It seems like my posts here are always either “help me with my new hobby!” or “help me buy my boyfriend a manly present!” But there you go. I got him an awesome, beautiful humidor for Christmas, but damn if it isn’t almost his birthday. Not just his birthday, but his real birthday - he’s a Leap Day baby and he’ll be, what, six this year? So I want to get him a cooler present than normal. I’ll probably get him a couple things.
I was wondering if an antique pipe would be a cool present. (He absolutely loves the clay pipe bowl from “random shipwreck” I got him on vacation last year, and you can’t even smoke it!) He likes all kinds of pipes, both to enjoy as art and objects and to smoke. I brought him a beautiful meerschaum from Turkey that he adores and says smokes wonderfully, so I have successfully bought him nice pipes before - I just want to up the ante, so to speak.
In other words, is there a trade in antique pipes for smoking, not just collecting? If so, who are some good online dealers? What should I look for? Is there a time before which they get prohibitively expensive? (Could I buy pretty easily, say, a pipe from the first half of the 20th century that he could enjoy smoking?) Are there pipes in styles no longer made now, or using materials no longer available, that he would like? (No tiger-testicle-trimmed-with-ivory sort of thing, of course.) I don’t know much at all about pipes, but I was idly thinking about the Sherlock Holmes style calabash sort of thing (he also adores Sherlock Holmes, FYI.) Any thoughts? Suggestions? I have a little more than a month to consider the perfect gift/gifts.
Just want to put in a word for new pipes–there are many kinds available, in all kinds of prices, and I (a pipe smoker) am one of those types who would prefer to break in a pipe my way, not the way a pipe’s previous owner has done it.
I’ve seen antique pipes for sale in various places (all the way from fancy antique stores to garage sales), and I’ve never been very impressed. In many cases, they haven’t been well-cared for–they need a good cleaning, or in some cases, an overhaul/restoration by an expert. True, they’re usually not terribly expensive, which can be a point in their favour, but smoking them would seem to me to be an unsatisfying experience.
In addition, I don’t think the average pipe’s value is determined by its age. Perhaps to its owner, yes; but to anybody else, it’s just a used pipe. Unless it is unique somehow (“the only tiger-shaped pipe that the master pipemaker Brandt carved”), or is affiliated in some way with a famous person or event (“Raymond Chandler smoked this pipe”), it’s just a used pipe.
Still, to each their own, and if your boyfriend would like an antique pipe as an objet d’art, well, get him an antique. But if he’s likely to smoke it, I’d suggest a new one.
Maybe you should carve a meerschaum for him…I know you’re into handwork,and it carves easier than wood.Kits used to be available (been a long time) that had a block of sea foam with hole bored and bit fitted.When done it’s cured in the oven and brushed with beeswax whilst warm.
That’s a really awesome idea, but I’m not good at that kind of handiwork. Textile arts? Awesome. Cooking and canning? I knock that shit up. Carving stuff? Hey look, a monster! <switches carved block with something some expert Turk did>
Is there a reliable Pipe Superstore website? I see there’s a ton of carved meerschaum websites, but what about a wider variety of types?
Rather than looking for “antique pipes” you should try searching on “estate pipes”. That may help your search efforts a bit. I would look for a briar, and do a little searching to find what the better brands are. Dunhill is considered the Cadillac.
That being said, I’d go for a new pipe. He’ll have fun breaking it in, and the majority of pipe smokers who buy estate pipes do so because they like to collect them. Aesthetically, new pipes are just as nice, and some of the newer designs are almost stunning.
I would disagree with both statements. Which one smokes better is a matter of opinion, and depends on each individual pipe. How long a pipe will last is almost never of concern to a pipe smoker, as a properly maintained pipe will last longer than the person smoking it. If anything, a meer won’t last as long due to its fragile nature. Plus, it really isn’t good to smoke a meer outdoors.
Well, I found something I know he’s going to love. I did want to go the antique route because he, like me, just loves touching old stuff, you know? So I found some unsmoked lovely pipes from the 30’s, and he’s going to love this part, they’re unsmoked, at least according to the seller, because they hid them under the factory floor when the Nazis came. Paid way too much for it, but I know he’s going to love the story, true or not. Also, I think it’s pretty. And I can send it back no questions asked within three days if I hate it.
Still have to find something else to get him, though. This is a really special birthday. (Not to mention, damned Valentine’s Day.)