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Astley Pipes = Re-Stamped Estate Pipes (Photos)

(191 posts)
  1. rebornbriar

    rebornbriar

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    Hear hear Kevin. As the originator of the thread on SF, I have been trying to quell the comments regarding SF and steer them back to the matter in hand, namely the Astley conspiracy.

    I would also like to thank jguss for trawling through the data. I was aware of the huge number of estate pipes purchased under this account (see back to my first reply as to the reasons given by Mr Ezrati concerning these pipes).

    This has made me think that this whole exercise obviously hasn't been done for financial gain. The huge imbalance between the number of pipes bought and the number of pipes sold, means there is a huge surplus of estate pipes going somewhere else, or accumulating somewhere else.

    Selling a few "phoenix" Astley pipes is nowhere near going to recoup the amount of money that has been spent on old estate pipes. Even if all the Astley pipes where questionable, this still wouldn't make up for the outlay. So this beggars the questions:

    1) What actually is happening to all the other estate pipes? ........ and
    2) If there is no overall financial gain, why do this in the first place and jeopardise your position?

    Alan
    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. flakyjakey

    flakyjakey

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    Reborn, surely you aren't suggesting Mr Ezrati has an extreme form of PAD? I've got PAD bad, but not that bad!!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. flakyjakey

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    I see on eBay that there are still no bids on the 3 jamesupshallpipeco "Dunhill made for Astley" pipes. Still time though; I wonder if they'll sell?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. fishingandpipes

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    Been following this with interest... very curious stuff. I hope we get a resolution eventually.

    Between this and the Kyle Black saga there's been some negative news in the pipe world recently.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. flakyjakey

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    STILL no bids on the 3 jamesushillpipesco "Dunhill made for Astley" pipes!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. fishingandpipes

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    Did he always start them so high or with high Buy it Nows? I've perused them here and there but I thought they usually started with a low bid price and got bidded up by the users - usually when I pursued them it was because they were well under $100 and I wanted to see if I could snag one that slipped through the cracks for cheap.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. flakyjakey

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    Still no bids on the Astley's. 14 hours left, exciting (or not)!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. rebornbriar

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    I was watching a James Upshall in Germany today. One small picture and no description of the pipe. Based on the fact that this story originated in Germany, I think a lot of that market has fallen out with anything to do with the Upshall/Astley brand.

    Even though there was only one small picture, the grain on the pipe looked as straight as a dies and tight. I bet it was a G grade. Of course when the time came around, I totally forgot about it The pipe sold for £39 which as far as I have seen, is an all time low for these pipes. I wish I had remembered and snapped it up at that price!!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. flakyjakey

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    Still no bids - 1 hour left!!

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    The pipe sold for £39 which as far as I have seen, is an all time low for these pipes. I wish I had remembered and snapped it up at that price!!

    Indeed! If you have the "eye" to identify the real Upshall's, and reject Moty's reinterpretations, than you have a good time now to buy 'em. But who has this faculty? I'd
    guess all the folks, who already own such an "Upshall" made of junk have enough yet. However, I'm not surprised. As a normal smoker of good nature, not specially
    skilled or an expert, you finely have to consider, due to the masses of faked Upshall's and Astley's, each one you buy on eBay could be a faked one. I'm afraid, both brands are badly damaged now. And it seems unlikely, somebody could unravel the whole case and give you a guidance system, how to distinguish, this Upshall's are authentic, those not.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. flakyjakey

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    waluljan, you raise some good points. At present it is important to distinguish between "James Upshall" pipes and "made for Astley" pipes which are also sold under "jamesupshallpipeco". It is the latter that are thought to be Astley re-branded estates or Astley-branded no-names (i.e. "fakes"). For example, the three "Dunhill Made For Astley" pipes which have received no bids and have just failed to sell on eBay.

    In an earlier post I questioned whether, because both Astley and James Upshall are both owned by M Ezrati, the highly-thought-of James Upshall pipes carved by the legendary Barry Jones might also suffer. Others thought that this was not happening, but reborn's post strongly suggests that it is, at least in Germany.

    I paid good money for four James Upshall's and got very high quality pipes in return. The tightness of their straight grain in the G-grade and above (B- and E- in my examples) and their staining is very distinctive. Like reborn I could recognise one in a pack, and unlike him I am not an expert. See if you can find a pic of a G, B or E and you will see what I mean (sorry, I've not yet worked out how to get photos posted). However my pipes are from the 80's, "lightly smoked estates", so I'm pretty sure they are carved by the man himself. But no one has seen or heard from him for some time now, so it's questionable whether he is still carving.

    So, in conclusion, I personally would not touch a "made for Astley" pipe and I don't think I would buy a "new" James Upshall. Would I buy an older James Upshall? Yes, if prices start to plummet as they seem to have done in Germany!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. pitchfork

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    Even the Upshall line has me spooked these days. This pipe, for instance:

    Is that really a "G" grade? I've seen (in fact own) "P" grades with better grain.

    Here's a "B" grade for comparison ("B" is a lower grade than "G").

    And here's another "B".

    With that first pipe, it just doesn't look like Upshall, or even quite like Charatan, where Jones used to work. It looks effing Danish to me. Regardless, I couldn't bring myself to buy it, even if I did want an over-graded Upshall with a fancy Danish stem.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. flakyjakey

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    Pitchfork, from what you've displayed I entirely agree. My G grades (a pot, and a cherry-wood shape sitter) resemble your top one, but with tighter grain. They are both extremely light in the hand (for their size), suggesting well-aged briar?

    Anyway, you've convinced me finally not to buy any more!

    PS Sorry I got my G's and B's mixed up

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. pitchfork

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    To be clear, I'm not trying to convince anyone not to buy Upshalls. Any genuine Upshall is a great pipe in my experience. I'm just saying that after this long discussion and from the facts that have emerged, I'm very cautious about buying them, at least from that vendor. (Well, not that I'd buy from that vendor at all, at this point, though I have once in the past.)

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    We now seem to have a flurry of Astley meerschaum pipes available on eBay, here is just one example: http://ebay.eu/19pieyf

    The certitude with which dates and names are bandied around from more than half a century ago is remarkable. The catalogue, ordering, stock and archive details must be beyond compare. I really don't know what to make of all this.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. flakyjakey

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    I will remain super-super cautious in the future, even though the ones I have are all great pipes

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. pitchfork

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    peterpiperuk,

    On another forum, a smoker who is well versed in meerschaum pipes raised questions about the meerschaums being sold by this vendor. The thread was from a couple of years ago, if I remember. But he did point out that the pipes for sale are in no way marked as being made by A. Bauer and/or whoever else is supposed to have made them.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Thanks for that pitchfork, sadly this seems to suggest that suspicions were raised quite some time ago and this is far from a recent phenomenon.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    robski

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    the pipes for sale are in no way marked as being made by A. Bauer and/or whoever else is supposed to have made them.

    The ones in the shop ( Bentley era) were also without marking, so I wouldn't read too much into that

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. pitchfork

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    robski,

    I'll have to find the thread, but the fellow making this point had other questions about their provenance. None of it is conclusive of anything, but if someone wanted an Andreas Bauer meerschaum, he might think twice about taking someone's word for it. More to the point, it's another instance in which people (not here) have wondered about the Astley pipes for sale by that vendor.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Robski does make a good point here, because as he said in his post, all Astley pipes, sold in the Astely shop, were only marked with the Astley logo and the Astley stampings.

    Now as far as who they were made by (whether meer or briar), AFAIK, is and always has been a guess at best.

    That said, would I buy an Astley from Mr. E/jamesushillpipesco? Nope.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. rebornbriar

    rebornbriar

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    Going back to the reply regarding the buying and selling statistics, I still can't get my head around why he should have done this. it is clear that there is no overall monetary gain. Sure, if you re-brand one cheap pipe and sell it for a good price, it may seem that way. But balance this against the total cost of all the other pipes being purchased which go God knows where, and I would doubt there has been any real overall profit.

    So the question again is why risk the reputation in such a way? Perhaps the stock of actual "Astley" pipes acquired with the purchase of the shop rights is running low, or no longer exists and he wanted to retain the mystique of a bygone era of "Old London".

    Mr Ezrati states that Astley were simply getting a supply of stummels from the top manufacturers, which were refinished by other artisans. I have no reason to doubt this statement. After all it is rumoured that Dunhill bring in pre-turned stummels now for finishing - and if not now they certainly did in the early days of the company. Peterson also bring in pre-turned stummels and finish them in the Sallynoggin factory.

    Had it been me, and I owned the Astley brand, I would have continued in the same vein a the original shop. At the end of the day, the shop was just a retail outlet, and today, eBay is just an alternative retail outlet. However, I would have also had a very stylish website. Under this famous name, he could have been bringing in pipes from the top carvers still working today. Think of Chris Askwith, Colin Fromm, Ian Walker, Les Wood and perhaps a continued relationship with Dunhill - and these are only the UK carvers. Think of some of the top worldwide carvers who would have been honoured to be associated with such a famous name. The brand of "Astley" could have reached new heights in this expanded online world.

    Unfortunately that can now only ever be a pipe dream (excuse the pun). It is true that the phoenix rose from the ashes. Perhaps this may happen again, but it will not happen under its current ownership.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. flakyjakey

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    reborn, it also seems odd that the starting bid in auctions is relatively high - eg the pipes I referred to today - is he determined not to sell? Is this self foot-shooting?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. rebornbriar

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    No, I don't think so. If he started them at 0.99 at the minute they might go for £20, if lucky. As a brand retailer, he has to retain an element of value in the brand. I know this might sound laughable at the minute, but selling the items for a song will just accelerate the fall, so to speak.

    It is the same for all pipe makers. They set the retail price of their items. Even if certain of those items are not selling particularly well, they will not sell them off wholesale as this has the effect of devaluing the entire brand.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. flakyjakey

    flakyjakey

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    Usually at this time of the week jamesupshallpipeco have quite a few pipes up for Ebay auction. This week there are none. Quelle Surprise! (pardon my French! lol). They do however have 16 "purchase now" pipes on eBay; a mixture of James Upshall pipes and 3 "Dunhills made exclusively for Astley" !!! I wonder if THEY will sell??

    PS They also have several "Andreas Bauer" meers, which don't seem to have been flying off the shelves recently! LOL

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    It seems that word gets around quickly in the pipe world, all hail the mighty interweb!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. fishingandpipes

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    Mike from Briar Blues included a reference to this thread in his update as well.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    Maybe we should start a "Show off your so called Astley's and Upshall pipes from Moty" ... The guy, who had uncovered the scam surely can assign the new appearance to the "original material" its made of. Probably nobody else can do that, because, there is a time deferral between Moty's purchases and the time where the new pipe is born. Always more than a year, so you never can track the scam in his feedback. One have to archive the significant purchases for a long time, before you have some proof in your hand. I must admit, after all, the scam is a clever one... I'd pave the way, but I own one Upshall pipe (no not so called "Upshall"). Go for it

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. fishingandpipes

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    Any updates on this? Or has this been a whispered-about known for some time and just came to light in a more public manner recently?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    Any updates on this?

    I'm not sure, but suspicious after all that. Look at this:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GBD-S-OWN-MAKE-LAID-BACK-MEERSCHAUM-LINED-BILLIARD-MINT-NR-/400591611749

    I doesn't make any sense for me. How one should fake an cheap GBD? But:

    I collect GBDs for years and own pieces beginning from the 19th century up to pipes made in the 70s in the last century. I never saw
    a GBD "own make". I checked all my papers and catalogues - no "own make". I know "own make" by BBB and think the expert forger
    made mistake here. The engraved "GBD" logo is a fake as well. GBD never made engravings (it's really fresh by the way) least at all in
    the "first half of the 20th Century" as the description suggest. The GBD logo is always a stamp. Never mixed engraving and stamp,
    never engraving. Apparently it's quite alluring, if you already own an engraving machine http://www.upshallusa.com/stamping.htm

    For my share, I'd fake Bo Nordh and Sixten Ivarsson... I must admit, it's not as easy as this badly faked GBD, but it's value a hundredfold...

    Greetings

    Waluljan

    Posted 5 years ago #
  31. ssjones

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    I'm no GBD expert, but I collect the brand and know it fairly well. That does not look like a GBD to me either.
    Someone should scan recent BBB ads for that one. Interesting that he does not show the other nomenclature in the pictures. On the other hand, financially, that makes no sense. But something sure does stink in Tilshead.

    Al

    Posted 5 years ago #
  32. pitchfork

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    I know nothing about GBDs, but this is weird -- especially the seemingly freshly engraved nomenclature on the shank.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    lestrout

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    Do I spy a crack in the meerschaum lining? I personally would only buy a meer-lined pipe in person or from a very trusted seller.

    hp
    les

    Posted 5 years ago #
  34. rebornbriar

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    This just gets stranger and stranger. Why fake a £20 pipe? The brass rondelle in the stem would place this as a pre-Cadogan era pipe which would not have been engraved on the shank in this style. Also as pointed out "Own Make" was a model of BBB and not GBD.

    Ebay have changed the goalposts with feedback. They no longer show the item number or link to an item from the feedback. So whereas this could have been used to look back through all purchases on the account where feedback had been left for 3 months - The most that can be seen now is through the bidding history for a period of 15 days.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  35. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Just for fun I read through the Pipedia page on GBD and followed by looking at other GBD pages as well as my copy of "Who Made That Pipe?". None of the sources mention a GBD "Best Make".
    But I do have a thought about all of this. Maybe the seller in question is just nuts?

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    robski

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    Well, I've actually seen the GBD pipe in question. Nothing fake about it - its stamped GBD and has a metal GBD on the stem. Its not stamped "own Make" - That was just a poor choice of words. The so called fresh engraving is just a trick of the flash.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  37. ssjones

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    Well that makes sense, but doesn't say much about the seller, what a foolish listing error (and no picture of the nomenclature)....

    Posted 5 years ago #
  38. pitchfork

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    robski, if you can find or produce another photo of an engraved logo that comes out looking like that, I'll believe it, but that looks like fresh wood to me, not a trick of the flash. I've never seen a stamped logo photograph anything like that. Good catch on the "Own Make" probably being an error -- it doesn't appear to be on the pipe.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  39. fishingandpipes

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    That is bizarre. I've never seen an engraved GBD.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  40. misterlowercase

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    In this case, GBD may translate to Good Butt Drilling

    Sadly, this whole ordeal has also tarnished a fine grand old brand,
    from Astley's to Asstley's it is now...

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    robski

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    Pitchfork: I've seen and handled this pipe, it is not a fresh engraving

    Posted 5 years ago #
  42. pitchfork

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    robski,

    This very pipe? I guess I have to take your word for it, then. Do you have any insight into how this pipe ended up with jamesupshallpipeco on ebay? If you do, it might help us understand some of the other issues that have been discussed in this thread.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    @ robski

    Well well... But you're not that very "robski" who occasionally sells pipes on ebay.co.uk and offers them in the exactly
    same way, as jamesupshallpipeco does? With very same pictures etc. Just for the sake of completeness of this case...

    Greetings

    Waluljan

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    robski

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    Waluljan : the ebay user "robski" is not me, he, or she is canadian and I live in the UK.

    Pitchfork: I saw the pipe in question on Wednesday of this week as I had a delivery to make to Moty's house. Moty buys pipes for 2 reasons. First is his own collection, this runs into many thousands. Second he buys some, which are refurbished, so he has something to sell other than Upshall and Astley pipes on ebay - thats what he told me.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  45. pitchfork

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    Thanks, robski. That's very interesting. This whole thing with Ezrati is just weird, but at best, at least two non-Astley pipes got "mixed up" in the refurbishment process over there and were transformed into "Astleys," one of them made by Bill Taylor (who was actually no longer with us when he "made" the pipe for Astley).

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    waluljan

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    Hi,

    @ oh! my mistake his ebay-nick was bigrobski

    By the way - I thank god for his perfect sense of accuracy! Some rascal in the Uk fakes pipes. After years of selling this faked pipes, it
    comes out and becomes a widely discussed topic here. And than - here comes the proof of God's existence - the pizza delivery guy of
    this very crook arrives out of the blue to let us know, there is nothing wrong with the whole thing.

    Wow, for this coincidence the pipesmagazine forum must be the nexus of the universe!

    Greetings

    Waluljan

    Posted 5 years ago #
  47. ssjones

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    Robski: That is interesting. Is there a shop folks can visit? Have you seen Barry Jones working there? We have all wondered about him.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    robski

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    No shop - I was just making a delivery to his house.

    I did meet Barry Jones about 5 years ago down at the factory in Wiltshire

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    peter70

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    I wonder, what turns this story is going to do next. The tension is killing me. Anybody interested in turning it into a TV series? Can we assume, that as a cliffhanger Barry Jones himself will appear in the last scene of this season?

    Kind regards,
    Peter
    Posted 5 years ago #
  50. pitchfork

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    Peter, LOL. Where's the BBC? I've often toyed with the idea of Barry Jones locked in a dungeon beneath the "big house" -- toiling away, turning estate pipes into Upshalls and Astleys.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  51. owen

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    What a thread. My head is pounding and a lovely change from are Dunhill pipes any good?

    Posted 4 years ago #

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