GBD 9438 Prestige Addition

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ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,096
75
Maryland
I hate a great evening last night with forum member "lestrout" at a PA cigar shop near his home in Philly (JM Cigars). The shop owner was a real pipe guy, and still does his own blends, a rarity these days. Les had acquired this 9438 Prestige earlier in the year and asked if I was interested in a trade. I saw the pipe at the Philly club meeting a few months ago and was definitely interested, but it took this long to finally meet up. I brought along some various offerings and he really like my GBD Originale 569M (French 9242 shape).
I don't recall ever seeing a Prestige 9438, which slots in between the New Era and below the Virgin. Btw, the GBD grade guide most commonly referenced was written by our very own forum member "hagley". Perhaps he'll share how the list was compiled.
I was a little reluctant to give up the 569M but after getting this one home and shined up a bit, I'm very pleased. The stamping is a little light, but it's in mint condition with some nice birdseye on the beveled bowl top. thanks Les!


















 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,116
4
If I recall correctly, the GBD grade chart that circulated on line was done by Terry Hagley, who passed away way too young. Our member hagley is his brother, who knows a few things about GBD's.

 

virginialover

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2016
444
0
Ah yes, the GBD 9438, the shape I shall never have in my GBD collection, the Balkan Sobranie of pipes. Good job SSjones.
As for grades for the English pipes, I would take the grades of the 70's with a grain of salt, the exception being Pedigree and Pedigree 11, Virgin, Prodigy, Bronze Velvet(a Virgin replacement?), Varichrome, Century, Fantasy, Prehistoric.
I don't think they made any New Standards or New Eras by the mid 70's. From all the scarce information that is available one can deduce that GBD was really struggling and it was the US market that kept it alive until the merger. I think that for us, collectors or hobbyists of GBDs, our best source of information is the pipe collection we have.
While I am not a pipe maker, I manage to see differences. Sometimes subtle details talk a lot about the age of a pipe. The collector with hundreds of pipes will be a better judge than the one with tens of GBDs. I have 34 GBDs of different grades, several Virgin, New Era, New Standard, Century, Fantasy, Prehistoric. In those I see differences in the grain and the stain but also in the rondel. I brought most of my GBDs at Blatter's for a good cleaning. I was very lucky that the father used to sell GBDs in the earlier years. He was amazed by some of those pipes but more importantly, he was able to date more precisely some New Standards. I hope I didn't sound too presumptuous with my ramblings, I am just a poor and I mean poor, GBD collector, looking for some answers.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,096
75
Maryland
Great feedback guys, too little is known about GBD, particularly in those latter years.

I have about 30 GBD's in my collection and have owned/sold a little over 100.

This is my 9th 9438 shape, I really didn't need another, but with a trade opportunity, why not?

GBD is definitely the most represented brand that I own. I think perhaps the mystery about the brand may be part of the appeal.
I did see the Prestige offered by Smokers Haven. I think it was sold at some point, as you can't add it to the cart(like Smoking Pipes, their offerings stay on the internet for who knows how long. This one is colored like mine. (it also looks unsmoked!) Someone has had the buffer to mine, so who knows the starting point. Mine is a tad darker than those pictures reflect, I still struggle with pipe photography using a point & shoot....

Here's another that was sold by Smoking Pipes. That finish looks a bit washed out, particularly on the upper bowl half, so who knows how it was originally.


 

virginialover

Senior Member
Mar 29, 2016
444
0
I read somewhere that GBD was called the poor man's Dunhill, man they had it good those old timers.
Thanks oldgeezersmoker but 155 US is about 210 Cad and I would not pay that much for a Prestige grade. I payed about 145 US for a Virgin 135.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,116
4
virginialover, based on another prestige on that site, you would be paying $50 US premium for the shape. Based on some of the eBay auctions of late, that premium seems reasonable. Whether a base line prestige is worth $100 or not is another story entirely.
Hagley has the old Smokers Haven catalogues going back to when Noah came out of the Ark and placed an order, but in the heyday GBD wasn't a poor man's pipe at all. Not even close.
In today's world, I am partial to Castellos and have been for years, and before that Charatan's were a real fascination, and I pretty much always had a few nice Dunhill's and Barlings, but pre-merger GBD's always smoked great for me. The fit and finish is every bit as good as Dunhill, though some of the perspex and other Lucite stems won't please Dunhill buffs. When I got back into pipe smoking several months ago, one of the first things I did was to acquire some old Rock roots and Prehistorics. All of them have been great smokers. I have picked up some Castello's, too, but the $ difference is stout, worth it to me because of the aesthetics, and smoking qualities that IMO are present,but GBD shapes have always been intriguing, and I have only had one GBD that disappointed me from a workmanship standpoint. Lots of merit to GBD's, though perhaps not the bargains they used to be on the estate market. If you really want to learn more about them, keep looking carefully with your own eyes and make it a point to try to go to the Columbus Ohio pipe show. Very knowledgeable GBD collector's will be there and you can look at lots of wood.