Featured Stein: June 2014
~ Billiards Club Stein ~
By Ronald E. Gray

At first glance this stein appears to be a student association stein, but it isnt. It is a billiard club stein. This glass stein has a special Wappen or coat of arms, made to parody the student association steins. On the two side panels is etched the name, Freiburger Billard=Club. This refers to Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden (now Baden-Wȕrtemburg), Germany. This is a city of around 200,000 today. The shield, green of course to simulate the green felt typically found on billiard tables, is quartered by crossed cue sticks. The top three quadrants have two white (one has a red mark) and one red billiard balls. The bottom quadrant shows the billiard clubs Zirkel, an interlocking F and B, denoting the name of the club. The colors used by the club are green (presumably for the felt typically found on a billiard table) and red and white (the colors of the billiard balls and, coincidently or not, also the colors found on the Wappen of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau). A gold crown adorns the helmet and an arm wearing armor sticks out of the crown holding not a lance, but a cue stick. The thumblift is an eagle.

The lid contains the following inscription:

 Wettspiel 19/20.V.06 Karlsruhe; II Preis;
gestiflet vom Freiburger Billardclub.

This translates to" "Billiard Tournament on the19th and 20th of May 1906 in Karlsruhe; Second Prize; donated by the Freiburger Billard Club."  Both cities are in Baden and lie east of the Rhine River, Karlsruhe in the north and Freiburg im Breisgau in the south.

Billiards is played on a pocketless table and the object is to score points by hitting your cue ball (solid white or white with a red dot) into the other cue ball and the object ball (red) using carom shots off the rails,  or the other cue ball. The game originated in France and the French spelling is with one i, billard. We spell it billiard. 

Sports is a popular theme for beer steins, but you dont see that many for carom billiards or pocket billiards. I searched The Beer Stein Library and found only one, Reinhold Merkelbach 1116, a pig (a symbol of good luck) holding sports images. It comes with shooting, cards and bowling (all shown in the catalog) and a fourth is billiards (not shown in the catalog). Apparently, I have a rare sports stein. Bowling (67) and gymnastics/4F (56) got the most hits in The Beer Stein Library. Golf, however, is the most desirable due to the many avid golfers willing to pay top dollar for anything connected to their sport. This is a case where the golfers set the price for golf beer steins rather than the stein collector. Golf steins even merited two pages in the November 8, 1954 Sports Illustrated. A copy of the article can be obtained from the SCI Library in the Members Only section of this site. The Rare Golf Steins article only made its appearance because Sports Illustrated had not yet found that favorite sport of girl watching with their annual swimsuit edition.

Thanks to Master Steinologist George Schamberger for help with the translation.

Ronald E. Gray 2014
All rights reserved.
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