By Al Jones
When my son-in-law was visiting during the 2014 holidays, we made a trip to my favorite East Coast pipe shop, JB Hayes, located in Winchester, Virginia. Matt Hayes, the proprietor, always has some interesting estate pipes, both finished and those in need of restoration. The unfinished pipes are kept in large wooden drawers that encircle the shop and it is easy to lose an hour searching thru the drawers for a hidden treasure. My son-in-law found this pipe and asked about it. I told him about the Comoy’s Christmas pipe line. He remarked that 1992 was also his birth year. Later, he also uncovered the wooden base with matching brass plaque. Matt wasn’t working on that day, so I stashed the pipe and base in a bottom drawer, returning later that week to make the purchase (without telling my son-in-law).
Below is an excerpt from an article by Richard Carleton Hacker on Christmas pipes. You can find the full article in the link below.
Comoy’s has the distinction of being the first major brand to create a Christmas pipe expressly for the American market, with its initial issue in 1970. Like all Subsequent pipes in this longest-running series, it was stamped CHRISTMAS on the near side of the shank, along with the year of issue. None of the pipes have been serial numbered. Only 1,200 of the 1976 Comoy’s Christmas pipes were made, and subsequent years’ models were turned out in quantities of 1,800. Although a number of collectors own the complete 21-pipe set, most of the earliest models, especially the 1976 briar, are very difficult to locate, despite their comparafive1v large numbers. Rarest of all Comoy’s Christmas offerings is a factory-cased set, created in 1981, which contained one each of the six Christmas pipes in existence at that time, ranging from 1976 through 1981. Comoy’s produced only 150 of these sets, and with all six pipes in unsmoked condition, commands a much higher price than if the pipes were purchased individually. In recent years, Comoy’s has included a routed-out wooden stand with their Christmas pipes, which enables them to be displayed when they are, not being smoked.
Something that I’ve observed in watching Comoy’s Christmas pipes on eBay or elsewhere is that no matter their year, none have the 3-piece “C” stem logo prized by collectors of Comoys pipes. Early pipes have a stamped, white “C” while later pipes have a one-piece drilled “C” that inserted into the stem. This 1992 pipe has the one-piece logo, which I find more appealing. This one has some nice grain as well.
Here is the pipe as found.
The bowl only had a slight cake, which was reamed and then cleaned with a soak using alcohol and sea salt. I used some 8000 and 12000 grit micromesh on the scorch mark on the bowl top, which came out nicely. The briar was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.
The oxidation on the stem was removed with 800, 1500 and 2000 grade wet sandpaper, followed by 8000 and 12000 grade micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
The base was shined with furniture polish. Unfortunately, I won’t see my son-in-law at Christmas this year, he will be missed. But the pipe has been packed and sent down to New Orleans for him to open on Christmas Day. Hopefully, soon, we’ll enjoy a pipe together.