By Fred Bass
The Estate Meerschaum marketplace offers opportunity for both the budget minded and the collector of fine antiques. It also is rife with deception and prices that have little to do with product quality and value.
I buy Pipes to smoke, so antiques that are for display do not interest me. Knowledge in this market is limited among many Buyers and often as not, the Sellers. Lately, the marketplace has shown the value that Buyers place on estate Pipes that have coloration. The Estate marketplace has shown the value that many place on Pipes that have been colored by means of smoking. Some of these Pipes have been either the product of smoke jar coloring or baking, where the Pipe has been heated in an oven, either in the presence of tobacco or liquid suspension. My guess is that they have been packed in moist tobacco or tobacco juices in liquid suspension, and then heated in an oven. The appearance results are different than what happens when the Pipe is smoked and waxed over time.

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The Meerschaum Pipe Experience
    August 25th, 2010

By Fred Bass

Meerschaum provides a cool and dry smoking experience because of the properties of Sepiolite, known as Meerschaum (sea froth), a non-swelling, lightweight, porous clay. Unlike other clays, the individual particles of Sepiolite have a needle-like morphology.  It doesn’t burn, so if the pipe is clean it provides a clarity of the smoking experience not found with other materials. It has become my first choice, save for occasional smokes in Morta or a Cob. The first Meerschaum I bought was back in ‘69, for the princely sum of $12. I still have it and smoke it. As time went by, I became able to add Meerschaums to my collection, according to the limitations of my budget. Over the years, things have gotten out of control, as I have such poor discipline in these matters and even now, I continue to acquire more of these pipes. It’s a fine madness. By writing this article, it is my hope that some will discover and revel in the passion for these pipes that have become so special to me over the years.

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