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How much is a pipe really worth?

(60 posts)
  • Started 4 years ago by maxpeters
  • Latest reply from lordofthepiperings
  1. maxpeters

    maxpeters

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    How much do you usually spend on a new pipe? How much is too much for you?
    Browsing through several pipe sale sites, I have come upon those mighty Dane pipes more than enough times, with their "more than enough" prices.
    Sure, they are very nice pipes, and very well made, but they are just pipes. Does it make any sense spending thousands of dollars for one?
    Rick Newcomb's book " In Search of Pipe Dreams" attempts to justify the cost of such pipes as those made by Jess Chonowitch, S. Bang, Anne Julie etc saying that they are also works of art. Really? They're just pipes for goodness sakes!
    To smoke tobacco in. Shouldn't THAT be the reason to get a pipe?
    But just go on any pipe sales site and you'll run into such names as these and their pipes are all SOLD! Almost all of them. And I'll bet most of them will never see the flame of a match. Why? Because they are TOO VALUABLE to smoke!
    I'm a pipe smoker, not an art collector. I think the whole thing is just silly.
    And now comes a bunch of Russian pipe makers that someone wrote a praising article on, and now They are commanding huge prices. And GETTING them!
    For instance, back in the 90's I bought an little Anne Julie smooth pipe at a pipe show. I paid $150.00 for it used. I thought that was a little extravagant, but I liked the pipe.
    I just checked some of her pipes out that are for sale, and they are asking 3 and 4 thousand dollars apiece! And this is for pipes that have been partially rusticated apparently to hide flaws on the bowls.
    I had an S. Bang oom paul for a long time. I just recently gave it to my son so he could sell it because he needed the money. He got $1100.00 for it used!
    What is wrong with people? How much is a pipe really worth?
    I know, the old saying that something is worth what someone else is willing to pay is true. Herman Lane proved that back in the 60's when he brought out the Charatan Supreme S-100, then the S-200 and so on, but come on. Are they really worth that much?
    I had a nice Mike Butera high grade which I also gave to my son to sell. He said he got $900.00 for it. This is a pipe I had smoked for almost 15 years!
    I think that as soon as people think that something will be collectable, they just can't wait to throw money at it. I guess they are afflicted with collectors-itemi-tis or something. Got to have something others want! At all costs!
    I can see wanting something beautiful, and well made, and paying more for it just because of that, but when you are expected to fork over what amounts to 3 or 4 monthly mortgage payments for a pipe! Damn.
    Where are we headed? I don't think the so called recession is all That bad if folks can still do that.
    OK. my rant is over. Thanks for listening.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. yuri66

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    Hey Max,

    Good rant, but you already answered your own question, ist worth what someone is willing to pay for it, true, to true, and unfortunately people actually pay the price. To me it is simple if I like a Pipe no matter who made it I will buy it if the price is right, I will buy a Dr. Grabow pipe for $29 quicker than a higher priced one, because I know I can smoke it and usually they smoke very good. That said it always depends on the pipe too, when you consider some of these fine hand crafted pipes the amount of work that is in it, it may well be worth the price, but as you said they were meant to be smoked not just looked at like a trophy, at least for me they are unique tools of the trade or as some would say, art of pipe smoking. Yes I have a few that I am very fond of and I am sure would fetch a good price, but as you I am a smoker and a collector but my collection as all of them are, are to be used. I collect cars and motorcycles, but if I cannot drive them then for what? To collect dust? No thanks. So again it denpends on what someone thinks the pipe is worth, that is what some fool will pay, and your right probably never smoke because it is too expensive.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  3. puffintuff

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    I can not justify spending thousands of dollars on a pipe, my wife would shoot me. And I couldn't blame her. Estate pipes have more or less filled that void for me. Get a nice quality, high end pipe for a fraction of the cost.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. admin

    Kevin

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    Yep. It's worth what you are willing to pay and what you can afford.

    I thought I was hot shit with several Dunhills and an Ardor in the $350 - $400 range, but at the pipe shows I'm not impressing anybody and my pipes are pretty far from being the most expensive.

    However, I was willing to pay what I paid for them, and I smoke them all. I do believe that some pipes are works of art, but I am not at the point where I would feel good about spending $900 or more on a pipe.

    However, if someone can afford it, and a pipe maker can get $2,500 for a pipe, then good for them.

    Also, as far as I know, Rick Newcombe, whom I've hung out and smoked with several times, smokes ALL of his pipes.

    As far as ART in general, I just don't get it. I don't have an appreciation for works of art, like paintings, sculptures, etc. I would never spend money on anything like that. Although, Laura has some paintings hanging in our condo that make the place look nicer and I appreciate, I'm not an art kind of guy.

    Same with pipes. I have seen and held some amazing pipes with retails of $2,500 upwards. Maybe if I had a lot more disposable income I would buy some, but I am not sure.

    Perhaps with these type of pipes, in addition to being able to afford it, you also have to be someone that appreciates art?

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    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. wolfscout

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    I'm not one to spend that kind of money for my pipes either. But I get what I want as long as money is not a question (usually it is). Us common folk can admire the works of art.. but we require functionality and a smooth puffer.
    I keep getting outbid for a certain pipe shape on ebay ... ticks me off they have that kind of money. LMAO.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. jcsnaps

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    Great rant, and ever so full of meaning. I love great looking pipes, but at over $1000 I can't see putting that kind of money out on something I'm going to add fire to. I'd rather get 10 good smoking $100 pipes. I love cars also, but for the price of an Aston Martin Volante I can have the whole family each in a new car, and yet if I had the funds smoking an Ann Julie driving down the road in a Volante would be pleasing.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. cortezattic

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    If driving somewhere is important, a Chevy or Ford will do the job. Yet, some people choose a pricey SUV or top-of-the-line sedan. IMO, the latter group is making a statement, or they think they're making an investment; but it has little to do with accomplishiong the task at hand. Both views are valid for the individual.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. bubbadreier

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    I for one see the beauty in the pipe and the "value" of these high grade one of a kind hand carved pipes, but lack the ability to purchase one of these pieces of art. For this reason I look at these pipes as I would art in a museum, pretty but unattainable. Now I can't say that I could never afford these pipes, but even if one day I could I don't think I would. If I had a choice of a $4,000.00 pipe or $4,000.00 for tools and blocks of briar, I would start setting up a garage pipe making workshop!! Just my humble opinion which isn't worth the 2 cents!

    Mason jars and bale top jars, mason jars and bale top jars.... that is all!

    "There’s truth in the statement that pipe tobacco will never be any less expensive than it is today, so think of your cellar as a cost averaged investment" - G.L. Pease
    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. pstlpkr

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    I would count my Ascorti among those that could bring big bucks.
    It was as I remember perceived by Mr. Elliot's customers as over priced when it was on display. Skip's father was breaking away from The Tinder Box, and it stayed on the wall for a couple of years... no one was willing to spend $650 for it. Besides it was a very unusual pipe (at that time). I saved and saved (in my youth). After Mr. Elliot's passing, and the birth of The Briary, Skip knew I loved it and asked me to make an offer. I did. I bought it for about $225 as I remember.
    A couple of weeks later, I wandered into another of the 2 remaining Tinder Boxes in B'ham. It just so happened Giuseppe Ascorti had died and his son had taken over pipe production. (While Roberto's skills are good, he wasn't in his father's league.) The "New Line" pipe began to be mass produced. Mine is THE original. Well... to make a long story a little longer, the proprietor immediately spotted it and offered me $1000 cash for it. Needless to say, it is one of my most cherished pipes.
    The moral of the story: A pipe is worth only what the market can bear, but history can increase its collectibility and by extension its value.


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    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. unclearthur

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    Exactly what Lawrence said!

    If at first you don't succeed you are running about average.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. hobie1dog

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    Yeah, what he said.

    Greed supports the Illusion of Need.

    Earth: The Insane Asylum of the Universe. Nowhere else could things be more messed up.

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    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. jship079

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    I would say that it is totally up to the "collector" to what they fell is collectible. Is a Honis Wagner baseball card worth 500,000 is a Picasso worth 10,000,000 is a original Barbie worth 30,000 it really just depends on your resources and what you are willing to pay. I personally wold never pay 60,000 for a pipe no mater how much I had but would I spend 1,000 maybe if I had the resources. I think it boils down to you is a pipe a tool just used to burn tobacco or is it something worth collecting thats really just up to the individual person.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  13. igloo

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    Some would say ........

    “There was an awful suspicion in my mind that I'd finally gone over the hump, and the worst thing about it was that I didn't feel tragic at all, but only weary, and sort of comfortably detached.”
    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. surfmac211

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    I think it boils down to you is a pipe a tool just used to burn tobacco or is it something worth collecting thats really just up to the individual person.

    I think that hits it on the nail. For me I love to smoke my pipes, but I have a fondness towards artisan pipes. Most of them only make a few pipes a year and have way more time invested in them than a pipe made by a big name company. They also don't have the man/machine power to manufacture a bunch a pipes a year, so prices go up. I have 2 J. Alan pipes that I saved up for because I love the work he does. I am happy to spend a little extra money to support his business and add to my small collection. Even though the pipes might cost extra I smoke all of my pipes. I smoke some with more care, but smoke them all.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. iowamike

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    Whats the deal with the high price of these freehands? I like them but they all pretty much look the same to me. The same way a bulldog does or a billiard. No two pipes are exactly the same, they come from different blocks weather they are shaped the same or not. I have a MM and a ugly basket pipe that smoke as well as my $100 Stanwell or Peterson. Save your money and buy a Nording for less than $100. I would rather buy a load of different tobaccos. Just my opinion, whatever LOL.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. strongirish

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    Apipe is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay. I have quite a large collection and I have many great smokers that run the price gamut from $10.00 to trbousands. I also have had bad smokers that are worth a lot of money.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  17. searock

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    Looks like this has been covered pretty well. I'll just say that there are some guys who buy pipes with their &*%# and not with their head.

    Happy New Year!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. unclearthur

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    I worked in antiques way back. The first thing I learned is anything has a value of exactly what you can sell it for.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. searock

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    Here's a great example of an out of control price on a pipe. It's nice but I've seen and owned pipes with much better grain. I would say it should be about $500. retail.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/James-Upshall-Unique-Giant-Sized-Freehand-Pipe-Grade-E-/160497304518?pt=UK_Collectables_Tobacciana_Smoking_LE&hash=item255e6283c6

    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. cortezattic

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    Iowamike said

    Save your money and buy a Nording for less than $100. I would rather buy a load of different tobaccos. Just my opinion,

    I share your opinion. If you're in this hobby for pleasurable smoking, the old saying is, "Spend money on tobacco, not pipes."

    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. searock

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    "Spend money on tobacco, not pipes."

    I agree with you... somewhat. But the fact is the pipe makes as much diffence in the quality of your smoke as the tobacco. The best tobacco in the world can taste like hell if smoked in a bad pipe. It's a matter of balance. I buy pipes to smoke, not to look at or to garnish envy from other pipe smokers. Your choice of a Nording is fine. Mine would be to spend the $100 on a good pre-owned Castello. We each have our favorites. Happy new year!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. unclearthur

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    Everyone should have a Pete or seventy . Yes I am nuts but what a fun insanity!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. expatpipe

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    300 or 400 is about tops what I'd be willing to fork out. But I also don't just look at the pipe.. Where does the pipemaker fit in to pipe history/culture? What has he or she contributed? What kind of guy do I think him to be? What kind of hard knocks did he take to become where he is today? Did Daddy buy him a fancy studio etc. Or did he start out sweeping floors at a tabacco shop in the 40's to help support his single mom.. I cant reach the top bracket pipes that theese top pipemakers put out, but on the other hand, I can buy a darn good pipe that they made and is a great smoker and something to be proud to own. And I can also be happy smoking a corncob for a few dollars.. To each their own.

    There is a light that never goes out.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. yachtexplorer

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    It is not uncommon to confuse price with value. The price is something set by the seller, which may or may not reflect an accurate assessment of the value of an object. Value is determined when a buyer comes along and actually pays a price.

    What each of us is willing to pay for any pipe or for a particular pipe is subject to many variables. Among them are:

    1 - Budget - ability and/or willingness to pay

    2 - Taste - This can be educated, developed, refined or not

    3 - Desire - This is often conditioned by nostalgia, competition with other collectors, rarity and felt need to complete a particular set or fill an empty niche.

    4 - Perception of value - This can be either accurate or distorted by some of the factors above.

    While it is possible to attain a perfectly good smoke with a cob or a barrel pipe, for some, there is more to the hobby than good tasting smoke. As in all things in life, there are those who take a purely utilitarian approach and there are those who take it to different levels.

    Snobbery, whether looking down or in reverse, often rears its head in discussions like these. It is unseemly and adds nothing constructive to the discourse or understanding, regardless of the direction from whence it comes.

    It is always best to try to state your opinion without attempting to characterize the behavior or opinion of others. This leaves room for others to differ without having discussions degenerate into a flame session.

    We all come to pipe smoking from our own backgrounds. No one is right here, not even me

    Richard
    I have some friends, some honest friends, and honest friends are few; My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new. - Robert Service
    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. unclearthur

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    Well said Richard. If I had the funds I would only be collecting high end Peterson antiques. I don't so I collect those I can afford.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. duncan

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    I am with those that said it all depends on the want of the buyer. If I had the money to spend on something like the Octopipe I would buy that in a sec. Not knowing what the cost of that was I could see paying 4-5 grand for that since that is a piece of art to me. I would smoke that puppy whenever I could. Since I can only afford sub 100 buck pipes I find what I like in that range and I am happy. I do not get jealous of others accomplishments I commend them. So in the short version if you like it and want it and can afford it buy it!

    Why does it seem that todays youth has added lead paintchips to their daily diet!?!
    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. pipetrucker

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    A pipe is worth exactly what you are willing to pay to own it. No more, no less.

    Mason

    And though it is much to be a nobleman, it is more to be a gentleman. - Anthony Trollope
    Posted 4 years ago #
  28. iowamike

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    I love all these opinions. Thats what is great about this forum and America, freedom of speech. Sometimes we get caught up in our own way of thinking. Yet another persons perspective can change your mind, or not. It truely was interesting reading them.

    Thanks Guys

    Posted 4 years ago #
  29. bhpdrew

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    As stated... a pipe is worth what you're willing to pay for it. I am not one to talk about pipes as art. I don't get pipes to be set in a shadow box or some case. I get pipes that will smoke well and that catch my eye. Like everything I own. Be it my guns, hunting gear, camp gear, or pipes... they all work for a living. That is what I want. A gun that shoots well when I need it to. A tent that keeps me dry. Or a pipe that smokes that bowl of tobacco I want to relax with.

    “The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail... the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation.” - Jeff Cooper
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    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. dubinthedam

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    I think the ultra high grade collectors do a great injustice and deprive many of us regular guys from affordable high grades. I think the most I've paid is $250 and that was for a unsmoked Paolo Becker which would normally go for about $450. My tip is treat youself to a high grade or two to see waht all the fuss is about, but this "I only smoke high grades" is frankly hilarious. During the past 12 months prices on ebay are not market based entirely...bargains can still be had but the whole thing going off keel and a bit screw balled me thinks.

    Great topic Max, very well written.

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    Posted 4 years ago #
  31. obelus

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    My personal upper limit comfort level also hovers around $250. If there's something I want that's over that limit, I keep my eyes out for a well-preserved or restorable estate. I like looking at the pretty shiny things that cost more, sometimes a lot more, and suppose I could save up for a high-grade art pipe. But my experience with a new Thames Oak Dunhill that my wife bought me for Christmas a while back leads me to suspect that actually smoking it would take some getting used to. Feeling nervous about whether or not I'm wrecking the thing is not exactly what I look for when enjoying a pipe. But since my worry is indexed to my means, I'm sure that it would kick in at a different point if I made more or less. BTW, through diligent practice I did get manage to acclimate myself to that T.O.

    Michael
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    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. brass

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    I could see spending somewhere south of $500 for a pipe. But when shopping, I look for aesthetics, smoking qualities, weight and value.

    Thus far, I haven't had to spend more than $100 to find pipes that met my checklist - mostly Savinellis and Stanwells. I should mention that I buy estate pipes and that some sold for over $200 originally.

    Once pipes approach the $500 mark, my mind automatically starts going through the alternatives that that $500 could buy: smaller debt load, a new fly rod, fly reels, a new fishing kayak, a nice weekend trip for me and my wife, a college bond for my grandson, food and/or medicine for starving, hurting children, extra bullets to fight Islamic Terrorists, a meal of lifetime for two, or yes, a new pipe or perhaps an old Sea Rock or two. Don't think I'd ever spend much on a Dunny. I just don't get the attraction. But I'm sure some Dunhill owners feel the same about Sea Rocks.

    Now, if someone were to gift me any pipe I chose, I just might choose one by Anne Julie. She has created some distinctive and truly beautiful pipes to my eye. And I would smoke it.

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    Posted 5 months ago #
  33. mso489

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    Price point is a matter of perspective. Some people lose perspective and spend money on pipes that needs to go to their expenses, but most do not. Most people in most areas struggle along to meet their needs, but a few break through financially and end up, suddenly or slowly, having many many times what they need to meet their needs. To these folks, a three thousand dollar pipe is like a fifty dollar pipe to me, a decision but not a major one. If you've just bought your fifth home, this one in Tuscany, and you spend serious time figuring out how to tax shelter your m/billions, two or twenty grand on a pipe is not an all-nighter decision. It seems to me that you can have much pleasure and challenge buying at the lower or medium end of things. You can get shabby, poorly smoking pipe at these levels, or pipes that smoke as well as any, and that's the pleasure of the chase.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  34. jackswilling

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    "Thus far, I haven't had to spend more than $100 to find pipes that met my checklist - mostly Savinellis and Stanwells. I should mention that I buy estate pipes and that some sold for over $200 originally."

    This is a good zombie thread to revive. I agree with brass.

    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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    Posted 5 months ago #
  35. settersbrace

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    Everyone, well almost everyone, has their limit on what they are willing to spend and whatever that number is I sincerely hope they get their money's worth. I've never been financially secure enough to drop $2500 on a pipe and never will be but I've got some nice pipes and some great smokers. That's all any of us can hope for, really. I can think of one man I know that if he were to get into pipe smoking today would no doubt by weeks end have at least one seven day set under commission by some well known and expensive carver. He would be buying up every ribbon of impossible to get tobacco on e-bay and would have already secured reservations for hotel rooms near all the worlds major pipe shows. I know this to be true because I've seen him in action when he's gotten interested in other "hobbies". There are folks like this among us, possibly more than one would think and that's why expensive pieces get bought.

    De gustibus et cloribus non disputandum.
    'There is no arguing about tastes and colours.'
    Posted 5 months ago #
  36. cosmicfolklore

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    Not all pipe smokers have the same budgets as us. Not all people have the same budget. I can buy a shirt down the road for $500. I can have a pair of shoes made for $2000. People will spend over a million of diamond rings. Ever fly and peruse the "Sky Mall" catalog in the airplane? You can buy toasters for $3000, no joke. There are people who just want what they think of as luxury. The price tag deprecates them for the "everyone else" of the world.

    My jewelry is made and sold mostly for the everyday person, but I've visited shops that sell lesser quality stones for more zeros than I feel comfortable with. There was a barber in Birmingham for a while that charged $800 a haircut and offered high end cigars and drinks for their customers. There is just a world out there that we just cannot imagine. We can hate it, feel jealous, make fun of it or whatever, but it is going to exist despite what we think of it.

    Champagne wishes and caviar dreams... It is what it is.

    Michael

    I applaud everyone who has chosen not to be offended at something. Keep up the good work!!
    Posted 5 months ago #
  37. jackswilling

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    If you have the money get the best of the best. I don't sense any class envy going on here. I am glad that great, fantastic, extreme things are made/created and people buy them. God Bless them all.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  38. wyfbane

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    I agree with most of what was said. I can see spending $ on a hand made pipe or an older piece of history. I have spent $325 on a pipe and can see the value in it.

    I like what brass and cosmic said. There does come a time when you need to weigh out how much you are spending on a pipe and what else you can do with that money.

    And there will always be the crazy upper end market for any commodity.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  39. daimyo

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    I should point out that in most collecting circles, true value is based on what more than one person will pay for an item. This helps weed out anomalies and those who simply overpay. Now of course to a seller, what one person is willing is all that really matters but in most collecting fields people want to know the actual value of items. If Joe Blow spends 100k on an item but it will never sell for that price ever again and would only fetch 50k at an auction then the item is worth 50k and the buyer overpaid by 50k. That said, the buyer may be perfectly fine with that. Of course truly one of a kind items must be valued differently than the average collectible.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  40. sablebrush52

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    To these folks, a three thousand dollar pipe is like a fifty dollar pipe to me, a decision but not a major one. If you've just bought your fifth home, this one in Tuscany, and you spend serious time figuring out how to tax shelter your m/billions, two or twenty grand on a pipe is not an all-nighter decision.

    I know a great many very wealthy people and they didn't get that way by being profligate with their money - at least the ones who actually earned it. They will spend on family, a nice wedding, monetary gifts to other family members, that sort of thing, as well as charitable gifts. But you can bet your bottom dollar that that "fifth home" will happen only if it will appreciate and provide a handsome profit when sold. None of them ever offer to pick up the check and you can also bet that they will calculate to the penny their share of the bill, plus tip, assuming that they believe in tipping.

    If one looks at a pipe from a strictly utilitarian standpoint - a piece of wood or some other material with two holes drilled in it for the purpose of combusting and inhaling a noxious weed - then there is no justification for spending more than a minimal amount, say, between $50 and $100 if new. And no pipe is worth more than that and could probably valued at less.

    So above that price point other factors are involved, subjective factors that vary from person to person. Once one enters the world of subjectivity there are no absolute definitions.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain
    Posted 5 months ago #
  41. ssjones

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    Some need a $1000 fly rod, others just hit Kmart. Both catch the same fish. Same for exotic cars and motorcycle. Every consumer item has an upper end. Interesting, in this hobby, if so inclined, many could scrape up $500 for a Castello. But most of us would be shut out trying to buy a $250,000 Ferrari.

    Al

    Posted 5 months ago #
  42. gloucesterman

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    Is a Caddy worth more than a Chevy? Both will get you from point A to B. The difference then is beyond the pure function. As Sablebrush points out it's subjective and that makes the choice personal. Collector anything will bring prices higher than pure utility. Admittedly I'm a "utility guy". I buy my pipes to smoke but some folks buy them as an investment. Which is right and which is wrong? Who can say?

    Posted 5 months ago #
  43. delro

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    I pipe is worth whatever the beholder is willing to pay easy answer

    Posted 5 months ago #
  44. raevans

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    I can see how certain pipes would command a high price, for example, a Talbert Halloween pipe. It's unique, one of a kind and very rare. Not everyone has the ability to make something so creative. High price? You bet. A Ser Jaq triple maxima diamond? Yep. The rarity of such a big piece of briar that turns out so perfect that some years none can be produced. A Dunhill ODF? Once again yes. However, I never really could see the high price tag of some of the pipes the Danes are making. Don't get me wrong, they are indeed very talented artisans, but when I see a billiard going for a couple of thousand or more? I just don't get it. It's a billiard. There are thousands of billiards out there. Nothing unique or special. Paying for the name or family legacy? Probably. Does it smoke any better? The ones that I have smoked, not really. Same with some of the American artisans. I have seen a partially rusticated pipe with a three thousand dollar price tag on it. I'm not sure why anyone would think that a flawed pipe, (the reason it's rusticated in the first place is because there is an imperfection in the briar), would merit such a price. Same with some of the blasts, the very reason that they have been sandblasted is due to imperfections in the briar. Like I said, I just don't get some of the prices being asked for. That being said, I am also all for capitalism. If a person can get that kind of green for a pipe, then more power to them. If a person is happy paying that kind of a price, then go for it. it's your money, spend it however you see fit. Like it has been said many times already, a pipes worth is what a person is willing to pay for it.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  45. danielplainview

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    Some see a pipe as a tool, while others see art. I see them as both. A Ford Pinto will get you to the grocery store, so why buy a Rolls Royce? I admire Picasso but I'm on a Bob Ross budget. There is a place for everyone in this hobby from $12 cobs to $12K briars, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

    I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane.
    ~George Orwell
    Posted 5 months ago #
  46. lordofthepiperings

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    I agree, they're worth whatever someone is willing to pay for them.

    I do think that when you jump into the $150 and higher range you are getting a better pipe. Most, and I stress most, pipes at that price range and up usually are engineered better and give an wonderful smoking experience more consistently.

    When you jump into the $1,000+ range I think it's becoming more of an investment than a means by which to enjoy tobacco. I haven't personally experienced it, but I'd venture to say the engineering and smoking experience can't be much greater than a $500 pipe.

    Unless I hit Mega Bucks (that's what he have in Vegas instead of the lottery) I doubt I'll ever spend more than $500 on a pipe.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    frozenchurchwarden

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    I was browsing for pipes the other week when I came across a recommendation for Jan Pietenpauw.
    His description of pipe value seems true enough:

    Only recently did I start carving "proper" pipes and thought that I might offer some for sale. My pipes are reasonably priced (some are downright cheap) only because I am not as famous yet as some of the great names in pipe lore.

    He actually changed the quote on his website recently but Pipedia still has the old one that I think better explains the industry, though he may have decided recently that his motivation for not asking more is different than it once was.
    Another example I can think of is Randy Wiley, surely he's been in the industry long enough to command a higher price. I would bet the only difference between his pipes and a "high grade" would be that he isn't a second generation maker from Italy.
    You can probably say the same for a Savinelli, the price is mostly just representative of availability. If Ashton made 100,000 pipes every year they might cost a little less too.
    The bottom line as I see it is simply supply and demand. Someone doing exceptional work will eventually have more customers than time, then the customers bid each other up, and the average price goes well beyond the practical value of the product. High prices are probably just an indicator of supply.

    I have a small collection of British pipes, and I purchased them knowing full well that a good part of that price was the "Made In England" stamp. I've come to accept that the only part of those pipes I expect to be functionally superior to a factory pipe is the Briar selection and treatment (and even oil curing is largely for aesthetic purposes).
    In fact once I get the excessive bowl coating out of the draft hole my $40 Rossi will probably smoke better than my $280 Ashton.
    I didn't run out and buy an Ashton the moment I read about them though, it took a few months between starting and actually making a purchase. I have two of those now (the second on a deep discount), and hopefully they're also my last.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  48. sparrowhawk

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    I agree with much here. For me, it comes down to: does this pipe speak to me, and can I afford it. Such was the case with the recent Peterson Dracula I picked up last weekend. It was also a better than average price, and I thought about the fact that I would hate myself later if I didn't get this pipe. Usually about $150 is my range, with very rare exception like the volcano appearing in other threads, which went to nearly $240, but was an exceptionally worthy pipe and a one-of-a-kind.
    Here's the Peterson:

    And the volcano:

    There is no beauty without some strangeness in proportion.
    Posted 5 months ago #
  49. sablebrush52

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    However, I never really could see the high price tag of some of the pipes the Danes are making.

    There's a mystique to the best known Danish carvers and their work has become a status symbol. In Asia, gifts of Danish pipes have become a way to seal lucrative business deals. If spending $30,000 on a Knudsen nets you a multimillion dollar contract it's worth the money. None of this reflects the smoking properties of these pipes. I like my Knudsen and it was worth every penny of the $140 that I spent to purchase it. $30,000? No way. Does it smoke well? Yep. Does it smoke 100 times better than any other pipe that I own? Of course not.

    The most expensive pipes that I own are ones that I will never smoke. Why, outside of insanity, do I have them? Because, I love the historical aspects of this hobby and these unsmoked pipes of more than a century of age function like a time machine for me. I simply enjoy having them. We collect for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways. Little of it is purely logical.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  50. chasingembers

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    Said different ways, but all the same meaning. A pipe is worth what the buyer is willing to pay for it. Was talking to my friend Bruce Weaver a couple of hours ago about a new commission. I love his work, and honestly do not mind parting with $500+ for one of his pipes. I find them very pleasing aesthetically, and wonderful smokers. Would I spend that on any Dunhill, nope. Don't care for them at all, and that just comes down to what I am willing to pay.

    “I like coffee exceedingly...”
    ― H.P. Lovecraft
    Posted 5 months ago #
  51. jkrug

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    What an awesome thread revival!!

    Here's my take on it. While I would not personally spend thousands on a pipe there are things/items that bring me much joy and put a smile on my face that I am willing to spend great sums of money on. Most of my pipes are in the $125-$200 range. Many are less than that, none are more than that. I would consider spending $300-$400 on a pipe occasionally if I had the extra funds available, perhaps for a special occasion? My pipes put a smile on my face.

    I enjoy the hobby of radio controlled car racing. To some this is a serious competitive hobby. I have a couple racing trucks worth close to $2500 each. Many folks gasp and ask how I could spend so much money on a toy. My bills are still getting paid, my kids schooling paid for, good food on the table, etc. I work hard long hours for my paychecks and my rc cars put a smile on my face. To me it's just that simple.

    There are plenty of examples of things that bring great pleasure to one but mean little to another. Art, watches, wine, automobiles, travel, tatoos and on and on and on. The list is endless.

    As a counter point I see others spending huge sums of money on things that don't have any particular pleasure value to me. As long as they are happy and their kids aren't going hungry in order for them to indulge themselves, then good for them.

    Perhaps I am a simple man but I believe if you can afford it and it puts a smile on your face...do it and be happy!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  52. beastkhk

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    My concern pertains to the artificial inflation that these higher priced pipes will/do cascade down to the entry level pipes. A good quality pipe under $100 dollars can be hard to find, there are pipes under $100 which are smoke-able, but a good quality one doesn't seem to be as easy a feat as it may have been in the past.

    Increasing the cost of entry into the hobby raises the risk of deterring interested parties, in turn threatens the future of the hobby as a whole.

    This forum helps mitigate that by being a resource for potential pipe smokers to become informed; not everyone will stumble onto this forum though, some will just find it too expensive to try/start.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  53. lordofthepiperings

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    Increasing the cost of entry into the hobby raises the risk of deterring interested parties, in turn threatens the future of the hobby as a whole.

    There's always cobs. Don't think those will ever crack the $100 mark.

    Posted 5 months ago #
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    frozenchurchwarden

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    http://www.rsantiapipes.com/

    Too late!

    Posted 5 months ago #
  55. sparrowhawk

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    The Cayuga line of pipes at Paul's Pipe Shop in Flint, Mi, are equal to many $100 pipes elsewhere. Try one of their oil cured shell briars at $45. You won't believe it! Their website isn't impressive, but call them, tell them what you want, they'll send you a photo/s. I currently have five Cayugas and plan to get more.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  56. pipebaum81

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    Great ideas regarding perhaps the most fundamental question a pipe collector could ask. Value to me at this point has a lot to do with physical properties of the pipe. In other words, how much labor dedicated to making the pipe the quality of the materials and workmanship. A factory pipe will only ever be worth so much to me because of these properties. I own a Peterson and a Savinelli and which I love but I know what it takes to manufacture them and that’s why I paid about $100 for each.

    I am working with Marco Biagini of Moretti Pipes for my first commissioned pipe. Thus far the experience has been a joy. He allowed me to offer a sketch of what I was hoping for (and I am not even an artist). We pleasantly went back and forth a couple days putting ideas together and now the pipe is in its staining stages. He has kept me posted daily with photos of every stage of the process. This pipe will cost me less than most new Dunhills yet it comes to me hand-carved from a master craftsman with an amazing experience in tow.

    For me, the value of pipe smoking as a whole is about the entirety of the experience. Buying beautiful, quality pipes at a low cost, finding expensive pipes for cheap, or spending extra for a commission is all a part of the fun.

    j/B

    "I am a firm believer in the idea that who we are today is strongly influenced by the sum total of all of the individuals whom we have had the privilege of knowing."
    -hutertrw
    Posted 5 months ago #
  57. literaryworkshop

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    Fun zombie-thread.

    When it comes to ultra-high prices for a pipe, I can understand it in theory. You consider something to be a work of art that you just want to own, or you expect it to appreciate in value, so you spend the big bucks, hoping to cash in down the road. Or you just have money to burn, and you've got a thing for conspicuous consumption. In some circles, I'm sure there's a lot of social capital in being able to buy an uber-expensive pipe. So sometimes there really is a pragmatic motive behind these kinds of purchases, just not the kind of pragmatism that makes sense to other people.

    For myself, if I want a new pipe, I spend about $20 on materials and make it myself.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  58. menuhin

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    As stated in some previous threads, more than one time, a pipe set was sold for over $100,000 ... and in (the currently really low) EURO in a case of Eltang Calabash pipe I heard.

    I basically agree with most of what the previous posters said in terms of pipes can be valued at the amount one is willing to and can afford to pay, and according to the market's value of that pipe. And I want to mention out two more points. First, as said by sablebbrush52 for a few times, there may be some value if the pipe has other attributes like an interesting provenance, e.g. Einstein's pipe. A pipe may have some personal history, such as one's beloved late grandfather passed on that pipe to him in his 18th birthday. Would that person sell that pipe? Perhaps, but probably not in most cases.

    Another aspect is that, it is difficulty to measure how good a pipe is by money worth and even by time put into creating a pipe. I heard new 'artisan' pipe makers of experience less than 3-5 years are charging over 1000, while I believe smaller surviving factories especially in early days have master pipe makers who are talented and skilled and experienced, but they just do not aspire to go out to open a business themselves like Ivarsson and Eltang, or similarly Sasieni. Masters can make design decisions and execute the process spot on in a fraction of the time a relatively newcomer may have to spend much longer to do and even not as well. And what if this master came from a smaller factory and is only only known by his colleagues to be the master of say creating billiard shape pipes?

    We are all paying for pipes at a rate what we are willing to dedicate to this hobby. However, market values of pipes fluctuate, and it fluctuates with the popularity of pipe-smoking culture and how well it is accepted by the general public.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  59. 4nogginsmike

    4nogginsmike

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    I was swept up in pipe culture earlier this year. I regularly cruised half a dozen sites. When I invest the time and interest in pipe aesthetics, however dimly I perceive them, I am rewarded, seeing that which tickles my artistic sensibility. In so doing I began to think that anything under $400.00 was a great value. Meanwhile such study amplified my pipe acquisivity. During this period I bought a half-dozen pipes but stayed conscious of value and financial restraint, and I also bought my first pipe that I consider too beautiful to smoke. Whether it will stay unsmoked by me is another story.

    At any rate, for me there is the phenomena of "pipe fever" that I need to avoid. To me cobs smoke equally as well my finest briars, and I've been smoking a lot of cobs since. Gives me the cash to afford Condor and the other European plugs. Meanwhile I'm wearing shoes that should have been replaced a long time ago. Since I discovered the pipe 15 years ago, I'm only interested in spending on tobacco, pipes and cigars. Ahh, what a life:).

    Posted 5 months ago #
  60. lordofthepiperings

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    http://www.rsantiapipes.com/

    Too late!

    I don't count those, because they're modified. I mean a plain old Missouri Meerschaum stock corn cob.

    Posted 5 months ago #

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