I remember one year at the derby I saw him and he as usual had a pile of great cues. I did a few deals with him, we both did well. Was a great guy to do biz with and honorable.
Anyways at the derby he told me about a “big Gus” he had on consignment, he got it out from under the table. It wasn’t being displayed. As it’s a narrow market and a big target. All normal for big cues.
A month or 2 previous I was at Barry’s house and he was kind enough to show me some very subtle things on Gus’s to authenticate them. As some of us might recall they were being counterfeited a good bit after Gus passed. I wanted to learn about that-and Barry was kind enough to share some things with me.
Anyways fast forward back to Don, he took out the “big Gus” and proudly show it to me. There were a couple other 4pt 4 veneer Gus’s as well. I looked at the big one last. Don was leaving me alone as he had someone walk up and was talking to them, a few guys who were kinda new to cues-I could tell by the conversation.
Anyways when I looked at the big Gus wow about 3 glaring things popped out at me and it just wasn’t right. Not a chance it was a real Gus. So I waited as Don was deep into it with his customers. I could see Don had a bad cue and while I’m not the cue police-I was Don’s friend and didn’t want to see him get caught up selling a bad cue for around $30K. So I waited.
When he was done he asked me what I thought, I told him that the cue was bad. I showed him why, I showed him the differences between the real ones he had and the bad one. He looked so sad, he was very proud to have a big Gus, but it wasn’t a Gus.
He could see clearly the differences and he put it away, as he was honorable. And of course his reputation. The back story was he didn’t know the guy who consigned it very well. I didn’t ask who it was. Don was a stand up guy-that’s my point of telling this story.
That cue was returned to who ever owned it, I don’t think the owner knew he had a bad cue to be honest. Don was disappointed but thanked me.
Last couple days I been thinking and I can’t recall the last time I spoke to him, been a few years. Not forever but maybe 4 years ago.
Don was honorable, loved cues, and will be missed by all of us who knew him. He had earned my respect long before the big Gus story above. I just wanted to tell a Don story and that’s the one that came to mind first. He did the right thing. That’s how I remember him.