Charatan Coronation -- One of the Most Perfect Straight Grain Specimens Known

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jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
710
76
On reflection I think we can narrow the likely date the Coronation grade was introduced, theorizing that it was created sometime in 1963-1964. On the one hand we know it existed by the time the 1964-65 RTDA Almanac was issued. On the other several experts suggest that the grades above the Supreme S-100 were an artifact of the acquisition of the company by Herman Lane; this view is, if not definitive, at least completely supported by what documentation I've seen so far.
The Lane acquisition was precipitated by the death of Reuben Charatan on March 9, 1962, and took place in a series of related corporate resolutions dated November 1 and 2, 1962. When the dust settled the 2500 shares held by Esther Charatan (Reuben's widow) were reclassified as deferred (i.e. nonvoting, and not entitled to dividends), and Herman Lane held 750 ordinary (i.e. voting) shares which controlled the business. In the circumstances it seems plausible that expansions of the high end of the Charatan line would have begun to take place over the next year or two.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,406
2,121
Monterey Peninsula
When the dust settled the 2500 shares held by Esther Charatan (Reuben's widow) were reclassified as deferred (i.e. nonvoting, and not entitled to dividends), and Herman Lane held 750 ordinary (i.e. voting) shares which controlled the business. In the circumstances it seems plausible that expansions of the high end of the Charatan line would have begun to take place over the next year or two.
I presume there was other consideration given Mrs. Charatan! I have some non-dividend paying stocks, but at least I can vote! Or sell them.
Thanks, Jon, your research and writing are much appreciated.

 

jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
710
76
I presume there was other consideration given Mrs. Charatan
Great question, John. In my experience corporate records for private companies in the UK rarely if ever disclose transaction terms, or even the parties involved (except in so far as they can be identified from changes in shareholder lists and board membership). Most of what is visible is limited to primitive financials on occasion (largely abbreviated income statements and balance sheets), articles of incorporation and memorandums of association, shareholder lists, director lists, changes of corporate office location, certain corporate resolutions, and the like. All of which is helpful but often raises as many questions as are answered. Board minutes are conspicuously lacking.
In this particular case a concatenation of simultaneous events makes it clear that control of the business changed hands: the recategorizing of Esther's ordinary shares as deferred nonvoting and ineligible to receive a dividend,; an increase in the number of ordinary shares authorized; and the sudden appearance of Herman Lane as a new shareholder (and the sole holder of voting shares under the new regime). The rationale behind the particular structure of the transaction we are left to infer. I imagine it was probably driven by the UK tax law in effect at the time, as well as estate planning considerations for Esther and her three children.

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,157
122
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
Oh...my! And so much improved by the new mouthpiece.
Is this Fred's piece, or did he just comment on it? I've seen quite a few of his best pipes and definitely haven't seen this one.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,472
1,148
Beautiful grain, stunning.

I wonder, I notice that some pipes are heavier than they look like they should be, and some pipes that look heavy, aren't. Is it the area of the root from which it is cut that makes some denser than others, or is it something else? Or, maybe some briar is just heavier? Or, something else?

 

snagstangl

Preferred Member
Jul 1, 2013
1,177
28
https://imgur.com/a/VanFOKm
Supreme 1

this is a supreme i have that needs a correct stem.

 

gnarlybriar

Junior Member
Jun 11, 2009
56
0
I have seen this pipe! (ok, in my dreams). Had I known that George was going to create another masterpiece in vulcanite, I would have attempted getting it. George, the MASTER !

 

huntertrw

Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
3,860
13
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
I know that although neither Tony Soderman or Richard Hacker given a precise date, by implication they both say the introduction was in the early to mid 1960's.
By way of elaboration, in his book titled Rare Smoke - The Ultimate Guide To Pipe Collecting Mr. Hacker states, "Through the first part of the 1960s, the highest grading for a Charatan was Supreme. The Coronation, Achievement, Royal Achievement, and Crown Achievement did not exist until later in that decade, a period when Charatan was obtaining such high quality briar, it was felt that the Supreme classification should be broken down even further."

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
36
Rick Hacker wasn't a pipe scholar, but a "popularizer" who wrote books based on what he was told.
In the pre-Internet era this was as good as things got. Today, it is regarded as well-intentioned entertainment, nothing more.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,713
1,094
In the huge pipe category, that is one you'd still want to smoke just because it's gorgeous.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,910
922
In the pre-Internet era this was as good as things got. Today, it is regarded as well-intentioned entertainment, nothing more.
In the arena of pipe scholarship, yeah. But not because a fair amount of information wasn't available, just not nearly as easily available as some of it now is on line. There are these places called "libraries", with sections referred to as "special collections" that were available before Arpanet, through which actual scholars, like Jon Guss, spend time burrowing. Hacker deserves credit for being a pioneer, but like a lot of early cartographers, his work is full of misinformation that has since been corrected by others. As a popularizer Hacker remains "the man".
Looking again at that stem George made, it's as perfect in its form as the bowl to which it's mounted.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
36
Hacker deserves credit for being a pioneer, but like a lot of early cartographers, his work is full of misinformation that has since been corrected by others. As a popularizer Hacker remains "the man".
I completely agree. Pipe collecting as a hobby would probably have never taken off the way it did (pipe smoking was fading at the time, remember) had Rick not written his several books on the subject.
I used to meet with him regularly in the mid and late 1980s when I lived in Phoenix. He was under contract with the Tinderbox chain to host in-store promotions and meet & greet events, and since Phoenix had several Tinderboxes, his mother lived in Phoenix, and he lived in SoCal, he visited often. (Airline flights ran hourly to LAX from Sky Harbor, and cost as little as $19.95)
Common interest took care of the rest. :D
Though some of today's harder core hobbyists think of Rick as an opportunist (he's since written books on subjects from whiskey to cigars to firearms), I always found him to be gracious, professional, and truly passionate about the subjects that captured his interest.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,166
408
Lexington, KY
It does my heart good to notice this pipe has clearly been used. I'm sure sometimes very fine specimens go unsmoked (same with any other collectible item being unused), but I'm glad to see this pipe fulfilled its intended purpose.

 

huntertrw

Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
3,860
13
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
Rick Hacker wasn't a pipe scholar, but a "popularizer" who wrote books based on what he was told.
In the pre-Internet era this was as good as things got. Today, it is regarded as well-intentioned entertainment, nothing more.
So, Mr. Hacker's information in the quotation above is wrong?

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,608
36
So, Mr. Hacker's information in the quotation above is wrong?
Let's just say it had more to do with marketing and maximizing profit than a supply of extraordinary wood suddenly becoming available.

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,157
122
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
I saw the Coronation last night. Simply stunning. The new stem is perfect George. And great work on the button and the slot.
I also saw what is thought to be the first Charatan Cup and Saucer shape dating from 1960. An amazing piece. A Supreme grade to boot.