Old Stoneface Gets The Special Edition Treatment!

Two for One? Lowe Classic & Phase 2.

One of the noticible things in the darts industry over recent years has been the growth of the special or collectors editions sets. Often they are simply a variation on the players current dart or specially packaged, souvenir type, product to mark an occasion or achievement. However, Unicorn have just released a unique pack. Not one but two sets of darts marking the remarkable career of John Lowe!

A Moment Of Darting History

In 1984 John Lowe MBE became the first person to achieve a 9-dart finish on television, in a match against Keith Deller at the 1984 World Matchplay. John hit two 180s with his first six darts, before finishing on 141 with treble 17, treble 18 and double 18 to complete the perfect leg. With this feat, John earned himself a place in darting immortality, as well as £102,000.

The John Lowe MBE Limited Edition darts are presented in deluxe packaging and come complete with two sets of darts, the first of which is a Limited Edition Replica of the dart John used to throw the perfect leg. His Phase 1 barrels are 90% natural tungsten, with Limited Edition 9 Dart engraving. The shaft and flights are a modern replica of those used on that famous day, a Silver Moulded SlikStik shaft and ULTRAFLY Rainbow Blue flights in Xtra shape.

2019 New Year’s Honours

Lowe receives his MBE from Prince William.

On the 2nd May 2019, the three-time World Champion was awarded an MBE by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, for services to the sport of darts and Charity at Buckingham Palace. John’s incredible career spanned across four decades of darting excellence, in which he became the first man to win three World Championship Titles across three decades, defeating Leighton Rees in 1979, Eric Bristow in 1987 and Alan Warriner in 1993.

The Phase 2 set of darts include a Limited Edition replica of the dart John used when he received his MBE. The 90% tungsten dart with gold titanium coating and Limited Edition MBE engraving also includes Gold Premier Aluminium Shafts and Gold John Lowe MBE ULTRAFLY flights in Plus shape.

The classic barrel with a 1984 set up.

In total there are just 501 sets of the John Lowe Limited Edition Set, spread across the three weights, meaning there are just 167 Sets each of 21G, 23G and 25G available. Available only from Unicorn at www.playwiththebest.com or from John Lowe MBE himself.

Each John Lowe MBE Limited Edition Box Contains-

  • Deluxe John Lowe MBE Packaging
  • 2 Sets of Limited Edition John Lowe Darts – 1 x Set of Phase 1 Natural John Lowe Darts and 1 x Set of Phase 2 Gold John Lowe Darts
  • Limited Edition Engraving
  • ULTRAFLY Flights
  • SlikStik and Aluminium Shafts

Full product and purchase details available here: http://www.playwiththebest.com/john-lowe-mbe-9-dart-special.html

Hidden Gems: Bob Anderson B&W 18g

In 1988 Bob Anderson claimed his World professional title. At the time his dart was distinct from the other star players of that generation. Bob used a narrow, quite long looking, dart with a smooth, slim nose-cone and a simple, but fine grip.

A fantastic set of Bob Anderson’s classic design. B&W Darts from around 1988.

Spec Sec:

  • B&W 18g Original Bob Anderson
  • 50.8mm Long
  • 5.5mm Width
  • Smooth Nose Cone
  • 95% Tungsten (Natural)
  • Consistent ring grip
  • 0.5cm Stem Blank
After 30 plus years they are still virtually perfect for throwing.

Bob’s dart was produced by B&W darts and had been so for a while. With the benefit of hindsight, they should be considered a premium piece of both manufacture and design. Very few modern darts are made in similar dimensions today, even most stems are two wide for them and leave an annoying lip at the join.

The 95% tungsten content ensured that Bob’s dart could be as thin as possible whilst still being dense enough to carry 18g in a 50mm barrel. The smooth nose was superbly reduced to as close the point junction as possible and certainly close than the early Unicorn models managed. The short blank at the stem end ensured strength was present even at maximum thinness.

The ring grip is quite fine and was originally quite deep. This gives an edge when newer, good for very light holders, but also allows the darts to age and wear with their owner.

But, unusually, Bob switched company to, the biggest name at the time, Unicorn darts. Initially, Unicorn produced a similar dart but shorter and wider (Phase I).

  • Unicorn 20g Bob Anderson (Phase I)
  • 48.5mm Long
  • 6.4mm Width
  • 90% Tungsten (Natural or Gold)
  • Smooth Nose Cone
  • Consistent Ring Grip
  • 0.9mm Stem Blank

Soon Bob switched back to his traditional design. Unicorn produced an updated version (Phase II), of his signature dart. This was closer to the B&W dimensions but regarded as a lower quality version of the B&W original.

Originals in Bob’s favoured weight 18g are highly sought after and change hands for over £100.

As he got older Bob required more grip on the barrel and so changed his grip style with the aid of the Unicorn boffins. The basic barrel is similar but the grip patter created a far less smooth feeling and less consistent dart (Phase 3).

Although relatively popular, Phase 3 is a different dart. It turned out that there was a loyal demand for the original models.

The B&W model has become more & more sought after and even more so with the original case and or accessories. Often similar darts are presented on eBay, or in collectors groups online, as being original B&W Bob Anderson darts. Very few actually are and it pays to have a close look and ask for proof of the length, width. If possible some provenance to back up the dimensions would be ideal.

A ‘tribute’ replica was recently available online.

At least one niche manufacturer is now making a high-quality, hand made replica of this dart. At around the £60 mark, they are a, less costly, nice ‘tribute’ to this classic set. They may not be the last model to be replicated in this way.

Many sports or leisure activities revert back to their classic vintages at times. Perhaps these ‘Hidden Gems’ will see the spotlight again.

If you have a classic set or an unusual collector’s item with a back story, drop us a line here: articles@dartsworld.com

A picture/image or two or to illustrate why your fond of them might be useful.