I’ve had a great year for acquiring GBD pipes. I started the year in January by finding a 9242 Sandblast at the NYC Pipe Show. And later, another 9242 New Standard. I can’t think of a better way to cap off 2017 than with this hallmarked R9239.
This shape is a bit of a GBD mystery. In the past six years, I’ve seen three of these come up on Ebay (one was unsmoked!). All of them have the R9239 designation, with a London hallmarked band that dates to 1937 (B date code). I have two other hallmarked 1930’s era GBD’s and each has the R code in front of the four digit shape number. The 9239 is referenced no where else in any GBD catalogs or literature that I’ve encountered. I speculate that the R must have signified a silver hallmarked band, but unfortunately that detail is lost to time.
Winning this auction was a battle with 12 other bidders and I eked out a victory by a few dollars. I studied the sellers photos carefully before bidding and I had plenty of apprehension until it was delivered. As you can see below, the photos were either altered digitally or the flash made some odd patterns on the briar. The rest of the pipe looked solid enough to allow me to bid. On delivery, all of my fears disappeared. The briar and vulcanite were in terrific condition. The stem fitment was snug with zero bite marks on the oxidized stem. The odd shadow was just that, a flash mark or other.
Below are my photos of the pipe as it was received. The stem was mildly oxidized and there were several handling marks on the bowl. The bead lines were mint and the bowl and shank interior showed little use.
I reamed the very slight cake from the bowl and soaked it with alcohol and sea salt. After the soak, I used a silver polish to remove the tarnish on the silver band, which was a bit stubborn. I mounted the stem with a plastic collar and removed the first layer with 400 grit, then 800 grit wet paper. This was followed by 1,500 and 2,000 grade paper, then 8,000 and 12,000 micromesh sheets. The stem was then buffed with White Diamond and Meguiars Plastic Polish.
I was able to remove several of the handling marks on the bowl with an electric iron and a wet cloth. The bowl was then buffed with White Diamond and several coats of Carnuba wax.
Below is the finished pipe.