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How much is a pipe really worth?

(31 posts)
  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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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.


    "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." Winston Churchill
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    Posted 3 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 3 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.

    Does a culture based on separation and competition, of scientific sophistication and mideval religion, offer happiness even as it ravishes the Earth that sustains it?
    Posted 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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
    “Hoplophobia is a mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons, as opposed to justified apprehension about those who may wield them.”
    – To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth
    Posted 3 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.

    A Dubliner in Amsterdam just doing his thing on Youtube.
    Posted 3 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
    To hurry through one's leisure is the most unbusiness-like of actions.-- Chesterton
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/obelus1/sets/72157625700632656/
    Posted 3 years ago #

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