butts. Mine doesn't. I bought that at Chriss Billiards on North Milwaukee ave in Chicago. I guess I'll just use that if I ever try playing again.
Eddie G

04-18-2002, 07:36 AM
This Jim STILL makes Chris break with a cloth under the cb! He's clumsy and needs that laser surgery himself! He's so clumsy and blind he needs a spot from Kato who wins tournaments!

Regarding the Burton Spain, check out www.billiardcue.com (http://www.billiardcue.com) Dick Abbott is a dealer with an excellent reputation. He has two Spain cues listed for around $2,000.

04-18-2002, 08:45 AM
Thanks for the site Jim. Mine looks similar to the one made in 1980. Except my 4 points each has 5 colors. I kind of remember Burt recommending that saying it would dress up the cue a little. And he put my name on the butt between the points. Mine is 57.25" long &amp; weighs 19.5 oz. Joel Hercek said I could bring it by him in May when he would have time to take a look at it. Mine hasn't been refinished. And the shafts still have the original tips. Joel said mine would be worth at least 10 times the $225 I paid for it in 1981. I'll probably just hold onto it. I've been storing it in a hard side Cabellas rifle case with sponge inside. I think I used it maybe 25 to 100 times after I bought it. Then I quit playing pool again and haven't played since. Before that I played in high school from about 65 to 70 which was when I quit the first time. I never was too good. But at least in high school I could hold my own with everyone in the local pool hall attached to the bowling alley. It had 4 old Brunswick pocket tables &amp; 1 old 3 cushion table. When I tried playing in the 80s I had become one of the older players that couldn't beat the youngsters. Seemed I never played near as good as I thought I had when I was younger.

04-18-2002, 11:17 AM
Joel Hercek is the expert on Spain's cues. He worked under him and bought his business right before Burton passed away of cancer. Check Hercekcues.com.

04-18-2002, 11:39 AM
I too didn't play from my teen years until my mid-fifties and I too had a rather inflated memory of how well I had played those 40 + years ago.

I've become addicted to the game and work very hard at improving. I love doing it. What other game of skill is there where a old fart can sucessfully compete with the "flat tummies" (kids). I love being able to beat some of them and look forward to playing pool as long as I can stand up! Hope you get back into it Eddie. I just live a couple/three hours from you in Galesburg so maybe we could get together some time when I go to the St. Charles area to visit my daughters.