Antique Victorian Brunswick & Balke Billiard Table

by John Werry on May 7, 2008

victorian billiard table Antique Victorian Brunswick & Balke Billiard Table

For Victorian antique billiard table fans, this table made by Brunswick & Balke in 1878 is coming up at auction by Bob Courtney Auctions on May 17th. This is the best looking table I have ever laid my eyes upon and it puts my circa 1999 elegant, but not Victorian antique, pool table to shame. If the Herter Brothers were to have produced a table, it would have looked like this. I can’t describe it better than Bob Courtney Auctions, so I will pass on their provenance and description information below. You can view more details and photos of the table here.

Phenomenal tournament pocket billiard table built for and awarded to the winner of the first Brunswick & Balke Co. sanctioned International Billiard Tournament, held in 1878 at Tammany Hall in Albany, New York. The finest billiard table cabinet artistry ever created, and built by the most prominent American pool table manufactures in the history of the game. This table was proudly owned for nearly all its life by the John Maas family of Albany, New York as he purchased the table from Cyrille Dion, the Canadian winner of the 1878 tournament. With a low serial number of 29, this was only the 29th one-of-a-kind table custom built by the Brunswick & Balke master craftsman. After a meticulous nine month museum quality restoration of the entire table, the table not only looks spectacular, it plays excellent pool. The entire table is veneered with deeply ebonized cherry.The rail tops are solid cherry with inlaid ivory diamonds. Details include carved urns and reeds with gold leafed background, hand painted Minton china plaques of Roman Gods,inlaid chariot scene, and incredible Herter-type inlaid freeze. This table is absolutely the finest billiard table in existence. Dimensions: 10ft L x 5 ft W Age: 1878 Material:Wood,Ivory,Tiles.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

woodwright May 8, 2008 at 1:43 am

This is a super table for sure – it is pictured on the cover of “Pool & Billiard Collectibles” by Mark & Connie Stellinga. The listing shows more pictures with close ups of the details. Bob Courtney himself collects antique pool & billiard items and generally has some billiard collectibles in his auctions. His upcoming auction has a nice early cue with marquetry (these are quite rare and valuable) Link: He also has a couple of listings for mechanical pockets (fairly rare). These were used on early (1700 – 1800’s) tables primarily from France. Many different styles cast in brass or bronze ( I own about 12 different styles – I have seen many more) – generally figural, or in the shape of a hand. Ordinarily held up by a lead counterweight, when a ball was pocketed, the “mechanism – face/ hand” would tip down and present the pocketed ball to you for retrieval. Link to the nicer one he has. If you’re looking to research an antique pool table or just want to browse some pictures. Brunswick was by far the most popular and prolific maker – here is a link to their site that shows pictures and information about most of the tables they made between 1845 – 1945 (about 130 different styles). I really like the Victorian tables heavily inlaid with marquetry (1870’s & 80-‘s. I own 2 of these.) – they are also the most valuable of the antique pool/billiard tables. woodwright

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woodwright May 8, 2008 at 11:11 am

Not sure if I for got to include te link, or it just didn’t get posted, but here is the link for Brunswick’s photo gallery of their antique tables. http://www.brunswickbilliards.com/our_rich_history/antique_tables/gallery_1.html

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Jennifer McKelvey May 17, 2008 at 10:33 am

I previewed this sale yesterday in Millbury, MA and can confirm it is a jaw-dropper. Condition is prissy-pristine. I’ll just be bidding on the speckled balls though… Check out the Besarel mirror in the same sale if your socks weren’t already knocked off by the pool table though.

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woodwright May 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I watched this pool table sell via Ebay Live. It sold for $110,000 + buyers premium. I would have expected more. It was sold in April of 2006 for +/-150K when Mark Stellinga sold off most of his collection @ an auction w/ Rich Penn Auctions (I bought some of his memorabilia @ that auction) – but apparently he didn’t let it go for that price. I wonder if it truly sold, or will be offered again soon on his own website, ebay or elsewhere. woodwright

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Solartje January 19, 2009 at 7:07 am

This table is truly a one of a kind and i’m glad it still in such a good shape so that collecters all over the world can enjoy its beauty.

woodwright:
I have been looking for a very very long time for one item to add to my collection. As you stated you bought some of the items on stelinga’s auction, i was hoping you might be the lucky owner.
I’m looking for the 4 arm bracelet in a box that was sold on that auction. If you own it and can show me to way to find the ower, i’d like to talk about a possible trade/sale. I haven’t found anything similar in the last couple of years, and probably won’t any soon.

If you are looking for me, you can find me on AZbilliards forum under the nickname Solartje, as i won’t post my personal email here.

I hope this reply won’t be deleted, as I would hate my search for that item to end in a death road again…

regards,

Solly who might even enjoy the search of the item more then the item

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woodwright January 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Here’s an update on the unique Brunswick pocket billiard table that was posted here and sold in May 2008 (@ Courtney’s auction for $110k + BP). I’m certain it is the same table. It is now in Orange County Ca. and for sale for 500k (I saw it listed a while ago for 600k), by Triangle Billiards – I am surprised to see it turn up there, they’re not a big name in the antique pool table game – they sell primarily new tables and supplies. Here’s the link to their listing: http://www.tribilliards.com/antique_tables/tournament.html

Reply to Solartje’s inquiry: Good news: I did not buy the armbands from Mark Stellinga’s auction (pictured on p. 176 of Stellinga’s book), however I do have a set just like them plus the original wrappers: I have (4) Nickelled armbands w/ the original box (all in excellent condition), I also have (3) of the paper wrappers they originally came wrapped in (also in excellent condition – not pictured in Stellinga’s book). (2) wrappers have been opened, but (1) is still unopened, the armband is wrapped in it’s original wrapper just the way it came when it was new. I would consider selling them for a good price. You can contact me through the forum here, or I will try to track you down through the site you listed. woodwright

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