A possible EBay learning opportunity

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pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
2
I own a small collections of briar that I love. I go through estate offerings mainly to educate myself so when the pipe I actually want comes available I'll be ready, knowledge intact. While looking through Ebay Dunhill auctions, I came across what I believe to be a great learning opportunity.
On the docket was a Shell Billiard dated to what should be 1975. In the description the following statement was made "14K GOLD BAND WITH ROUND SHANK (SHOWS NO SIGN OF BEING A REPAIR BAND)" The following photo showcases this gold band. What the description does not say is that where the shank meets the band is what is left of the size rating and that the pipe has been shortened by half an inch or so.

On these shells you will find the number indicating the size rating. It is supposed to be encircled and followed by the letter "S" for "Shell". You can see in the above photo where that circle has been sawed through leaving what looks like a parenthesis. I have shared a photo via the Pipephil.eu webpage showing the way the markings should look. Whether or not the seller knew of this modification is of course unknown. What I'd really like to know is whether the buyer knew.


If I have misinterpreted these photos PLEASE let me know. I have been given the great opportunity to discuss pipes with some of the well trained eyes here on the forum and I am always looking for more information. The "buyer beware" mentality on the Bay is appropriate but with that said we can help each other understand better what we are looking at hopefully resulting in better buying.

 

kcvet67

Preferred Member
Jul 6, 2010
968
0
It certainly looks like a repair band to me. It may be just the lighting, but the band doesn't look like gold to me.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,897
892
It's possibly a repair band. It also possibly an aftermarket band. People sometimes add a band to a pipe that didn't come with one from the factory, and Dunhill could and would retrofit a pipe for a client.
What I don't see are any hallmarks as would identify it as being a Dunhill band, or a gold band. Granted, I only have the picture provided and no other views. On this basis I couldn't make any firm conclusion. Do you have a link to the auction? Doesn't matter if it's over, I can look at completed auctions and access the images. I'd need to see more. What IS clear is that the band is not original to the pipe. The band's reason for being is what can't be determined from the one image provided.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
2
I am reluctant to share the auction because I mean no harm to the seller. For all I know this was a simple oversight. Instead here are the relevant photos:








 

xrundog

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2014
737
0
Ames, IA
He probably says it's not a repair because there's no obvious crack at the shank end. Hard to say. Band looks like gold. It's stamped 14K next to the group circle. Seems legit. But I like the stamps to be visible on the shank. I'd pass just because of that. Plus I think a lumpy band on a shell looks crummy. Just my preference.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,897
892
Well, I see no evidence of a crack. Shank looks solid. There were no other pictures of the band? A highly textured band like that does resemble Dunhill bands that I've seen - my late father-in-law was a HUGE Dunhill collector - but without seeing the stamps there's no way to tell if it's gold, Dunhill, or both. What does seem to be true is that the band is aftermarket and probably added for cosmetic rather than structural reasons.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,545
416
To me, the most relevant photo is the one showing part of the markings cut off. The second is the poor fit of the band which could be caused by shrinkage, I doubt that however. Just poor metal work.
You did well pipebaum81! Good on you!

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
2
I am excited to get Sable's take. While we wait I wonder. I reread his offering and it has me thinking; what if I have this one wrong? I do not doubt that the size marking has been modified. The question is why. The shank face is nicely beveled and seems to be aged correctly with the pipe. The stain on the bevel matches the pipe. It could be the original shank face? If indeed I am wrong and the pipe wasn’t shortened then one would have to assume that the aft part of the shank was milled down to accommodate the relative flushness of the band therefore removing the aft markings. For all I know this could have been done by Dunhill or another reputable business. I love this stuff….

 

xrundog

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2014
737
0
Ames, IA
I don't think the shank was cut. The band is just covering the Group number and the S. Those are always stamped close to the end.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,897
892
I love this stuff…
Yeah, it's fun! I've got reams of correspondence with other pipe sleuths about various pipes that we've seen on eBay and have gained some insights about the manufacturing process from some very experienced practitioners.
One of my most interesting pieces is a Sasieni 8 Dot with a factory military mount that is hallmarked for 1941. The bowl is definitely early to mid 1920's based on its nomenclature. How does a 1920's bowl end up with a 1941 hallmarked mount?
Well, what wasn't in supply in 1941? Who controlled North Africa, where this briar was harvested? What wasn't getting shipped? So what do you do to keep product going out to your customers? I'll leave you, Sherlock, to figure out the rest of it.

 
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