George Nelson nacque nel 1877 a Driffield, una città dello Yorkshire ad est di Leeds affacciata sul mare del Nord.
Fu un Direttore d'Albergo e un campione di biliardo a livello nazionale. Diventato proprietario di una catena di sale da biliardo, con il figlio suo omonimo, stabilì le basi di quella che sarebbe poi diventata la famosa casa manifatturiera Smith & Nelson che creò i più bei biliardi dell'epoca che oggi hanno un gran valore nello specifico settore del mercato antiquario.
Una volta che un intervento chirurgico lo costrinse a lasciare il biliardo giocato, si dedicò al Bridge, divenendo Presidente della Yorkshire Contract Bridge Association ed un'autorità riconosciuta anche su questi diversi tavoli verdi.
Padre di dieci figli, scomparve nel 1956.
Born in Driffield, Yorkshire, in 1877, he gave up a career as an hotel manager to become a professional player, winning the Championship Mel Inman: World record redball break for ivory balls Details of the Mel Inman “Worlds Record” facsimile cue (above) and the Inman “Picture Badge” cue (right) of Yorkshire between 1906-11.
He also arranged the first UK tour of the Australian wonder-boy, George Gray, in 1910-11, providing the opposition in many of his matches as Gray astounded the Nation by compiling thousand after thousand with red-ball play.
Nelson later became a proprietor of a chain of billiard halls, and with his son—also George—established the firm which eventually evolved into the famous billiard table manufacturer Smith & Nelson. Outside the billiard world he became equally famous for his card playing, being regarded as an expert in contract bridge.
Amongst all this he also managed to produce ten children before he died at the age of 79 in 1956.
His “Yorkshire Champion Cue” would have been made during the five year period when he held that title and was manufactured by William Sykes who were an established firm operating from Hornbury, near Leeds. It has a plain ebony hand-spliced butt with an ash shaft.
The example I have seen also has a star shaped mark on the bottom of the butt which may be a maker's identification. As far as I am aware, Sykes did not make any other "named player" cues. An unusual feature of the ivory badge is that it is secured with three brass pins. This feature is not totally exclusive to the "Nelson", but I have only seen it before on one other cue. The value of this cue would be about £300-350 possibly a little more because of its rarity.
The only other cues that carry George Nelson's name were produced some time after the Champion Cue and made by the family firm, Nelson of Leeds. These are round badged cues, produced as both machine and hand spliced versions, having a plain rosewood or ebony butt. They would be valued at about £150.
When the Nelson's company became Smith and Nelson they produced a lot of different, plain, run-of-the-mill cues (e.g. the Standfast cue). These have a negligible value in the collector's market.
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