By Al Jones
Last year, thru his “Peterson Pipe Notes” blog, Author Mark Irwin introduced me to the Peterson 9BC shape, which has become one of my favorite brand shapes. Since then, I have acquired two pre-Republic 9BC’s for my collection (a Kapruff & Premiere Selection). I’ve always appreciated the XL90 shape, but I didn’t realize the connection to the 9BC. Mark listed this one on eBay and described the shape as a predecessor to the 9BC. This unsmoked, Supreme grade pipe will be featured in his upcoming Peterson book as an example of that shape. I typically see the XL90S, with a saddle stem. My preference is a tapered stem and being as this one was a Supreme grade, made it even more desirable.
Here is the pipe pictured above my 9BC Premiere Selection. The shape is nearly identical with the modern Supreme having a slightly “wasp-waisted” stem at the bend. At 70 grams, it weighs 4 grams more than the Premiere Selection.
I didn’t find much information on the Supreme grade and I was only aware that it was a high grade Peterson. Many also come with gold bands, but I find those pipes a trifle too much. This pipe has a hallmarked silver band and a silver P stem emblem. The pipe has some very nice grain and of course is without fills or flaws. Mark has told that more information about the history of the Supreme line will be in his upcoming Peterson book. He did share with me that the grade was introduced in the early 1950’s then disappears from catalogs until the 1970’s. Only a small percentage of Peterson pipes are good enough to be graded “Supreme”. You’ll have to read the book to find out more. I’m thrilled to have my first Supreme pass thru Marks hands. The pipe was in the condition shown below and all that I did was buff the stem with some automotive plastic polish (Meguiars) which I feel adds a deeper shine and helps ward off oxidation
Upon delivery, my wife wrapped the pipe which was destined to be my Christmas gift. I was able to take a little time from our busy Christmas day to enjoy a bowl of My Mixture 965 in the pipe. Thanks Mark for such a wonderful addition to my collection!