Ben Wade Nobel Prize - Preben Holm's Finest
From the moment I saw them in a Tinderbox catalog back in the early 70’s, I’ve had a fascination and a love for Danish freehands. Arguably some of the finest were made by Preben Holm in the 70's & 80's, the heyday of the Danish freehand. Last Saturday, a fellow pipe collector asked if I would be interested in buying an ultra-rare, unsmoked, Ben Wade Nobel Prize 2000 from his personal collection. My heart went all aflutter when I heard his offer! He’s thinning his herd to make way for some very high-end Castellos. Since we’re friends and knowing my passion for Danish freehands he approached me first with this once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Nobel Prize were Preben Holm’s highest grade pipe and were only made from 1971 to 1974 after which the Preben Holm Private Collection series was introduced. Each pipe was hand-made by Preben Holm from only the largest, oldest, and finest grained blocks of Grecian plateau briar available. Fewer than 200 Nobel Prizes were made, accounting for less than 1/10 of 1% of the total output of the Ben Wade factory. Only one Ben Wade in a thousand became a Nobel Prize and very few ever made their way to the United States. And here I thought the Private Collection were pretty rare birds and seldom seen. These guys come around about as often as Halley’s Comet; especially one that’s never been smoked!
Preben loved big pipes and this one is no exception. Checking in at a commanding 8 inches long with a 2.5 inch tall bowl that is nearly 3 inches in diameter, it doesn’t really lend itself to walks in the park. Although large it is surprisingly lightweight for its size. The entire bowl is surrounded by some of the tightest, most uniform straight grain I’ve ever seen. The rim is densely packed with birdseye of such minute proportions that one needs a magnifying glass to discern individual “eyes.” Absolutely stunning!
For comparison here’s a more recent vintage Preben Holm Private Collection 404C grade I obtained six months ago. Both pipes are just gorgeous and have some of the finest grain imaginable.
Absolutely stunning! They are both beautiful, but that Nobel is ridiculous, some of the finest grain I've ever seen! Congrats on both of them!
The grain on the Nobel is wicked-good, but the stem is a stroke of genius, to back up the shape and grain of the briar.
The new one is no plain jane either. You'd better dive in and smoke that Nobel; better not think about it too long.
The grain on the Nobel is so beautiful it almost looks digital. Congratulations.
That's an incredible looking pipe. Congrats.
I have seen true beauty. Thank you, Pete, for sharing this with us.
Currently bending a reverent knee.
That is an unbelievable piece of briar.
I honestly don't know if I could smoke it, I would love to, but it is Smithsonian quality in my eyes.
Bang. Those are beauties. I don't flip out over grain much, but those pipes are stunning. Actually it's not even just the grain, it's how it works in the entire context of the pipe's design.
Beautiful!! It amazes me that a hunk of wood with a big hole and a little one can come in so many different styles and variations. I could just look at pipes all day. And, you've got some definite eye-candy there. Congrats!!
"Please don't throw me in that there briar patch!"
Wowza! Beautiful pipe. Stunning grain.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
That rates an OMG from me. You gonna smoke that pipe or just whistle Dixie?
WOW! Those are gorgeous. Enjoy them.
Blowin' smoke since 1970.
That is Preben at his finest! (And even his run-of-the-mill pipes were trend setting beauties!)
I definitely have a bad case of pipe envy!
Thanks so much for sharing those pix with us.
I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
Some beautiful pipes you have there. The birdseye on that nobel is hypnotizing.
I have a Preben era Ben Wade coming soon, you've made me just that more excited
I'm an expert in my own opinion
I can say much, but wow! I hope you enjoy the heck out of it
Cut me... I bleed black.
I can only echo what others have said...stunning, gorgeous. The grain on that Nobel is off the charts...and unsmoked...wow. A big congrats on both of those pipes.
“Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
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