Tag Archives: Pipe Hunting

A long awaited pipe hunt in Salt Lake City & Surrounding Communities


Blog by Steve Laug

In May, in talking with my wife, Irene it was decided that I would travel to Idaho Falls from Vancouver Canada for my Father’s 91st Birthday at the end of June. I began to search for flights that were both affordable and would not require a lot of transfers to other airports and planes to get to Idaho. The prices were crazy and all included significant layovers on the way there and back. I talked with Irene and pretty much decided this trip was not going to happen this year. I was a bit sad as every visit could well be the last one with age and distance. I went to bed and woke up with a plan. I decided to check on the cost of a flight to Salt Lake City, Utah (about a 3 hour drive from Idaho Falls). The price was literally a third of the cost of everything else I had checked. I called my brother Jeff to see if he would be willing to drive there and pick me up. As we talked we decided to take some time include a pipe hunt! I booked the earliest flight I could which gave me a whole day in Salt Lake and another day to drive through the neighbouring communities back to Idaho Falls – all the while stopping by antique shops and malls scavenging for pipes. We hung up and I booked the ticket. It was set for June 28th which was perfect all the way around. The wait for the date to arrive seemed to take forever.

The morning of the flight arrived and I was on the way! The flight was a short 1 hour and 40 minutes and I was on the ground. Jeff picked me up and he had a plan of attack for the pipe hunt. We decided to visit Jeanie’s Smoke Shop first as it was close to the airport. From there were would visit the antique shops in Salt Lake City and Ogden that day. The following day we would visit Brigham City and Logan. We also would visit small communities between the major stops noted above. We were off on the hunt. I have written about Jeanie’s in a previous blog (include the link here). So I will focus only on the antique shops. We found the Salt Lake shops empty of any pipes that caught our interest and manned by sales staff that had no desire to help us out in our hunt. In fact they were almost offended that we would expect them to have such “filthy” items as estate tobacco pipes. It was like they were saying, “You are in Utah after all and we don’t do such things.” What is funny is that in all the shops we visited we came away from SLC with just one pipe – little Dublin with a red, white and blue band and stamped St Claude, France. We laughed and continued our hunt.

We finished the last of the shops and malls in Salt Lake and headed to Ogden. There was a great shop there that Jeff had previously found some great pipes at. So we set off to see if there were more. The shop was called “The Estate Sale Antiques” and it advertises itself as Ogden’s best antique mall. The Estate Sale Antique Mall was nearly 6,000 square feet in size filled with some of the finest and most unusual antique and collectible items anywhere. The owners Lance and Becky are both life long collectors with a wide variety of knowledge including advertising items, coins, bottles, country store antiques, toys, western memorabilia and jewelry.Lance greeted Jeff like a long lost friend and we were made to feel very welcome in the store. In Googling the shop here is what I found and I have to concur with the description: “Estate Sale Antiques brings together a fantastic group of antique vendors under one roof in the heart of Ogden. With convenient accessibility and plenty of parking, The Estate Sale is a must-see stop on any antique shopping quest in Ogden or even from Salt Lake City!”  The next photos are from theire website and give a pretty good idea of the size and diverse contents of the shop. It was a great place to visit and contained two floors of treasures. Jeff lead me to a corner near the cash register and not far from the front door where he knew there were pipes (It is shown in the second photo above). In fact not only were there ones that he had looked over previously but there were also new pipes as well. We found 8 pipes that we wanted including some real beauties and some old timers. We also found a walnut pipe rest made specifically for holding a gourd calabash pipe and a PipNet pipe reaming set.

We settled out bill and went for a visit to the town of Layton where we found one more pipe. It was an interesting Italian made pipe with a rusticated finish that had been sandblasted over the rustication. It had an oval shank and an unusual shape. The shop was managed by a group of very friendly seniors (meaning a bit older than my 65 years). We enjoyed the stop even if all we took away was one pipe. There were lots of others there but nothing that caught our collective eyes and called out for restoration. We called it a day and headed back to Salt Lake City for dinner at the Red Iguana – a restaurant that is famous for its Mole dishes.We had a great meal and waddled to our hotel. I spread out the haul on the desk top and took some photos. It was a good day pipe hunting. I included the day’s haul along with the tins of tobacco I had picked up at Jeanie’s Smoke Shop for the photo. These included a tin of Dunhill Flake, Capstan Blue, Dunhill Durbar and a tin of Royal Vintage Latakia No. 1 made by Mclellands. The pipes included from left to right – a Rossi Rubino, Schoenleber billiard, Irwin by GBD Canadian, a no name Meerschaum Apple, 2 Duncan Aerosphere Billiards with pearlized stems, a Kaywoodie Relief Grain 18S, an Ansells of Washington DC Prince, a St Claude Americana Dublin, and an Italian Made unique.Not a bad haul for the day.The next morning we got up early and after a good breakfast at the hotel continued the pipe hunt. We drove to Brigham City and went to several shops. There was an interesting mall in an old Residential School that was well laid out. Despite the horrendous history of the treatment of aboriginal peoples the place had been cleaned up and redeemed. There were aboriginals working in the shop and it seemed to be a great place to work. We found one pipe in the cabinet toward the front of the shop. The first photo shows the layout of the shop. Jeff found the meerschaum in the display case in the centre of the photo. The second photo shows the pipe that Jeff picked up – a nicely carved lion’s head meerschaum that was in the original box and in pretty decent condition. We left the shop with pipe, put it in our bag of finds and headed to our next stop in Logan, Utah. Logan is a nice looking town with wide boulevards and several antique shops. Other than finding an old Medico Brylon pipe we almost came away empty handed. However we went into a large Antique Mall on the main street and talked with the seated clerk. He did not seem interested in helping much until we got talking about pipes and I gave him a source for tobacco. He said they did no have any pipes in the shop and then I happened to see a pipe case over his shoulder. I asked about it and he said he thought it was empty. I reached for it and low and behold it was not empty after all. Inside was strange looking pipe like nothing I had ever seen before. The inside of the cover had a sticker that read Oriental Frischen Socket Pipe. I turned it over in my hands and found that the pipe had a screw in meerschaum bowl that was threaded into the base. The base appeared to be made of Bakelite and the stem seemed to be cast into the shank of the pipe. We made and offer and added one last pipe to our collection.We went back to the car and headed to a final shop that had no pipes. We were a bit hungry so we decided to visit a cheese factory nearby. We bought some cheese curds to snack on and something to drink. The pipe hunt came to an end and we headed for Idaho Falls. It was a great time pipe hunting with my brother. It has been a long time since I took a trip for the sole purpose of stopping at every antique shop on the journey and sleuthing through their stock for the hidden or not so hidden pipe treasure. I thank my brother for taking time out of his “busy” retirement to come and pick me up and take me to some of his favourite hunting spots. We had a ball. Thanks for giving this a read.

 

 

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Determining the Cost of Rescue Pipes


Blog by Joe Gibson (PappyJoe)

I have followed PappyJoe on Twitter ever since our paths crossed on the Country Squire Radio show. We have fired tweets back and forth and not long ago he sent an invite to his blog PappyJoe’s World – Pipe Smoking and other thoughts. Since then I have frequented the blog and read quite a number of his posts. During my lunch hour at work today I decided to visit again. I read three really interesting posts that I thought would be great to share on rebornpipes. I wrote PappyJoe and asked permission to post these blogs here. This is the first of them. Well worth the time to read. Thanks PappyJoe and welcome to rebornpipes. Without further words from me here is the second of his blogs (https://pappyjoesblog.com/determining-the-cost-of-rescue-pipes/).

Two pipes I rescued from an antique/collectible shop. The Kaywoodie Stembiter was first on the market in the 1950s.

Here’s the question. When shopping at antique/collectible/flea market/junk shops, how much is too much to pay for a pipe?  Of course, the final answer is, “It depends on how much the buyer is willing to spend.”  But other than that, how do you determine if the pipe you’re looking at is a good value?

I look at different factors when I find a pipe in one of these shops. First, if it says “Made in China” I don’t buy it. Period. Second is the brand name because there are some pipes I don’t personally collect – Dr. Grabow, Medico, Yello Bole and most Kaywoodie. (In an effort to be honest, I do have four Kaywoodies, 1 Yello Bole Spartan (It was my grandfathers.) and a Linkman Hollycourt Special made before the name changed to Dr. Grabow.) Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with these pipes and many pipe smokers collect them. With some exceptions, I don’t.

I also don’t normally collect pipes to sit on display. I own five pipe designated as display pipes. Two are Meerschaums which displayed cracks after the bowl got hot. One is a gourd Calabash with a cracked Meerschaum bowl. The last display Meerschaum I bought specifically because of the intricate carving and the size. Two Bavarian Hunter style briar pipes round out my “display only” pipes. Eventually I may clean and smoke them as well.

A Bavarian style pipe

For the most part, I look for pipes European made pipes like Savinelli, Jobey, Chacom, Peterson, etc. My personal holy grail would be to find a Dunhill that I could afford to buy and restore. While I have had luck finding a few Savinelli’s and other Italian made pipes, the rest have eluded my efforts. So far.

The next thing I look for is the condition of the pipe bowl and stem. I only buy pipes that are in such a condition that I can either clean and restore it myself or it would be worth the cost to send it to a professional. Having the work done by professional pipe restorers can range from very reasonable to the cost of a new pipe. Whether it’s worth it or not, is again, a personal choice.

Here are some things I consider when hunting for a rescue pipe as I call them.

Who Made It.

Lighthouse Pipe by Akdolu. The top of the lighthouse comes off.                                                  Total weight: 5.92 ounces (168 grams)

As I mentioned above, I don’t necessarily collect every pipe I see. I like looking for higher quality names. One exception is Kaywoodies. I learned the difference between 2, 3 and 4-digit Kaywoodies. If I find one with 2 or 4 digits, I generally will look at it more closely. If it’s a 3-digit pipe, it was made after 1972 or so and I am less interested. This generally doesn’t apply to Meerschaum because most I find are not signed.

What Condition Is It In?

Obviously, I check for cracks and burnouts. After that I look at whether the smoker took care of the pipe or abused it. The amount of cake in the bowl is one indicator I look at. For example, I passed on several pipes recently because I couldn’t fit my little finger into the bowl. The cake in each of them was thick and old. In two pipes, the cake was separating from the wall in spots. These pipes included a Dunhill, a Savinelli, a Jobey, a Butz-Choquin and a Wally Frank. They also had other condition problems.

I also look at the stem condition. If I can’t remove the stem of the pipe from the stummel I will usually pass on the pipe. The stems on three of pipes I mentioned above were stuck so bad I couldn’t remove them. I did remove the stem from the Savinelli but there was about a 1/4-inch gap between the stem and the ferrule. It just wouldn’t go in all the way.

The stems on these pipes were all heavily oxidized and severally chewed on, also. The Dunhill, for example, looked like a weathered orange ball used as a chew toy for a large dog. The deep tooth marks extended for almost an inch down the stem. Again, it was a matter of my personal choice, to not buy any of these pipes because I felt the stems were not repairable.

Does it Smell Bad?

In addition to the amount of cake in the bowl, I smell the pipe. If it smells like tobacco, I consider buying it. If it smells like mothballs, mold, ammonia or anything else, I pass. This is especially important when it comes to Meerschaum pipes. I have come to learn that if an unsmoked Meerschaum in one of these shops smells like acetone or chemicals, then it’s been broken and glued back together.

How Much Is The Cost?

Savinelli Giubileo d’Oro. I paid $3 for at an Antique Street Fair

A lot of shops I visit are not one-owner businesses but consist of numerous vendors. That makes haggling over the price of an item difficult because the person at the register must track down the vendor and discuss offers over the phone. Sometimes it’s worthwhile, other times it’s not worth the effort. Here’s where personal choice comes into play, again. I look at a pipe, estimate what it would cost to restore (time, effort & money) and add that to the asking price. Then I consider the cost of a similar pipe either new or from a reputable estate pipe vendor.

(© J. Gibson Creative, April 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

Antique? Vintage? Estate? Or, Just Junk No One Wanted?


Blog by Joe Gibson (PappyJoe)

I have followed PappyJoe on Twitter ever since our paths crossed on the Country Squire Radio show. We have fired tweets back and forth and not long ago he sent an invite to his blog PappyJoe’s World – Pipe Smoking and other thoughts  Since then I have frequented the blog and read quite a number of his posts. During my lunch hour at work today I decided to visit again. I read three really interesting posts that I thought would be great to share on rebornpipes. I wrote PappyJoe and asked permission to post these blogs here. This is the first of them. Well worth the time to read. Thanks PappyJoe and welcome to rebornpipes. Without further words from me here is his blog (https://pappyjoesblog.com/antique-vintage-estate-just-junk-no-one-wanted/).

I’m one of those pipe smokers who loves shopping for “estate” pipes. The wife and I enjoy walking around so called antique/collectible shops, malls, flea markets and street fairs. I like being able to pick up the various pipes I find and try to identify the maker and age. I have probably 25 rescued pipes I’ve bought from these shops. (I call them my rescued pipes because while they are definitely not antique, I have cleaned, sanitized and polished them into smoking condition.) But to be clear, none of these are “antiques.”

If it’s not 100 years old, it’s not an antique. And, not all of these shops are really antique shops.

Savinelli Giubileo de Oro

To be clear, I looked up the definition of antique. To be considered a true antique, the accepted rule is the item has to be at least 100 years old. Anything between 40 and 99 years old is vintage. Old items actually bought at an estate sale, are estate. Anything you find in a shop that is less than 20 years old is probably just a piece of junk someone threw out. In other words, it takes more than being old to be an antique.

Mostly these are shops which throw the name “Antique” around like a used hamburger wrapper. Some are collectible shops. Others are vintage shops. Some may even contain a few items that are bordering on being real antiques. In my opinion, real antique shops are as clean and organized as a good jewelry or furniture store. The individuals working in it are neatly and professionally dressed. And, it is one store. That is an antique store on the upper end of the scale.

You will know you are not in good antique stores when you walk in the door. If you see a sign that says, “Over 100 different vendors,” it’s not an antique store. When you walk in and smell the dust and mildew, and vendors look like they’ve been cleaning out their attic, chances are it’s a flea market.  If you walk down the aisle and each booth looks like someone just dumped out a bunch of garbage bags, it’s not an antique store.

My opinion is that these places are flea markets and the vendors spend way too much time watching American Pickers to get their prices. They all operate under the premise that if it’s old and the price it about 10 times what its worth, someone will call it an antique and buy it.

I’m not saying these places should be avoided. I’m just saying don’t go into them with the expectation that you are going to find something along the lines of a Dunhill for $20.

Finding good pipe deals…

Sure, you may find some real antiques like broken clay pipes from the civil war era, but for the most part everything found in these shops are more likely from the 1930s to 1990s.  Mostly I have found were Dr. Grabow, Medicos, Kaywoodie, Yellow Boles and unnamed briar basket pipes. But, I have also found Savinelli, WDC’s, and a variety of Italian maker pipes like Mauro Armellini. I have seen a number of “Made in London” or “Made in England” basket pipes. I even have found Edward’s Algerian Briar pipes.

Mauro Armellini Cavalier in an Elephant Pipe Holder

Some of my finds have been at really good price points. Who wouldn’t want to buy a Savinelli Guibileo de Oro for $3.00 or a Savinelli Nonpareil 9604 for $10? I also have a Mauro Armellini Cavalier I found for $25. If you do your research and learn how to identify them, you may even find more desirable Kaywoodie or Dr. Grabow.

Educating yourself is key. I have missed out on a couple of briars that I didn’t recognize the markings on. Mainly those “Made in London” or, “Made in England” pipes I mentioned earlier. They definitely weren’t Dunhill’s, but I later learned they were good, collectible pipes. They are out there; you just have to learn to recognize what you are looking at.

Let me say something about estate pipes. In my opinion, an estate pipe is one found in the collection of a pipe smoker whose last bowl has been extinguished. The family will pick over the collection and maybe choose a few as keepsakes. The majority of the remaining pipes will be sold to antique shops specializing in estate sales or to reputable pipe shops or pipe dealers. Many of these pipes will be cleaned and sanitized before they are sold.

(© J. Gibson Creative Services 2017)

 

One of those Antique Mall finds that makes you catch your breath


Blog by Steve Laug

This past weekend my wife and I took some much needed R&R and checked into a nice hotel about an hour and a half from home. We needed a break, as both of our work schedules have been heavy and my travel schedule has been quite demanding. It was great to be together and spend the weekend without a ringing phone and the ever-present work demands. We had plans for Saturday morning until about noon. However, we were absolutely free on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. We used the afternoon to visit one of our favourite spots. It has great restaurants, brewpubs and many different kinds of shops. One shop that we always check out is an antique mall. Irene always seems to find something there and so do I. She was happy to have found an older hard cover cookbook to replace one she had given away. I could not believe what I found. It was in the last row of the stalls in the mall, in almost the last booth. I looked in a cupboard thinking I might find something. There in the middle of the cupboard there was an old style tin of Capstan Medium Strength Navy Cut tobacco.

The label covered the lower part of the tin and goes about half way up the tin. The tin itself was oxidized and discoloured but did not appear to be punctured or compromised. The label on the front side of the tin reads; Medium Strength “Capstan” Navy Cut over W.D. & H.O. Wills, Bristol & London. You can see the layout of the label in the photo to the left. I could not believe what I was seeing. This looked like an old timer. I have handle a lot of old empty tobacco tins in my hunt for that full tin hidden among the tobacciana memorabilia. Many have looked like they had something in them. Some were empty or at best half full of old dried and rattling tobacco that was beyond its life. The difference was that this tin had a hand written tag from the seller that said that it was unopened. It was hard to tell through the glass of the cupboard what the seller meant by unopened. I purchased a “sealed” tin of older Balkan Sobranie that was open under the metal top cap once I opened it at home. The tobacco had dried out. Even rehydrating it did not bring the true depth of flavour of the tobaccos. So I was dubious about this “unopened tin”. I was hopeful that it was; and if so then the price of $25 was not a lot to pay for aged Virginia tobacco.

With a bit of “optimistic pessimism” I went to find the clerk to open the cupboard for me so I could check out the tin. I am one of those “got to have it in hand and check it out” kind of guys. I wanted to give it a light shake to see if it rattles. When the clerk opened the cupboard and handed me the tin I lightly shook it. Instead of a rattle, there was a thud as the contents moved from top to bottom. I looked at the sides and bottom of the tin and it appeared undamaged. I pried of the top and underneath the top of the tin was intact! I did not let the clerk see my enthusiasm at this point I just wanted to pay for the tin and take it to the car to check it out more thoroughly. I paid the $25 plus the extraneous taxes here in British Columbia and she wrapped the tin in newspaper and handed me the bag.

When I got to the car, I took it out of the wrapping and checked it out more carefully. The tin had a slight bulge on both the top and the bottom. It was sealed tight and there appeared to be no rusted areas or punctures in the tin surface. I was excited. I took photos of the top and the bottom of the tin. The photo to the left shows the top of the cap. The second photo shows the cap removed and the sealed tin. The third photo shows the bottom of the tin.

The embossed lettering on the top of the can reads, “To open the tin remove lid and press “V-Cut” until the point is directly downwards. Replace lid, press slightly and turn.” This gives simple and clear instructions on how to open the can. In essence the can has its own built-in can opener on the cap. The lettering on the underside of the can reads, “NAAFI Stores for HM Forces” in a circle around the outside with a CM in the centre.

The last tin photo below shows the back of the tin and label. The label on the back of the tin had same light and dark blue colour scheme as on the front of the tin. It reads Grand Diploma of Honour over a series of coins/medallions that span the top of the label. In a small banner centered under the medallions, it read Antwerp 1885. Under the top banner, there was a rectangular box with a star and the word Trade Mark in a square on either side of the rest of the label. In the remainder of the rectangle, it read Cut Cake Tobacco manufactured from specially selected Leaf. Being perfectly air tight and easily opened, this tin is the best package for preserving Tobacco in fine condition in all climates. At the bottom of the label it read, Capstan (Navy Cut) is supplied in the following grades and strengths: Mild – Yellow Label, Medium Strength – Blue Label, Full Strength – Chocolate Label.

I had no idea what NAAFI Stores was when I read the bottom of the tin. I understood the CM probably stood for Capstan Medium.

I also understood the HM Forces to mean Her Majesty’s Forces. This gave me a starting point to try to date the tin. I looked first on Wikipedia to learn about the NAAFI stamp. Here it the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy,_Army_and_Air_Force_Institutes#NAAFI_is_Born  In reading that I learned quite a bit. I quote that in part below.

After the First World War the Expeditionary Force Canteens (EFC) and the Navy and Army Canteen Board (NACB) did not return to the gratitude of the Nation. This was because EFC had made a large amount of profit from the sales of goods to the troops and opinion was divided as to what should be done with the money.

In March 1920 Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for War, set up a committee to advise on the kind of organisation which would be needed for the Armed Forces in the future. The findings were unanimous; there should be one organisation to serve all three Services, it should be permanent and it should be able to rapidly expand or contract at times of war or peace. The Navy, Army, Air Force Institutes was therefore established on 6 December 1920 and started trading as NAAFI in 1921

As a not for profit organisation, with no shareholders to reward, NAAFI was asked to run the catering and recreational establishments needed by the armed forces. It had to make a profit for the good of the NAAFI customers – the men and women of the British Armed Forces- and so in addition it undertook to sell goods to servicemen and their families over and above those that were initially provided by the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC). The servicemen would benefit directly by getting cash rebates and discounts on purchases and indirectly through surpluses given back as a whole from each year’s trading.

For the first time the troops overseas were able to buy the same things in the canteen abroad as they could at home. NAAFI first saw overseas service in Ireland in 1922. Six years later NAAFI would have a presence in Bermuda, Ceylon, Germany, Gibraltar, Iraq, China, Jamaica, Malta, and the Middle East.

The NAAFI’s greatest contribution was during the Second World War. The Chairman & CEO during the war years was Sir Lancelot Royle and by April 1944 the NAAFI ran 7,000 canteens and had 96,000 personnel (expanded from fewer than 600 canteens and 4,000 personnel in 1939). It also controlled ENSA, the forces entertainment organisation. In the 1940 Battle of France alone, the EFI had nearly 3,000 personnel and 230 canteens.

From this I learned that NAAFI was formed by a committee set up by Churchill post WWI. The acronym NAAFI meant Navy, Army, Air Force Institutes and was formed in December of 1920 and began trading in 1921. It operated as a catering and recreation non-profit to sell goods to servicemen and their families. It was a discount store for servicemen. Its greatest contribution was during WWII growing from a small organization to a large one by 1944. This gave me a bit of a clue regarding the age of this can. Is it possible that this tin of tobacco remained unopened that long? Could it truly be from the time period of 1921-1945 with the close of WWII? I am not sure but that would date tin to the 1940’s. Is that true? Is that the correct period for this type of tin? I don’t really know. Perhaps some of you may be able to pin down the dates on this tin.

I close with an advertisement from the time period that I found while researching dates for this tin of tobacco. I love the language and the promises that are given in advertising from this time period. Things just seemed so much simpler in many ways – notice I said simpler, not better. Thanks for reading this blog.

 

A VIRTUAL PIPE HUNT – A new way to experience the joy of a pipe hunt


Blog by Steve Laug

To me there is nothing quite like the thrill of a pipe hunt to get my blood running. The anticipation of finding something that I had not found or seen before is always a prologue to the actual hunt itself. When I walk through the door of the “hunting ground” there is a new anticipation – what lies in store for me in the aisles and booths of the shop. I have found that some shops/malls are organized and have all of the tobacciana in one spot in the shop but the majority are not that systematized. Something about walking through a large or small shop with a focused objective makes the pleasure even more intense. When I find pipes – be it just a few or a box full – I get a solid rush as I work my way through the box and see if anything special is hidden in the lot. I have found Dunhill’s hidden in cans of junk pipes so I always work through the lot individually. I have to tell you that there are very few times that I come home from a hunt empty handed.

On Friday evening my brother Jeff called me from Montana. He and his wife had driven there to visit her parents. Along the way they had of course stopped at several antique shops and looked for pipes. In one of the shops he struck “gold”, the shop had a motherlode of pipes. He had talked with the owner and she told him she bought a box of pipes. He bought a few of them from her and then went back to the hotel and gave me a call. He showed me the pipes he had picked up and they were old ones. He had some nice pipes. He then told me the story and an idea he had.

His idea was brilliant really and quite simple. We both have iPads and use FaceTime to chat back and forth about pipes that he is looking at. He thought, why not bring the iPad to the antique shop and take me on the pipe hunt with him. That way we could look through the many pipes that were available in the shop and it would be like I was present experiencing the discovery of each one. We made a plan and set the time for the hunt. I was looking forward to checking out the place.

The next day after lunch my iPad showed that Jeff was calling on Facetime. I answered and in a moment I was inside the antique shop with him. We walked over to the corner of the shop where the display case was. The owner opened the case and Jeff brought out a rack of pipes at a time. He brought them to the counter where the iPad was sitting. He took each pipe out of the rack and we looked at the stamping on the shank and the condition of the mouthpiece and bowl. We looked at the stem material and determined what it was made of. We guessed the age as best as we could, given the brand and the style of the bowl and stem. We went through over forty pipes that way and spent the better part of an hour and a half.

He captured two photos of the iniside of the shop that showed what we saw when we were on FaceTime. They show a display case and the area where the pipes were in the store from two different angles. He gathered the pipes together and took them to his hotel room. He spread out the pipes on the bed and took some photos of the lot. There really are some unique pipes in the lot. I can’t wait to get them in Vancouver and work them over. There were many CPF pipes in the bunch that are different from others I have worked. The first is a photo that gives a big picture of the pipes we picked out from the shop.He also took some close up photos of sections of the lot. Here are those photos. They give you an idea of some of the unique pieces we found at the shop.The next two photos is a close up of the pipes on the left toward the top of the first photo.The next two photos show closer looks at the pipes in the middle and on the right side of the first photo. You can see from the photos that there are some interesting pieces that we found. I could not believe that we picked up 30 pipes and one case. There were 11 unique CPF brand pipes, 1 Manhattan, 1 Twisted shank horn stem, 1 Borlum, 1 Superior, 1 Hilson, 2 WDC, 1 Kaywoodie All Briar, 1 Imperial, 2 Italian Briar, 1 Hooker, 1 Stanwell Majestic,  1 London Thorn Drucquer pipe, 2 Meerschaums, 1 carved bulldog, 1 Seville, 1 Frank Bakelite and a RBC empty pipe case. He sent me a list of the brands on the pipes. I have grouped together to give a sense of what was present in the lot.

  1. CPF military mount Oom Paul
  2. CPF The Remington, French Briar, (Miliatary mount)
  3. CPF French Briar with Hallmarked band and horn stem. Filigree carving around bowl
  4. CPF Pullman with Horn Stem
  5. CPF Siamese with twin horizontal stems
  6. CPF Cromwell with twin vertical stems
  7. CPF Briar Bowl Sitting on Petals- Horn Stem
  8. CPF French Briar Bulldog with Horn Stem
  9. CPF French Briar with tarnished metal band and a Horn Stem (looks like mini-Wellington)
  10. CPF French Briar Horn Shaped Pipe with metal band and Horn Stem
  11. CPF Colon French Briar with Black Meer Bowl and Amber stem
  12. Briar pipe with twisted shank going into a twisted horn stem
  13. Borlum Italian Briar (Unbreakable Bit)
  14. Hilson Bolero, Made in Belgium, #8
  15. Superior with filigree metal band around shank and bowl- red bakelite stem
  16. Manhattan with Horn Stem
  17. WDC Monitor
  18. WDC Campaign with Briar unscrewable bowl
  19. Kaywoodie AllBriar 50B (All-imported Briar)- chewed off wood stem
  20. Imperial De Luxe, Made in London England (Mini-churchwarden)
  21. Italian Briar bulldog with red dot on stem
  22. The Hooker- with screw cap next to bowl on top of shank- Patented May 17,1910- Horn Stem
  23. Stanwell Majestic 64, Made in Denmark
  24. London Thorn, Drucquer & Sons, Berkeley
  25. Carved bulldog with yellow Bakelite stem
  26. Seville Filter, Imported Briar Italy
  27. Heavily Rusticated Italian Briar with wrong stem
  28. No-name Meerschaum Bowl and shank without stem- with spikes on bowl and shank, brown to black
  29. Large Meerschaum Capped Pipe with horn stem and cherry wood shank
  30. Frank Bakelite (EP Silver)
  31. RBC Genuine French Briar , Red-lined small Black Case

When Jeff returned home, he removed the stickers and tags from the pipe and laid them out on his kitchen table. The photos below give another look at the pipes – sans price stickers and tags. I would say we had a good day pipe hunting. I have never seen that many CPF pipes in one spot and the number of pipes of that age is unique as well. I think we will have to do some more of these virtual pipe hunts because it transcends borders and space and gives the experience in real time. The only thing missing to me was the actual handling of the pipes in person. The experience was really good and I was able to feel like I was in the shop itself as we looked at each pipe and discussed the pros and cons before buying them. You might consider this kind of pipe hunt if you have a good friend who enjoys the hunt as much as you do and has an iPhone or iPad. If you happen to try it out or have already done so in the past post a comment below. Thanks for looking.

 

 

 

 

 Coming home to an amazing surprise


Blog by Steve Laug

I was in India and Nepal for work through most of the month of January returning to Canada on the first of February. While I was traveling, I got an email from a woman in Ontario, Canada saying that she was the daughter of a fellow pipe smoker and an Anglican minister that I had talked to over the years. I knew him as Fr. Dave (his online name). Her father and I had many conversations over the years about our common work and love of pipes. We emailed, chatted on the forums and shared phone conversations. I had repaired, refurbished and sold quite a few of his pipes over the years for the benefit of an online forum that we both frequented and where we had met. I have several pipes in my collection that were gifts from David and whenever I smoke them, I think of him and our conversation.

I knew that he had struggled for a long time with a degenerative spinal disease and other health issues. I had not talked to him for some time. The last time we spoke, he let me know that he was coming near the end of his life. We had enjoyed a good conversation, laughed and reflected on the brevity of our lives together. We said good-bye but I had no idea that it would be the last of our conversations. The email from his daughter informed me that she was cleaning up his estate and that he had specified that the last box of his pipes should go to me because I would do what was necessary for them to be usable. She wanted to know if I wanted them. She was uncertain as to what they were in terms of brand other than they were probably his personal smokers. She did not know if they were worth anything or if I would even want them.

When I received his daughter’s email, it saddened me that David was gone. I knew that his struggle had been long and painful and now that it was over. I was glad for him regarding that and because of our common hope, I looked forward to the day that we would connect once again. I wrote back to her from Kathmandu, Nepal and thanked her for her email. I passed on my condolences regarding her dad and sent my regards to her mom. I let her know that it was an honor to have the opportunity take her father’s pipes. I would gladly do whatever it took to make sure that they would continue to be used by pipe smokers.

I received another email from her while I was in Hong Kong waiting for a connector flight back to Vancouver that the package had been shipped. She said that surprisingly the box had over 60 pipes in it. From my calculations, I figured that the package and I would arrive in Vancouver at roughly the same time. She asked that I let her know once it arrived and what I thought about the contents. Now my curiosity was peeked. I could not wait until I got home. I had to wait 11 hours for the connecting flight in Hong Kong and then another 11+ hour flight to Vancouver before I would see the box. I was excited to see what she had sent me.

I am sure I am probably strange, but during that time I mulled over what I thought might be in the box she sent. I had worked on enough of David’s pipes over the years that I had some ideas. I knew that in the later years he has smoked small pipes that were lightweight and easy to clench or hold. I knew that these would probably be small. I had no idea with regard to brand or shapes might be in the assortment she had sent. I knew that whatever was there I was in for a treat when I unpacked it and reflected on David and our talks. It made my wait and the trip go by much quicker.

I took a cab from the airport home and my daughter met me at the door. The rest of the family was at work for a few more hours. The first thing she said after our greetings was that I had a package on the dining room table. I put my bags aside and went to look at the box. It was from David’s daughter. It was far bigger than I expected from our emails. It was a computer paper box about 10×12 inches wide and long and 12 inches tall. I carried it into the living room and opened it with a knife. When I took the lid off the box I was really surprised. She had packed the box full with pipes. Each pipe was individually wrapped with paper towels so I had no idea what was hidden inside them. There were also two books and a plastic box in the top of the package. I took these out first. They are shown in the photo below.remembranceThe books were the Perfect Smoke by Fred Hanna and Pimo’s Guide to Pipe Crafting at home. There were three pipe rests – two made of pieces of leather and one a wrapped iron contraption. I opened the plastic box and inside were a few surprises. There were pipe stems and parts for a Lepeltier ceramic pipe. There were envelopes of powdered alcohol based stains. There were two pipe reamers – a Castleford and a Senior Reamer. There was a needle file and a dowel with sandpaper. The last item was a tube of pipe stem polish from Savinelli. There were also four pipe bowls and some stems. They were apart so I had no idea if they went together. I sorted through the stems and found that all had stems. This must have been David’s workbox because all of them had been reamed and cleaned. All of them were small Peterson’s pipes.

Now I was curious as to what the rest of the box held. I carefully unwrapped each paper towel covered package and made a pile of the pipes. I counted the pipes as I unwrapped them and put them in the pile. I was like a kid opening his Christmas presents. Each new package revealed another beauty and my daughter laughed as she heard my ooohs and ahhhs. The pipes were all quite diminutive. Many were brands I had heard of but even among those were lines I had not heard of and shapes that I had not seen before. Some brands were new to me while others I had heard of but had not seen before. The pile of paper towels and the pile of pipe both grew as I unwrapped each pipe. When I was finished, there were seventy-three pipes in the pile.

I sorted the pipes into piles for each of the brands that were present. The first pile included forty-three Peterson’s pipes and pipe socks. The photo below shows the assortment of shapes – princes, billiards, apples, pots, bulldogs, Canadians, Lovats, Zulus and system pipes. There was a Pete Meerschaum, a barrel and a tankard. All were in decent shape and would be easy cleanups. I was surprised at this lot.

Here is a cursory list of the stampings: Shamrock, Kapruf, Aran, Kilarney, Sterling Silver, Kapet, Kildare, Wicklow, Flame Grain, Galway, System, Donegal Rocky, Emerald, Barrel, Premier, Tankard, Special, Sports, Dublin 2, Dublin 3 and Meerschaum.remembrance1There were five Brigham pipes of different shapes and bearing different numbers of dots. There was a 2 Dot Lovat, a 1 Dot Prince, a ¼ bent 1 Dot Dublin, a straight 2 Dot Bulldog and a Sportsman 5 Dot bent Dublin. I have worked on a lot of Brigham pipes over the years but I do not know enough about them to be able to identify the era of the pipes but Charles Lemon of Dad’s Pipes is my go to guy for that kind of information. I will be contacting him with the stamping on each one and try to gather more information on them.remembrance2There was a Trypis semi rusticated bent billiard with original box and pamphlet. That would be a fun historical piece to clean up and restore.remembrance3There was an old clay pipe that was darkened and worn looking. I can see markings on the shank and the bowl that were cast into the clay. The pipe should clean up nicely and give me a chance to play around with a method of cleaning old clays that I have read about and wanted to try out.remembrance5The next photo shows the remainder of the pipes. They were a mix of brands and shape – from basket pipes to English Made to hand made Danish. Before I list them for you see how many you can identify from the photo. There are some nice old pipes in the lot that should clean up nicely.remembrance4How did you do in your identification? I will give you the brand names in no particular order and see if you can match them to the photo and also see how you did.  Here is the list: Missouri Meerchaum Spool, London Made Lovat, Royal Prince British Made Billiard, Chateau Bruyere Sandblast Prince, Radiator Apple, Royal Captain Apple, Corvette Bent Dublin, Goldstar Holiday Rustic, Kiko Pigskin Safari 343, Irish Second Bent Dublin, SC Special 18 Filter Billiard, WO Larsen Handmade Super Tan 65 Brandy, Mackenzie LeBaron Bent Dublin, Bent Billiard no name Meerschaum, Premier Deluxe Bent Billiard, Dr. Grabow Omega, Kiko Meerschaum Prince, Elsinor ¼ bent Dublin, No name Sandblast Volcano sitter, Coronation Meerschaum lined Bulldog, Croydon Bent Billiard, Ropp Supreme Cherrywood, Ross Arundel England 37 Lovat.

This is one of those occasions where I was able to remember a lot of my conversations and correspondence with David. It brought a mixture of gratitude for his kindness in thinking of me with these pipes and of sadness that our conversations would be no more. In the months ahead as I clean up the pipes and post them on the blog I will try to include some of those memories in the write ups.

Rest in Peace David, I suppose I can say that I will see you one day in the not too distant future as the years roll by for me. I lift a bowl of nice Virginia tobacco in your memory in a pipe you gave me and pause to think of you and give thanks. Thank you also to your daughter for following up on your wishes.

Sometimes you just get lucky – an amazing pipe hunt


Blog by Steve Laug

Saturday evening, I had a call from my brother Jeff. He had driven to Boise the night before to go to an estate sale and visit a few antique shops afterwards. Now you need to understand that my brother has been bitten by the bug. He loves looking for old pipes even more than I do and that is saying something. He is not able to drive by an antique shop without checking it out. Each holiday he takes always has time for a few pipe hunts as a part of the journey. But this time even for him this pipe hunt was extraordinary. The crazy part of the trip was a find in a thrift shop.

The first photo below shows the bounty of the trip in one photo. The later pictures show various views of the lot. Across the back of the three columns of pipes were two pipe racks and humidor jars that he found – the first on the left is a nine pipe rack and jar and the other a six pipe rack. Both are in excellent condition. A great ship model forms the backdrop to these amazing finds.hunt1What about the pipes? Why do I call it a really good day hunting? Well, have a look at the list of pipes that he came home with – and for me a few of these were quite a surprise. Using the photo above as a template for the pipes found, I will list the pipes starting with the left column from top to bottom and working my way across and down each column. I think you will agree about the calibre of the hunting day he had. The only thing that bugs me is that I was not present when he found these beauties. Here is the list:

Column 1:

  • A new unsmoked WDC Wellington bent that is just gorgeous
  • A 1985 Dunhill 5113 Bent Apple Shell
  • A Sasieni Canadian London Made – a long rusticated pipe that is in excellent condition
  • A shallow sandblast that is stamped Wellpipe.

Column 2:

  • A beautiful Castello 54P Sea Rock Bulldog
  • A Peterson’s Emerald 80S Bulldog
  • A rusticated Italian pipe
  • A rusticated Calabresi
  • An older pipe with Black & Silver band, Yellow Curved Stem.
  • In between the second and third column there is a small pipe with a gold band – just 3 inches long.

Column 3:

  • An SMS Handcarved Block Meerschaum Church Warden
  • A Perkins LTD Rhodesian looking a lot like a GBD 9438
  • A KBB Yello-Bole Premier with a black propeller style logo on a yellow stem
  • A red Calabresi apple
  • A Savinelli Made Roma.

Not shown in the photos:

  • A Bryson Metal Pipe
  • An Ansell’s WASH. D.C.
  • A Garden pipe Italian Made
  • An L.L. Bean billiard
  • A red Italian Made Rusticated pipe.

The next photo is basically the same as the one above just a bit closer look at the lot. The list is the same as the photo above. You can see the pipes a little more clearly. Each photo that follows gives you a closer and closer look at the pipes.hunt2The first photo below focuses on the first and second column in the above pictures. You can see the condition of the pipes in those columns. There are some classic finishes that are dead giveaways for the brand of the pipe in my opinion. The first one is obviously a Wellington no doubt about it the Dunhill is a classic Shell Briar and the third pipe has a typical Sasieni finish on it. In the second column you can see the classic Castello Shape of the bulldog and the Peterson’s directly below it.hunt4

The next photo shows the second and third columns of pipes. The SMS Meerschaum at the top of the third column is a classic looking Churchwarden. The pipe just below that has the appearance of GBD 9438 but is stamped Perkins. I am pretty sure that GBD made the pipe for the pipe shop. The third one, a Yello-Bole is classic looking and has the propeller logo on the stem making it an old one. The others have the look of Italian Basket pipes.hunt3The next photos highlight some of the premium finds of the day. The first one shows the SMS cased block meerschaum church warden and the Perkins LTD Rhodesian – a GBD look alike.hunt5The next shows photo shows the unsmoked WDC Wellington, the Dunhill 5113, the Sasieni Canadian London Made and the Wellpipe. The Castello and the Peterson Dogs are peeking out on the right side of the photo.hunt6The next photo shows the beautiful Castello 54P Bulldog sitting on its pipe sock and the Peterson’s Emerald 80S Bulldog.hunt7The final photo gives a classic view of the of the Castello bulldog with it “diamond” stem logo.hunt8Trips like this always leave me excited but wanting to go again and find some more pipes. They keep me looking for that illusive pipe that is sitting there, dusty and unnoticed on some thrift shop shelf or in a display case behind odds and ends or in a thrift shop with some unbelievably low sale price. Or even at some estate sale where the treasures of someone’s life are being sold off to curious seekers. Wherever they may show up I want to be there and find them and feel the thrill of the hunt and capture of the prize.

In this case I was not present – only vicariously through my brother’s tale. I could see each pipe as he described finding it and then showed me the pipe. He parceled them out to keep me guessing what he had in hand. That was good, but to me one of the more amazing parts of the trip came about through a series of fortuitous events and being in the right place at the right time. In the last antique shop he stopped in on the way home in Pocatello, Idaho he asked the shop person if there were any pipes in the shop. The shop had a few and he bought the LL Bean, the Garden Italy, and an Italian billiard. A fellow who had a booth in the shop overheard the conversation and said that he had some pipes at home that might interest my brother. He went and got a box with some pipes in it and Jeff bought the Peterson Emerald 80S Bulldog from him. After that interchange a young guy said he could not help overhearing the conversation and said that he had seen some pipes at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop not far away. He gave my brother directions and Jeff went to check it out. At the thrift shop he found that great model sailing ship and four pipes – the Dunhill, the Sasieni, the Perkins LTD, and the Bryson.

Let me summarize his finds once again and tell you where he found them. From the estate sale he picked up the two pipe racks and 7 pipes at the estate sale – the SMS Meerschaum churchwarden, the Castello 54P, the Garden made in Italy, the Savinelli Roma, 2 Calabresi pipes from Italy and a reddish pipe marked Italy with a worm trail rustication.

From antique shops in Boise he picked up 5 pipes – an older KBB Yello-Bole Premier, a Wellpipe, a small pipe with gold band ~3 inches long, an older bent pipe with black & silver band and a yellow stem and an unsmoked WDC Wellington.

And from the stop in Pocatello he picked up 8 pipes – the LL Bean, the Garden Italian, a no name Italian billiard, a Peterson’s Emerald 80S bulldog, the Dunhill, the Sasieni, the Perkins LTD, and the Bryson.

Not a bad day hunting in my opinion – 20 pipes, two pipe racks and humidors in good condition and a model sailing ship. It is days like this one that keep me looking where ever I travel. Cheers and good hunting to all who read this.