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ANTIQUE POOL BALLS CLAY AND IVORY


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#1 rwduece

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 04:39 PM

Larry, I have a question about antique pool balls. I have recently started to collect pool balls for my pool room. Is there a way to tell the difference by sight or feel if the ball is clay or plastic? I recently bought a clay set that was apparently from the 30s but it has a burgundy colored que ball with a small black triangle on it. Is this rare or just a misfit que ball? Any info would be helpful or maybe you can point me in the right direction.

#2 mikeylikesit

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 06:58 PM

Larry, I have a question about antique pool balls. I have recently started to collect pool balls for my pool room. Is there a way to tell the difference by sight or feel if the ball is clay or plastic? I recently bought a clay set that was apparently from the 30s but it has a burgundy colored que ball with a small black triangle on it. Is this rare or just a misfit que ball? Any info would be helpful or maybe you can point me in the right direction.

Post a pic of then on the site it would sure be nice to see them

#3 FASTLARRY

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:04 PM

Larry, I have a question about antique pool balls. I have recently started to collect pool balls for my pool room. Is there a way to tell the difference by sight or feel if the ball is clay or plastic? I recently bought a clay set that was apparently from the 30’s but it has a burgundy colored que ball with a small black triangle on it. Is this rare or just a misfit que ball? Any info would be helpful or maybe you can point me in the right direction.


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FL SAY: I also collect them, and I am an expert on them, and I buy them from people, and in time, after you get a few balls, or sets, it will be quite obvious to you what the difference is. Getting old singles is easy, getting a full set, that is playable and not all cracked up, is really hard to do, I have a couple. The designs changed over the century quite a lot. Most were made by the Albany billiard ball Co with the Hyatt brand name on the box. Hyatt began making balls for Brunswick with their name on the box in the 30's, which were the Ivorlenes, making players think they would play like real ivory, and they featured the first small darts, or notches on the sides of the numbers. The modern ball with the Centennial design, with larger darts did not appear until 1945. When Hyatt went out of business in the 70's, Saluct of Belgium took over production of the balls for Brunswick.

If you have a set, you want to sell, and you don't know what to ask, or what the going price on them is, I can't do anything until you send me multiple photographs, and don't hide any bad spots, chunks out or cracks, always make a full disclosure of any problems. If you have the box, take pics of it also. Having the box, in good shape, raises the price. Send them to me at: email:

fastlarrypool@bellsouth.net

Then call me later, to alert me to the email, and to discuss the price. 770-381-6609

Most of the cue balls did not survive, and in the 50's and 60's when these were coming out of the pool halls and being replaced, kids took the 8 and 9's, and cue balls to make gear shift knobs. When the clay cue balls cracked and fell apart, from breaking, they were replaced by stronger Bakelite white cue balls, so finding real clay cue balls, is rare, and I have 2 of them.

Many top joints left the set of clay balls on the table, and you were given a ivory cue ball to play with, and a Bakelite cue ball was on the table to break with, and after the break, you switched to the ivory ball, unless you were playing 14.1. A boy, racked the balls for you and you paid him, a dime for the game. When you cleared the table, you would shout out, rack please, and dig up another thin dime. I came up, playing with clay balls, in the 40's and 50's.

Some of these break balls, were dark brownish red, with a black triangle on them. You did not play with this ball, you broke with it.

Here is the case and almost perfect set of balls from 1880, the price on them, to me, don't ask, they are not for sale. They were never played with much, had been put up all of this time. Which makes them extremely rare.

Most clay balls have a lot of hairline cracks on them from age, and when people find a set of them in gramps garage, they think they are ivory and worth a lot of money and they think they are worth thousands of dollars. Finding an ivory set, is as rare as finding an original balabushka cue in the bin at goodwill or a diamond in your back yard. It never happens. Most of these sets are only worth around $100 and if they are pristine, which is rare, they might go $150-200. The average guy, thinks they are worth a lot more, than they really are. You can't play with them, or they would crack in half, so they are display wall hangers, and the number of people collecting them is small, and once people like me get several nice sets, we no longer have any interest in the junk balls or bad, damaged or mixed sets.

I have bought a lot of sets for a song on Ebay, because I was the only bidder. The demand for them, is low, and there are few serious buyers for them.

The other problem is over the years, balls break up, are stolen, and most sets, are not all the same ball or design, many I see, have 2 or 3 designs in them, where new balls were added it and the design was a tad different, which kills their price badly. Look closely to see of all the designs on the numbers are the same. The balls that are usually missing, or have been changed, are the one, the eight and nine balls the most, and the cue ball of course.

Getting them in a wood box, is rare, and usually indicates a set, going back to the turn of the century. Most sets I see, have been put in a new modern paper box, which is not the original box and does not say Hyatt on them.

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#4 FASTLARRY

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:10 PM

Another perfect set of clays.

When people sell these to you, they roll the cracks and chips over out of sight, many of the balls, are not the same design, if you want to get screwed jewed and tatoted, wait till you start buying these.

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#5 FASTLARRY

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:45 PM

And of course an ivory pool ball is a must, they run $150 to $200, most are cracked and out of round, hard to find a real true one, plenty of billiard balls, larger, or snooker ones, smaller, few pool cue balls out there.

Here is a pic of me playing with an ivory cue ball

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#6 FASTLARRY

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:47 PM

And a good set of German Rashigs, these you can play with, they play great. This set is from the early 60's, most you will find are from the late 70's.

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#7 rwduece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:39 AM

Post a pic of then on the site it would sure be nice to see them

trying to figure out how to do that and i will.

#8 FASTLARRY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:03 PM

trying to figure out how to do that and i will.





Get your pic in your cpu, in my documents, then hit browse here, it takes you to your cpu, find pic, double click it, Then hit upload here, then reply, there it is, piece of cake.

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#9 rwduece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 01:41 PM

Attached File  POOL_BALL.JPG   147.99KB   7 downloads HERE IS NUMBER 1 BALL I HAVE A CRAPPY PHONE CAMERA . I will try to do whole set

#10 rwduece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:12 PM

Attached File  pool_ball_set.JPG   44.42KB   18 downloads

#11 FASTLARRY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:44 PM

[quote name='rwduece' date='Jun 16 2011, 03:12 PM' post='36121']
Attached File  pool_ball_set.JPG   44.42KB   18 downloads



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They look in good shape, they are all the same, a complete set, well done, bravo. An excellent buy. They are the real deal.

"Fast Larry" Guninger
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#12 rwduece

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:38 PM

larry, what are they worth approximately ? can you give me a figure?

#13 FASTLARRY

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:50 PM

[quote name='rwduece' date='Jun 16 2011, 05:38 PM' post='36124']
larry, what are they worth approximately ? can you give me a figure?


I dunno, it depends on their shape, cracks, etc, most will go somewhere between 100 and 200 a set. Now and then, you might steal a set cheap.

What you run into is this, notice this set I bought, its not a perfect match, the 12 and 13 are not the same as the other ones. I bought the set, just to get the box, which are very hard to find, as they got torn up and tossed long ago. Any set in an original box increases in value a lot.

I had bought a lot of singles and I had the 12 and 13 to swap back out and make the set, complete.

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#14 rwduece

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 12:54 PM

I have seen sets where none of the balls have stripes but numbered 1-15 . Is this something that is unique or collectible or has any kind of collectible value? What age would you put on something like that. I am really interested in unique items for my pool room not just "everybody has that " kind of items. I really liked the set you have with the wooden box. Larry, i do appreciate the time you have given me to answer my questions and also given some great shots of some of your collection.

#15 FASTLARRY

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 02:36 PM

[quote name='rwduece' date='Jun 17 2011, 01:54 PM' post='36133']
I have seen sets where none of the balls have stripes but numbered 1-15 . Is this something that is unique or collectible or has any kind of collectible value? What age would you put on something like that. I am really interested in unique items for my pool room not just "everybody has that " kind of items. I really liked the set you have with the wooden box. Larry, i do appreciate the time you have given me to answer my questions and also given some great shots of some of your collection.



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FL SAY:

Yes, its just part of my collection, and all kinds of balls were made over the last 150 yrs, would have to see pictures to comment on them. First, I am far from an expert on this subject, just a guy who has collected a few nice sets, thats all.
A wood box for pool balls is very rare, but that was how almost all Ivory billiard balls used to be sold, 3 to a set, and I have about 4 or 5 of them from the last turn of the century. Yo Sarah keeps asking why I blow all this money on all this old stuff I refuse to sell, I tell her, dont ask, I could never splain it to ya.

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#16 RoyZ

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 09:38 PM

How does ivory play vs. modern pool balls?

#17 FASTLARRY

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 08:48 AM

[quote name='RoyZ' date='Jun 17 2011, 10:38 PM' post='36137']
How does ivory play vs. modern pool balls?




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It had long been considered superior to phenolic in the billiard 3-cushion world, will hold english better and longer off the 3rd rail, and that is a game of follows, so being a heavier ball, it has more mass and weight and will roll longer. But trying to find one with out cracks, or one that does not roll off, is a problem. Few now are right? It is better for Le Masse, and was used in the European artistic championships until recently.

In pool, it would be better for 14.1 as that is a game of follows into the stack. For other games, since it does not draw as well, there it lacks. Ivory getting out of round is such a problem, they basically gave up on it by the early 30's.

My 3-cushion set is perfect and was used by Rene to win several world championships in the 20's, and I only play with it.

In pool, I have a perfect ivory cb, and it plays just fine, but my phenolic tourney cb has a higher polish, draws better, and gives me a superior performance.

In my 2 day lessons, I begin with clay balls and an ivory cue ball, and keep changing ball sets so the student gets to experience what is was like playing in 1880, 1920, 1950, 1970, etc.

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#18 FASTLARRY

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:33 PM

Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:24 PM

BALLS ANTIQUES, CLAY AND IVORY

4 pages, 4-21-07, CR, Fast Larry Guninger, all rights reserved, published in numerous internet publications.


It’s fun to have these BALLS from the past. The old pool clay BALLS are very old fragile ANTIQUES. I would not recommend
Playing with them. You put them up on a shelf to display them and leave them there. I have been buying them now for a
couple of years trying to acquire a full set which appeared to be impossible. The wear and tear of the break means you never
find a cue ball or one ball. Few survived the impact which tore most of them up. Most 2 BALLS are cracked badly.
The 8’s and 9’s are all gone as I guess most ended up as gear shift knobs in the 50’s and 60’s which was the fad of the hot
Roders of that day. You will find stripes are hard to find also which I never understood. I guess once all the 9 BALLS ended
up on gear shifts next went the 11 to 15’s. I ended up with 40 BALLS and still no complete set 1-15. The markings and colors
are all different so I learned a lot about them through this process.

Finding a complete set will be rare and if they are in good condition the price will be really up there. Rarely does the box survive and if you have the original box the price then really jumps. I have 5 billiard boxes in paper and three in wood and they are as expensive as the ivory BALLS they came with. Ivory billiard and snooker BALLS are still easy to find. Ivory pool BALLS are becoming rare. An Ivory ball cost about $100 from 1850 to 1950. In the 1800’s they paid out in their money what would be equivalent of our $100 today so the price really never changed. You will pay about $100 to $150 for an ivory ball today. If they are round and play with no cracks the price can run 2 or 3 times more. Only very rich people ever had entire sets of pool or snooker BALLS because a pool set would have cost them $1600. Very few of these sets were ever sold and fewer survived there fore the prices on them are extreme.

When I began play in the late 40’s and 50’s the pool halls were full of clay balls. It took years until they wore out and they were replaced by the new phenolics. The game virtually died in 1957 and until the Hustler movie came out in 1961 and the game began to roar back in 62, most of the rooms closed and the old BALLS ended up in trash cans. When the new wave of smaller tables and new rooms came back they were not in the old down town locations but out in the burbs.
They opened with the new modern BALLS and the new era was on us. I remember the old better players bitching about the plastic balls. The preferred the old clay balls. Older players hate any change and resist it. The BALLS did have a different feel and contact sound.

Another issue is the old clay BALLS I have are bigger around and taller than today’s balls. Not a lot, but when you set them side by side you can clearly see it. It really does not matter or affect play if today we make pool BALLS 10% smaller or 10% bigger. The players in a few weeks will adjust to them and move on.

For a decade I played with the best BALLS on earth which were the Rachigs from Germany. Eventually I began to wear them down and they were no longer as big around and the same size of standard balls. I had been using them because their tolerances were so tight and they were perfectly round equal to a ball bearing in a tank. The company went out of business because people here would not pay double in price to have a perfect ball. When Saluc tightened up their specs I then began playing with their super pro aramiths which are the best BALLS out there today. The Rachigs had a distinct fell and sound to them I liked a lot.

I played with clay BALLS when they were new and I have finally broke down and bought a complete set from the early 1920’s that is complete 1-15 with the original cue ball. They are in very nice shape and playable. My one and two have a few small cracks which are hard to see so I only play 14.1 with them and would never rack them up and break them which would probably destroy the 1 and 2 ball if I did. They play great, amazing, and the cue ball has a lot of action which really surprised me. When they were new they were fine. When they began to age they would get cracks on them like an egg shell and chips would come out of them. They were easy to get out of round which meant when they slowed down they would roll off. The new phenolics that replaced them were tougher and a better ball which held up in the ball banger pool hall world.

When I have a student come to my home studio for advanced training and let him play with the clay set so he can see what it was like back then. I then replace the clay cue ball and let him use one of my primo perfect ivory cue balls. That was what Greenleaf used and Mosconi came up on it also. In the 40’s and 50’s if you were a good customer or top player they gave you two BALLS when you checked in and went on time. An ivory and Bakelite cue ball which was a little over size if you were playing 8 or 9 ball. The object BALLS were always left on the table as people did not steal them then. You broke with the cheap Bakelite ball and then replaced it with the Ivory cue ball and played your game. You did not break with the ivory because a lot of force would knock them out of round or crack them causing them to be sent to St Louis to be turned and planed back into round shape which reduced their size. After one or two turns the ball was then under size so badly it had to be turned down into a snooker ball. They began as 3-c balls, then were planed down to pool and finally snooker sizes.

The good players then played 3-c and 14.1 pool. 3-c used only Ivory BALLS and any good player did not want any part of Bakelite or cheap ivorine imitations. Ivory holds more spin coming off the 3rd rail than any ball made today. Those players preferred the Ivory ball for both games. The European Artistic world championship used them up to a few years ago. Ivory is heavier than Phelolic so it follows better and the 14.1 players liked it better because it would dig into the stack with more force. It did not draw as well but in 14.1 most of the draws are short so that did not matter. When the game came back in the early 60’s the clay BALLS were gone along with ivory cue balls. The pro cup cue ball of today is totally superior to the ivory ball because of its high 3-c polish and finish.

Ivory is a pain. You have to pamper them. Warm them up before you play and they do not travel well. Changes in temperature from cold to hot will crack them. Running around on the road with one in your trunk would not work. It’s easy to find ivory BALLS today but it’s really hard to find a set of 3-c with out cracks which is round and plays perfect. My 3-c set is from the Teens and Rene won several world championships with them in the 1920’s. I bought them in Belgium and when I play 3-c locally I use them. They are worth probably $2000.

When I practice my Masses on my pool table I use an ivory ball because it will not burn. If you hit a masse with a phenolic ball several times the force of driving the ball into the cloth causes heat, melts threads and the dye is burned on to the surface of the ball. You end up with a big green or blue spot that is almost impossible to remove. Remove it and you remove the polish from the ball in that spot. You now have to wax and coat the ball with WD 40 to get it to perform again on the Masse or it will come out too slow.

Let’s go back in time. In 1945 Brunswick began the Centennials to celebrate being in business 100 years. The two notches on the outer edges of the circles were actually called darts by them.

http://www.brunswick...alls/index.html

They were made for them by the Albany ball company in Albany, NY., which dominated the sport until 1960 and the collapse of the game. Brunswick never made their pool BALLS back then or now. They just have others make them and put them in a box with their name on it.

http://adirondackalm...y-billiard.html

http://americanhisto...hives/d8011.htm

The basic design of the ball then and now is about the same. The Portland Billard ball company in Portland, Maine was also in that era. http://www.pokerchip...lp/history.html

The clay BALLS slowly went away and the phenolics and plastics took over and got better in time. The polish on the BALLS improved. ABC went out of business and they are now made by Saluc in Belgium. 10 years ago you were lucky to find on with a tolerance under 10,000 but today they are very tight and most are 1 to 2,000.

In the 30’s up to 45 the BALLS were made of a clay compound and the darts and design were close to the 45 ball. The darts were smaller and thinner. When you see clay BALLS with out the darts they are mostly turn of the century up to the late 1920’s. Collecting any antique means you must be able to recognize the real deal from the phony or cheap ball not from that era. That takes experience and beginning to acquire old BALLS that are authentic is how you begin.

Here are some pictures: http://www.antiquebi..._pool_balls.htm

Item one sold for $10K, item two for sale for $8500, item three $5K, item 4 $550, item 5 Zanzibar which is the most prized ivory, $1,500, item 8 $9000, Item 9, zig zags $3K, Item 10 $5K, with box 10K.

Item 11 pay close attention to. They are Bakelite and these are a plastic from the 40’s to the 60’s. They are often sold as clay. They are glossy and shinny in appearance. They are not as valuable of the clay balls. This set is priced at $350.

Note Item 12 which are clay. They have no gloss or shine and are dull. You can also usually see find crack marks in most of them as well. This is a dart set from the 1930’s or early 40’s for $450.
HISTORY: Billiard BALLS are used in cue sports, such as carom billiards, pool, and snooker. The number, type, diameter, color, and pattern of the BALLS differ depending upon the specific game being played. Various specific ball properties such as hardness, friction coefficient and resilience are very important to the finer points of game play. The earliest BALLS were made of wood, and later clay (the latter remaining in use well into the 20th century). Ivory was favored for a period, but by the mid-1800s, elephants were being slaughtered for their ivory at an alarming rate, just to keep up with the demand for billiard balls. No more than eight BALLS could be made from a single elephant. In an uncommon show of accidental environmentalism, the billiard industry realized that the supply of elephants (their primary source of ivory) was endangered, as well as dangerous to obtain. They challenged inventors to come up with an alternative material that could be manufactured, with a US$10,000 prize from Phelan and Collender of New York City being offered.
In 1869, John Wesley Hyatt invented a composition material called cellulose nitrate for billiard BALLS (US patent 50359, the first American patent for billiard balls), winning the cash prize for best ivory substitute. By 1870 it was commercially branded Celluloid, the first industrial plastic. Unfortunately, the nature of celluloid made it volatile in production, occasionally exploding, which ultimately made this first plastic impractical.
Subsequently, to avoid the problem of celluloid instability, the industry experimented with various other synthetic materials for billiards BALLS such as Bakelite and other plastic compounds.
The exacting requirements of billiards are met today with BALLS cast from phenolic resin, which is strongly resistant to cracking and chipping; it has become the industry standard, and is virtually the only billiard ball material used today in tournaments and by professionals. Another plastic material called polyester (under various brand names) may also be used, with lower performance and less resistance to damage, resulting in shorter ball and cloth lifetime.
(See also Cue sports, "History" for more general information on billiards history.)
] Types of billiard balls
[] Carom billiards
In the realm of carom (or carambole) games, billiard BALLS are the three (sometimes four) BALLS used to play straight-rail, three-cushion, balkline, and related games on pocketless billiards tables, as well as English billiards which is played on a table with pockets. The Asian game yotsudama uses four BALLS (the name literally means "four-ball"). Carom BALLS are not numbered, and at 2-7/16 inches (61.5 mm) are larger than pool balls. They are colored as follows:
• Red object ball (two reds, in yotsudama)
• White cue ball for player 1
• White with a spot (or sometimes yellow) cue ball for player 2
] American-style pool
In the US, the term "billiard balls" usually refers to BALLS used to play various pocket billiards (pool) games, such as eight-ball, nine-ball and one-pocket. American-style pool balls, used the most widely throughout the world, are considerably smaller than carom billiards balls, slightly larger than British-style pool BALLS and substantially larger than those for snooker. According to BCA/WPA equipment specifications, the weight may be from 5.5 to 6 oz. (156 to 170 g) with a diameter of 2.25 in. (5.715 cm), plus or minus 0.005 in. (0.127 mm).[1][2]. The BALLS are numbered and colored as follows:
1. Yellow
2. Blue
3. Red
4. Purple (pink in some ball sets)
5. Orange
6. Green
7. Brown or burgundy (tan in some ball sets)
8. Black
9. Yellow and white
10. Blue and white
11. Red and white
12. Purple and white (pink and white in some ball sets)
13. Orange and white
14. Green and white
15. Brown (or burgundy) and white (tan and white in some ball sets)
• Cue ball white (sometimes with one or more spots)
Note that BALLS 1-7 are often referred to as solids and 9-15 as stripes though there are many other colloquial terms for each suit of balls. Though it looks similar to the solids, the 8 ball is not considered a solid. Some games such as nine-ball do not distinguish between stripes and solids, but rather use the numbering on the BALLS to determine which object ball must be pocketed, in other games such as three-ball neither type of marking are of any consequence. In eight-ball, straight pool, and related games, all sixteen BALLS are employed. In the game of nine-ball, only object BALLS 1 through 9 (plus the cue ball) are used. Some BALLS used in televised pool games are colored differently to make them distinguishable on television monitors (thus the pink and tan variants). TV is also the genesis of the "measle" cue ball with numerous spots on its surface so that spin placed on it is evident to viewers.
Coin-operated pool tables such as those found at bars and college campuses historically have often used either a larger ("grapefruit") or denser ("rock", typically ceramic) cue ball, such that its extra weight makes it easy for the cue ball return mechanism to separate it from object BALLS (which are captured until the game ends and the table is paid again for another game) so that the cue ball can be returned for further play, should it be accidentally pocketed. Rarely in the US, some pool tables use a smaller cue ball instead. Modern tables usually employ a magnetic ball of regulation or near-regulation size and weight, since players have rightly complained for many decades that the heavy and often over-sized cue BALLS do not "play" correctly.
[British-style pool (blackball)
In WPA blackball and WEPF or English-style eight-ball (not to be confused with the game of English billiards), fifteen BALLS again are used, but like those of the pool game casino they are arrayed are in two unnumbered group, the reds (or less commonly blues) and yellows, with a white cue ball, and black 8 ball. Aside from the 8, shots are not called since there is no reliable way to identify particular BALLS to be pocketed. Because they are unnumbered they are wholly unsuited to certain pool games, such as nine-ball, in which ball order is important. They are noticeably smaller than the American-style BALLS (and even than those of snooker), and with a cue ball that is slightly smaller than the object balls, while the table's pockets are tighter to compensate. Neither the WPA nor the WEPF (publically) define ball or even table dimensions, though presumably league and tournament organizers are given some guidelines in this regard. Most manufacturers that supply this market provide 2 in. (5.08 cm) object BALLS and 1-7/8 in. (4.76 cm) cue balls. Coin-operated pub tables often use cue BALLS that are smaller than the object balls, so that the ball return mechanism can distinguish them.
Snooker
Ball sets for the sport of snooker look at first glance like a mixture of American- and British-style pool balls. There are twenty-two BALLS in total, arranged as a rack of fifteen unmarked reds, six colour BALLS placed at various predetermined spots on the table, and a white cue ball. (See snooker for more information on ball setup.) The colour BALLS are sometimes numbered American-style, with their point values, for the amateur/home market. They are numbered as follows:
2. Yellow
3. Green
4. Brown (or burgundy, depending upon the manufacturer)
5. Blue
6. Pink
7. Black
Snooker BALLS are standardized at 52.5 mm (approximately 2-1/8 in.) in diameter within a tolerance of plus or minus 0.05 mm (0.002 in.) No standard weight is defined, but all BALLS in the set must be the same weight within a tolerance of 3 g.[3] However, many sets are actually 2-1/16 in. (about 52.4 mm), even from major manufacturers. Snooker sets are also available with considerably smaller-than-regulation BALLS (and even with ten instead of fifteen reds) for play on smaller tables (down to half-size), and are sanctioned for use in some amateur leagues.
[] Other
Various other games have their own variants of billiard balls. Russian pyramid and the related Finnish game kaisa make use of a set of 15 numbered but otherwise all-white balls, and a red or yellow cue ball, that are about the size of carom billiards balls. Bumper pool requires four white and four red object balls, and two special balls, one red with a white spot and the other the opposite; all are usually 2-1/8 in. (approximately 52.5 mm) in diameter.
There is a growing market for specialty cue BALLS and even entire ball sets, featuring sports team logos, cartoon characters, animal pelt patterns, etc. Entrepreneurial inventors also supply a variety of novelty billiard games with unique rules and balls, some with playing card markings, others with stars and stripes, and yet others in sets of more than thirty BALLS in several suits. Marbled-looking and glittery materials are also popular for home tables. There are even blacklight sets for playing in near-dark. There are also practical joke cue and 8 balls, with off-center weights in them that makes their paths curve and wobble. Miniature sets in various sizes (2/3, 1/2, etc.) are also commonly available, primarily intended for children's under-sized toy tables.
Several brands of practice BALLS exist, which have systems of spots, stripes, differently-colored halves or targeting rings.
In popular culture
The 8 ball is frequently used iconically in Western, especially American, culture. It can frequently be found as an element of t-shirt designs, album covers and names, tattoos, household goods like paperweights and cigarette lighters, belt buckles, etc. A classic toy is the Magic 8-Ball "oracle". A wrestler, a rapper, and a rock band have all independently adopted the name.
The term "8 ball" is also street slang both for 1/8 oz. of cocaine or crystal meth and for a bottle of Olde English 800 malt liquor.
The expression to be stuck or trapped "behind the eight" is used throughout the English speaking world to indicate a perilous situation from which it is difficult to extracate oneself. The term derives from the game Kelly pool.
MORE HISTORY AT: http://www.answers.com/topic/cue-sport

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celluloid

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"Fast Larry" Guninger
The Power Source Traveling Pool School. To see my web page come alive click here: www.fastlarrypool.comicon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_razz.gif


#19 FASTLARRY

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:00 PM

Ivory pool ball set POSSIBLE FRAUD ALERT - 02-25-2011
________________________________________
A set of 16 ivory cue balls in a rickety wood box with wood dividers sold this week in a poorly publicized auction but still sold for about $1,000. They have no color or numbers, but they are still 16 matching ivory balls. There is a dealer on eBay who takes plain ivory balls and dyes them all red to match then sells them as an original set. Beware, because this set IS NOT REALLY A MATCHING SET so someone is going to be fooled.

My original 2 5/16" Brunswick tournament set cost $6k because ivory pool ball sets really are extremely rare unlike billiard balls. I imagine it will take the dealer a few weeks to get numbers scrimshawed onto the balls and dye them, but I assure you these will come onto the market. The set is a little undersized, and he cannot make them larger, so that is the key. I do have a friend that found a real set of smaller ivory pool balls so I want to be careful and go on record here and now in case he ever needs to sell his set for whatever reason, but his ivory is really white and clear.

The balls that may be faked have a nice brown patina to them and the funny thing is, about half of them are darker than the others so they will probably be separated that way into stripes and solids. Pool ball collectors call me from all over the country to ask me things constantly so I am just putting this on here so that I do not have to have this conversation fifty times. Beware. ... I know where my set came from ~ they sat in the shop of one of the oldest billiard dealers around, Laner's, probably because the cracks were really deep.

Since the balls do not appear to be used much if at all, they probably were bought by the dealer in the 1920s-1930s to sell and cracked in transit. Brunswick did not cover balls damaged in shipping, so the dealer had to eat the loss if they bought ivory balls to display for sale. This, and the expense, is yet another reason for their rarity. Anyway, I hope this thread keeps someone from getting ripped off. The dealer in question has admitted to dying a set red, and it is just a matter of time before he figures out how to dye solid/stripe, traditional colors because that knowledge is on the internet if you look, down to what the actual dyes were made from. Good luck finding a real set guys. I heard a rumor that many years ago when ivory was legal that Playboy sold an ivory pool ball set in their magazine... does anyone have an issue showing this???? I WILL ADD A PHOTO SOON OF THE AUCTION BALLS IN QUESTION

2nd, I get phone calls all the time with people thinking they have an ivory set, and 99.9% of the time, they are clay, Ivorene, bakalite, etc

So if you find an actual set which is really ivory, what are they worth?

Well like anything else the price is determined by a few things.

1. Make sure the entire set is ivory.
2. Examine the set thoroughly and determine a grading system.
e.g. Usually 1-10 will suffice with 1 being damaged and 10 mint.
3. Market value is like anything else. Something is only worth what another person is willing to pay for it. Typical valuations will for a set rated as damaged or incomplete could sell for $500-1500. A set that is determined to be in mint (10) condition could sell upwards of $5,000-10,000 or higher to the correct buyer. I have heard of sets selling for as high as $15,000.

I had a fair (4) condition set I acquired at an Estate sale five years back. I bought them at auction for $630.00 and sold them to a collector in Texas for a little under $4,000.

As I said above, make sure the set is ivory. Full fifteen ball Ivory sets are very rare these days and if you have a chance to get your hands on some for a decent price, do it!

The pictures are of balls a guy was trying to sell on the net, which was missing a ball, and he said they were ivory, but it’s obvious they are clay, worth about $150, and he wants $5,000. So the frauds and cons are out there.

Never sell over the net, you could be cheated, only sell direct to a dealer, and never buy ivory unless you have the balls in your hands to inspect first. EBay no longer allows the sale of ivory.


The price for an ivory ball has remained the same for the last two centuries, adjusting for the change in value of money, one ball has ran for about $150 to $200, so they could not wait to get rid of them and find a cheaper solution, which led to a million dollar prize, and the invention of plastic. Ivory shrank, cracked, got out of round, and everyone but the purist 3-cushion players hated them. They were a room owner’s nightmare.

So a set of 16 ivory pool balls, would have cost about $3,000, which means only very rich people bought them to show off with. You never saw them in a pool hall, never. A top place would give you a Bakelite break ball, and an ivory cue ball to play with, and the other 15 balls would be clay.

Because they were so expensive, few sets were sold, and few survive today.

Rather than throw away old non playable ivory balls, many were ground up and recast with other materials to create a ivorene ball, which was meant to give the player the feel and sound of ivory, but at a lower cost. By the mid 50’s, all of these were gone and we were into the new world of phenolic balls. Ivory billiard balls, which come in a set of three, 2 whites and 1 red, are very common, and sell for about $650 a set, if they are decent. These are larger than a pool ball, and are 2 ¾”, the modern pool ball is 2 l/4” making them about 1 to 2/16” smaller and lighter than the old clay or ivory balls.

Attached are the photos of the clay balls the crook is trying to sell as ivory. I used to pm them, telling them they were clay, and not ivory, and they should alter their description and price, and they just ignore you, because they know its a con and their fall back is I did not know, I am not a ball expert. Beware of ivory balls being sold on internet auction sites...I would not trust anyone there. From the photos the cue ball looks like a cheap bakelite and the object balls are clay.

Attached Files


"Fast Larry" Guninger
The Power Source Traveling Pool School. To see my web page come alive click here: www.fastlarrypool.comicon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_razz.gif


#20 FASTLARRY

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:20 PM

I have been playing with Ivory balls since the 40's, and I have a large collection of them, so for me, its easy to ID them for me. For you, who has yet to buy his first one, you need to know what they look like. This is a good site to see a variety of rare sets.

http://www.antiquebi..._pool_balls.htm

You dont see a lot of ivory cue balls pure white, like a modern cue ball. Most have blue or black vein marks in them, and most have cracks as well.

In billiards one ball is all white, the 2nd white has a black dot at the top and bottom, When they were dried out, this is where the main vein was, that area would shrink, and they would drive in a piece of Black ebony in the hole to fill it, and to also ID the 2nd white. The third ball was just dyed red. They were simple to make, you just planed a block down into a round shape.

Making pool balls was tough and expensive, because you had to have numbers. So each ball had to have a number hand engraved into the ivory on both sides. The cheaper sets were all white. Others were all red. The more expensive sets were dyed with colors. Pool basically began in the 1880's and was a minor game well into the 1920's, as billiards was the main game, straight rail and later balkline using the bigger ball and no pockets on the table. Most of the pool ivory sets were made from the 1880's to around 1900. Few things today have survived over a century. There are more ivory snooker full sets around, mostly in the UK< than ivory pool ball sets, mostly in the USA.

A proper pool hall back in the day had 10' billiard and pool tables, and 12' snooker tables. Good players, played all three games. When the 2 3/4" billiard balls went out of round, they mailed them off to Schmidt in St Louis, who turned them down, reducing their size by recarving them and making them round and true for a 2nd life, but now as the smaller 2 l/4" pool ball, and when they went out of round again, they were turned down to a snooker 2 l/8, or to a 2 l/6", and when the went out of round the final time, they were tossed on the shelf, or trashed. That is why you see a lot of 2 3/4" billiard ivory balls around, but very few ivory 2 l/4" pool balls.

Also, when we moved off ivory to phenolics in the 50's, a lot of these ivory pool cue balls became gear shift knobs in the kids hot rods. That is also why in most old sets of Clay balls, the 8 and 9 balls are usually missing.

"Fast Larry" Guninger
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