English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Amateur Billiard Player : November 1997

The Amateur Billiard Player : November 1997

Auction Record?

Bloomsbury Book Auctions in London recently saw what
was possibly the highest price ever paid in a British
auction room for a book on billiards. Entitled “A Treatise on
Billiards, with Instructions and Rules” it was published by
John Dew in 1779 and although there are earlier books which
include references to billiards, this is one of the oldest works
dedicated to the subject. Apart from one other example in
the British Library, this is thought to be the only surviving
copy. In the face of such rarity, the catalogue estimate of
£200-300 stood no chance. Fierce bidding in the sale-room
and from numerous commission bids took the final price to
£1,035 (including the 15% premium).

Note: The earliest known book in English, and entirely devoted
to the game of billiards, was published in 1772
and is called “The Odds of the Game of Billiards – A Game
of Skill much practiced by civilised nations”. Published by
Bladdon, London, no examples are known to exist outside
the British Library collection.

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