While in Dallas this past October I was offered a Balabuska for $1500. He said it had a gold coin on the butt. I told him I was not interested because I believed it could be a fake. The question is this: When presented with a cue like that, is there someplace or someone who can verify it really is a balabuska? Also, what is the range of value for a balabuska? What was it that made the balabuska so disirable?

I'm skeptical to say the least. It's remotely possible Mr. Balabushka may have made a cue that way - he wasn't known for fancy inlay work at all - but nobody with an IQ in excess of the teens is going to let one of his cues go for $1500 today. They easily fetch three or four times that. As to verification, a cue broker would be a good starting point, but some are better at that than others. Try to locate an authority on the east coast, as that's where most of his cues were sold. Mark Kulungian in Enfield, Connecticut is a very good source; his room is called Pool Table Magic. I'd be astonished if that cue turned out to be the real deal, though.

What makes the Balabushkas so desirable is that (1) he was truly one of the great cuemakers of all time at his best, although his cues varied all over the lot when it came to hit, and were more than a little noisy, and (2) he's dead. Not to minimize his talent, but death escalated his greatness just as it did for Elvis, Janis, Morrison, Jim Croce and many others. He was limited to the technology of the '60s, and that has certainly been improved upon since.
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