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unadoptedlamp

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2014
341
101
I saw this new Tom Eltang offering on Smoking Pipes today. I bought a Sara Eltang some weeks ago. Really nice smoker, great weight for my style and for my tastes, it was money well spent.
I'm just not sure I will notice about $700 in difference between a Tom Eltang and a Sara Eltang. Here's 2 pipes to compare the price. Obviously, the shape is slightly different, but generally, they seem fairly close to me. Would anyone here pay an extra $700 for one of these pipes?
I don't fully understand the pricing coming out of that shop, so I must be missing something other than the idea that one of these pipes cannot be guaranteed to be carved by Tom Eltang himself, but maybe it was anyway, but they won't say because it's stamped Sara Eltang and not Tom. Is that worth $700?












 

workman

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2018
1,702
9
Obviously you pay for the name. It's the brand thing. Like a Sixten Ivarsson is worth more than a Lars Ivarsson which is worth more than a Nanna Ivarsson and they all might or might not smoke as well as a Stanwell :roll:

 

leafsmoker

Member
Oct 26, 2017
285
34
42
Indiana
I remember reading my pipes magazine some years ago, and falling in love with the Eltangs. I knew I could never spend that kind of money. The thing that turned me on to his pipes was the STAINING method he used. It looks like the staining is different on each pipe. If that second pipe is Tom's, that would be my guess, the staining is darker with more contrasts. Iam not a Eltang expert though..

 

unadoptedlamp

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2014
341
101
The second is a Tom Eltang. Top is Sara, in each picture. To my eye, the bottom (Tom) is a more attractive pipe. I was just struck by the similarity and roughly $700 difference. I don't think I could be convinced to stump up an extra $700 for the "Tom" pipe.
There looks to be some more interesting patterning on the Tom, maybe packed a little tighter with the grain. As for the stain, I don't know if one is considered better than the other. They just look like different colours. Is that from a different technique that costs more to produce?

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,163
400
Lexington, KY
This is much like the difference between buying a Rolex watch versus a Tudor (sort of a Rolex sub-brand, but very much its own line). In almost every measurable way, the Tudor is technically equal to the Rolex, but a Rolex costs approximately double what a similar Tudor costs.
I'll admit most of the difference in price between these two watches (just like the difference between a Sara Eltang and a Tom Eltang) is psychology. But there's also a very real sense in which the Rolex is worth more, even if it's just because of the name. You bought it for more, but you could also sell it for more.
If you bought a Tom Eltang and a roughly identical Sara Eltang and treated them the exact same, and tried to sell them both as estates, I guarantee you could get more for the Tom. So regardless of the value to you, the Tom has more true value than the Sara. If re-selling isn't a consideration and they smoke identically, I'd go with the cheaper option. This is also why I don't own a Dunhill or an Eltang, or any high-grade pipes. But that doesn't make the price difference wrong in any real sense, and it doesn't mean I mind if someone else buys a high-grade for themselves.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,539
414
Deleted. Better answers appeared while I typed. Not an unusual occurrence.

 

unadoptedlamp

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2014
341
101
For me, in this case it was just having a Sara Eltang in my collection and seeing this one from "Tom" which I don't think quite hits the $700 better mark. Some of his pipes, in my opinion, are worth a lot more. Some, not so much. Maybe it's a matter of preference.
I don't have any problem with people buying high end pipes. I have a few expensive ones myself and enjoy them for what they offer... which isn't necessarily a superior smoking experience in the technical sense. For me, I get a some degree of enjoyment when I look at a nice pipe that I'm smoking. Maybe a little bit like looking at art. I don't see anything out of the ordinary about buying a nice piece of art and looking at it every day. Money well spent!
I'll shut up now. I just didn't see $700 in difference. Some of his other pipes, sure, why not. This one, I don't know. But I am biased, because I own one of these pipes...

 

mityahicks

Member
Nov 18, 2018
254
149
I think your point is solid, the differences are minor. Something I have long wondered is the value of pipes changing one generation of pipers to the next. Example: I'm 32, have been into pipes four close to 2 years. As much as I like the look of some Dunhill pipes, the brand means nothing to me and thus the up charge will never be worth it, even knowing their historical impact. I wonder if in 20 years their value will drop significantly, or there will be a recrudescence. Either way, I'm looking forward to being part of it.

 

kola

Preferred Member
Apr 1, 2014
595
4
I have zero interest in any pipe selling for 300 USD or more. To each their own tho.'
Now, tobacco? that's another story.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,908
6
The prices for pipes by the elites are a joke. They are outrageous, and even if I had the money I wouldn't buy them. When I was learning I was very impressed by the comments by those who seemed to know what they were doing about this or that brand being so very good., and I chased such pipes only to find that there was no appreciable difference between less and more costly pipes. This was very disappointing. They all smoke more or less the same.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,874
855
You're essentially paying for esthetics, and a bit more for the "Tom" stamp. If it's worth $700 more to you for the Tom stamp, then you know what to do. Looking at these two gorgeous pipes, they seem equal to me.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,539
414
saltedplug makes a reasonable observation. Excepting this,
The prices for pipes by the elites are a joke.
Not sure who the "elites" are and some prices are certainly high enough to not be a joking matter. Some cost fairly serious moneys.
Not everyone is able to discern differences in products so, purchasing the cheapest one that satisfies makes sense, very true when starting out. But, not everyone is seeking the same end result in a pipe.
I've my "work" pipes and my R&R pipes. I want more than the nicotine when I'm enjoying my evening pipes.

 

rmpeeps

Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2017
550
46
San Antonio, TX
Based on those pictures alone, I’d favor the Sara Eltang. The grain is not quite as tight, but the lighter staining highlights it better. Also, it appears the stem to shank fit is better on the Sara.

Possibly there’s something I’m missing, but doubt it’s worth the extra $700.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,221
627
I agree with rmpeeps, purely based on aesthetics, I prefer the lighter stained pipe. The lower is worth $700 more if with your value system, you think it is. IMHO, super high end pipes are really for people who don't have to give a seconds thought to whether it is worth it or not. It' simply a matter of whether they want it or not. If I thought for a second it would smoked $700 better than a Rad Davis, Larrysson, Tinsky or even a cob for that matter, I'd buy it. A big part of that decision equation depends on whether you view the pipe as a tool for smoking tobacco or as a beautiful piece of art. Nothing wrong with either. I'm 70 to 80% tool for smoking.

 

pipestud

Preferred Member
Dec 6, 2012
1,737
96
Robinson, TX.
This link is to Tom's explanation of his Sara Eltang line of pipes. The link is from Tom's website -
https://www.eltang.com/sara-eltang

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,908
6
I think part of the problem in assessing pipes is that when someone says that a pipe is better they typically don't say whether they mean the finish and fit are better or that it smokes better; moreover, if they mean it smokes better, better in what way. Stem? Draw? Burn? We can agree about the characteristics of fit and finish far more easily than the pipe's smoking characteristics. The former is objective while the latter is subjective. In fact as a function of the palate and other cognitive qualities, it's my contention that while I can say how a pipe smokes for me, predicting how a pipe will smoke for you is more or less impossible.
But we make such claims a;l the time. On another board Pease said that Will Purdy's pipes smoked better. Two retailers come to mind who regularly said that certain makers pipes were better. On the other hand In a vlog on another's site it was said that the prices of pipes of the Danish elite were justified given the untold numbers of other pipes they've made of the same shape. I guess that means that paying an additional $1000.00 for one of their pipes is a good idea given how thrilled I'm going to be when I hold the pipe up in front of my eyes and gaze at this maker's exquisite version of that shape. I did this from time to time when I was smoking, but often I did not., absorbed as I was in smoking it.
We don't define very well what we mean when we rate pipes, and whatever a retailer says needs to be taken with a lump or two of salt.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,163
400
Lexington, KY
The simple fact is the value of an item comes from more than the amount of capital and labor involved in making it. The value of an item depends on more than the quality of the item. This is one of the immutable laws of the world.

 

davet

Preferred Member
May 9, 2015
3,782
9
It's been said over and over again " It's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it "
Hard to argue with that. While both of the above pipes are beautiful, I doubt that I couldn't find several Grabows in my cabinet that smoke as good. Better looking, finnished etc. maybe not. A $700 difference between the two? Beyond me :crazy:

 

greatdane

Junior Member
Dec 26, 2018
52
0
This is much like the difference between buying a Rolex watch versus a Tudor (sort of a Rolex sub-brand, but very much its own line). In almost every measurable way, the Tudor is technically equal to the Rolex, but a Rolex costs approximately double what a similar Tudor costs.
I respectfully have to disagree with you there. The movement in Rolex watches is vastly different than Tudor. Basically Tudor has cheaper ETA movements while Rolex has their high quality in-house movements. An ETA movement alone can be bought for under $100 on eBay, a standalone Rolex movement is 10x-15x more (and worth every dime imho).
I don't want to sound pretentious, but I have been collecting Rolex watches and high-end firearms for 20 years. When I first got into pipe smoking, my first thought was that pipes were really relatively inexpensive. A pipe is such a personal purchase (much like a watch) that with good care you can use for life. The fact that you can get a quality Dunhill or Danish estate for a few hundred dollars is just amazing and something we should all be grateful for.