Ernie Presto's Personal Rambow Cue
A few years after Ernie's death, I was approached by the gentleman to whom this cue was left by Ernie. Ernie and my grandfather George Pentaris were close friends, so when this gentleman asked if I was interested in purchasing the cue, I didn't hesitate to do so. Ernie was one of the best players to come out of Chicago and also one of the best players in the country for a time. He took lessons from Jake Schaefer Jr. for some time (see pic of receipt below), and was lucky to have played Hoppe on several occasions.
As the story goes, this cue stick was made around 1940, and delivered before the Titlist blank hit the open market. Supposedly the blank was from the prototype batch and as you can see by the basewood (oak) and the very sharp points at the bottom of the points, it is not a typical Titlist. Presto and Rambow were close friends, and this cue represents a few uncharacteristic traits of Rambow's work. First, there is no wrap area over the full splice. The joint is ivory and also reversed with the pin in the shaft which screws into the butt. Rambow's earlier cues were jointed this way, but it is quite rare to find a Titlist conversion with this joint. However, the look of the joint is that of Rambow's later joints. In cue collecting, something like this is called bridging styles and is unique because it shows traits of more than one style or tradition at the same time. These make the most collectible Rambows because much of what Rambow made after this point were cues that pretty much all looked alike with very few exceptions.
This was Ernie's playing cue for most of his plying career spanning mostly the second half of the 20th century. THe butt is quite large which is typical of cues of this age. Considering the use, the cue is in wonderful condition and is all original with the exception of the tip and probably ferrule of course. Presto's name is nicely inscribed on the cue stick and in the earlier script or style of Rambow's inscription work. The cue is well used and has a wonderful patina. The orignal green label is in good shape considering the decades this cue was in use on a regular basis.
This cue has been in competition with Hoppe, Schaefer, Cochran, Chamaco, the list goes on and also includes Bob Feller the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher, who was a billiard enthusiast who performed a few exhibitions with Presto during WWII.
With the cue is a diary of billiard matches that includes data on a number of games against some of the best players ever, and the tube case that Presto kept the cue in. Please see the pictures below. The game log is an amazing resource. It starts in 1938 and goes through 1945. In it are results of Ernie's games against his opponents who ranged from his best friend to players like Jake Schaefer Jr., Tiff Denton, Otto Reiselt, Art Thurnblad, and even Bob Feller the major league pitcher who was a billiard enthusiast who played against Presto in some exhibition matches during the war.
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