By Al Jones
I’m always on the lookout for unique GBD brand pipes and silver hallmarked pipes of that brand are not often seen. This one was offered on Ebay and I was able to strike a deal with the seller. The sellers pictures were promising and the pipe appeared to be in very good condition. In communication with the seller, I learned that the pipe was found at a large flea market in Brimfield, Massachusetts. He found it sitting in a large pipe of pipes.
The sterling band had the “B” hallmark stamp which denotes 1937. So, this pipe was made the same year as Amelia Earhart died and the Hindenberg exploded. It’s former owner perhaps smoked it while listening to the radio announce the advent and end of World War II. I’m always intrigued by what a pipe may have encountered and I wish this one could tell me of its journey.
When I opened the box, I could see that the pipe was indeed in great condition. It had a little oxidation on the stem and some cake in the bowl. The stem fitment, button and briar were all better than it appeared from the photos.
I’ve restored a number of old pipes, but I have to admit that I was nervous working on this one. The bowl only had a very light cake, so I just wrapped a piece of 320 grit paper around the suitable insert for my Castleford reamer. The bowl was then soaked with alcohol and sea salt. Following the soak, I cleaned the shank with some bristle brushes dipped in alcohol. The shank was very dirty and it took a while until the brushes were clean. I buffed the briar lightly with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax. The brand logo section on the briar was worn, but legible, so I was careful not to touch that area. I hand waxed the nomenclature areas with Halycon wax.
I removed the light oxidation around the button with 800 grit paper, followed by 1500 and 2000 grades. I then used 8000 and 1200 grade micromesh paper. The stem was mounted to the pipe and buffed lightly with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic polish. The vulcanite was raised around the GBD rondell. It may have been re-glued to the stem at some point. The brass rondell was worn, so I decided to let well enough alone. The rondell is smaller in size than those on any of my other GBD’s. I used a silver polishing cloth on the sterling band. The hallmark stamps are in good shape I did not want to diminish them.
Below is the finished pipe, one that I was very pleased to add to my GBD collection.