Willie Hoppe cue and “Expert Leather Cue Case”

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
I wanted to share this with ya’ll. I have been researching a Brunswick cue and a Brunswick case for some time and must express sincere thanks to Scott/runscott who has been incredibly generous with his time and knowledge.

I bought the cue and case at an estate sale after seeing a photo of the cue on estatesales.net. The cue is a first decal/second signature Brunswick Willie Hoppe Professional made of brazilian rosewood. The cue has a Hoppe ring. The case is a Brunswick “Expert Leather Cue Case” as shown on page 5 of Brunswick’s Spring 1949 Mail Order Catalog.

I have been “mining” Brunswicks catalogs and have found the following information. (I do not vouch for the accuracy of this information as I have been cautioned that information from Brunswick catalogs, etc., is not completely reliable.) Beginning in 1941, Brunswick offered the Willie Hoppe Professional in weights of 20, 21, and 22 ounces. In 1948, Brunswick added 18 and 19 ounce cues. Brunswick’s catalog gives no specifications on the length of the Willie Hoppe Professional for 1941 and 1942. In 1943 the specified length is 57 inches. In the 1945, 1946, 1948, and 1949 (Spring) catalogs, the specified length is 56 inches. In the 1949 (Fall) catalog, the length became 57 inches and remained at 57 inches for the years I checked. My cue is stamped “18” and measures 56 ⅜ inches w/o a tip. If one assumes both that Brunswick manufactured and shipped per its specifications and that my cue length is unaltered, one can fairly conclude that my cue was made in 1948 or early 1949.

As to leather cases, in 1948 Brunswick offered the “Professional” and “Aristocrat”. In 1949, the leather cases offered were “Expert” and “Aristocrat”. Brunswick continued to offer the Expert until 1954. According to the catalogs, the Professional was 35 ½ inches long and the Expert was 32 inches long. My case measures 32 inches and agrees with the Expert described and pictured in the catalog.
 

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Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
damn. That thing looks new.

There is a 'Cue and Case Gallery' section on this forum.

You might get more dialog on the item there?
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Silver Member
I had a case a lot like that. I bought it from the Brunswick dealer in San Francisco about 1968. It had a lot of use and repairs and eventually retired.

The cue and case you found look like the owner put them away not long after getting them and never used them again. Awesome find.
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's a great looking case. Is it for sale? And more importantly how's the fishing off Chandeleur Islands? I grew up in Long Beach and spent every weekend on them catching trout. Good times.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
The person who owned the cue and case lived in rural Harrison County was a "horseman" -- several saddles and other tack, all well cared for, were in the sale but no other pool items. The butt section shows some play the shaft has one blemish. It was definitely not used a great deal.

They are not for sale. At first I thought about restoring or converting but with a little tlc it took on a beauty of its own.

Between Deepwater Horizon, Bonne Carret Spillway opening, and way too many fishermen, the north central Gulf is not the same.
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The person who owned the cue and case lived in rural Harrison County was a "horseman" -- several saddles and other tack, all well cared for, were in the sale but no other pool items. The butt section shows some play the shaft has one blemish. It was definitely not used a great deal.

They are not for sale. At first I thought about restoring or converting but with a little tlc it took on a beauty of its own.

Between Deepwater Horizon, Bonne Carret Spillway opening, and way too many fishermen, the north central Gulf is not the same.

I wouldn't sell it either. I'd buy it though.
I hate to hear that the fishing is off in the islands over there. I caught so many fish there as a kid off Cat and Ship Island along with the Chandeleur chain. I've been meaning to schedule a trip over there for years but the last 7-8 years we've been going to BC and Alaska for something different and to cool off during the summer months. That's canceled this year so I guess the timing is right to call one of the Islander Lodges. And if you think there's fishing pressure over there come to Clearwater this weekend. We're going 92 miles out to the loop current tomorrow and I bet we see at least a dozen boats around us.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Very nice cue and case. I once owned a Willie Hoppe Professional and a Brunswick Master Stroke - both in mint original condition, sort of wish now that I never sold them. Your case is very, very rare in that great original condition! One item that I still have is a Lord Brunswick Genuine leather cue case - about 50 years old- it was their top of the line cue case 50 or 60 years ago- like yours, this one that I own sat in someones' home for it's entire life- not many like it in existence. My Palmer Deluxe cue case is also about 50 years old and in mint condition- another closet queen that I found this year here in Florida at an estate sale as well.
 

classiccues

Enlightened.....
Silver Member
I believe those cases were made by Schmidt and both Schmidt and Brunswick sold them. Maybe they were private labeled.. or something like that...

My cousin lives in Pass Christian..

JV

The person who owned the cue and case lived in rural Harrison County was a "horseman" -- several saddles and other tack, all well cared for, were in the sale but no other pool items. The butt section shows some play the shaft has one blemish. It was definitely not used a great deal.

They are not for sale. At first I thought about restoring or converting but with a little tlc it took on a beauty of its own.

Between Deepwater Horizon, Bonne Carret Spillway opening, and way too many fishermen, the north central Gulf is not the same.
 

Cuebuddy

Mini cues
Silver Member
Very nice find! What I find most interesting about the cue is the "still" vivid colors of the veneers.
Most of the old Professionals I have seen have very faded colors.
I have read that the early cues used real hardwoods on the points that were not dyed and the newer Hoppe's were dyed.
I am not sure if it is true or not but none of my old Hoppe's have that bright of veneers.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
JV -- Pass Christian is a great place -- front porch of New Orleans and home of Robin Roberts. "The Pass", year after year, has the best Mardi Gras parade anyone will ever participate in. The place is usually a sleepy little southern town by the Gulf, but on the Sunday before Mardi Gras Day, the town feels like it is about to lift off into outer space -- cranked way too high up.

CueBuddy, as to veneer color -- three things: it appears this cue was really cared for (the leather wrap had a minor issue and the butt had been around feet but the foreatm did not have a single ding), I cleaned the points with alcohol, and, of course, I picked out the best picture of the best point. LOL.

I've also wonder about veneers: a) can veneers be recolored or redyed and b) will sanding and refinishing bring them back up?
 

Lawnboy77

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Super nice! You have a sweet slice of history. Thanks for sharing, I love the big clear pics, it sure brings out that beautiful Rosewood.
 

Cuebuddy

Mini cues
Silver Member
I have near ten of these old cues...never had the heart to sand one but I have heard that when you sand them down they will get more vivid.
The information that you posted on the cue will be saved to my files. Finding solid facts about these cues and Brunswick history in general is hit and miss.
Many that knew facts have left us but there typed words live on in many cases. I have a folder that I have added web links to but sadly many sites are now defunct.
Your cue and case would be hard to replace, so many times I hear from folks that they "wished I still had that cue":(
That will never happen to me since I NEVER SELL ANY OF MY CUES:grin:
 
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