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New versus estate pipes

(39 posts)
  1. brudnod

    Spencer

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    As a member who checks-out eBay estate pipes on a regular basis I have wondering if some estate pipes are worth their full "as new" value at time of sale. Factors include:

    - Availability of the pipe brand or particular style (some makers are no longer, such as Åge Bogelund)
    - Condition of pipe (obviously some pipes have been abused but others are pristine AND include box and sock)
    - Age (collectible pipes are more collectible with time)
    - Maturity (by this I mean a good cake and otherwise obviously well maintained)
    - Type of tobacco smoked (some of us would be horrified if a pipe had an aromatic ghost; others English)

    The reason for asking is that there are certain pipes, such as Petersons, which are produced in abundance, are admittedly rather consistently good smokers, often have a lovely silver band but are otherwise in very common condition AND are selling for near new prices. Why is this? Not talking about deceptive advertising; just pipes that are well represented but just not special.

    Thoughts?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  2. chasingembers

    Embers

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    I will only pay up to $100 on any pipe other than my commissioned Weavers, but alot of the noise for estates, is brand, grain, condition, and I think alot of scalping.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Thoughts? Well since you asked ... FleaBay at most times is a great place for comedic laughter and many of the offerings are not worth even half of what sellers are asking.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  4. mso489

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    spencer, that's a really interesting point. Some estate pipes seem to demand prices that are surprisingly near
    new pipe price. I also wonder, looking at some of the higher estate pipe prices, if customers compare what
    they could buy for that same $375 and really think the elevated name and maybe some historical panache
    really beats the benefits of a good buy on a new pipe at the same price. There are certainly savings to be
    had with estate pipes over new pipes, but at any given price the benefits versus the down side seems somewhat
    subjective. Some are devoted to estate pipes and own nothing else. It's almost a philosophical question.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  5. derfargin

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    Any item is worth what ANYONE is willing to pay. It's that simple.

    There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary, and those who don't.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  6. brudnod

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    Derfargin, congratulations on 1,000 posts!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  7. iamn8

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    If I'd purchased only new pipes my collection would look DRAMATICALLY different than it does. For example, my Kent Rasmussen If purchased new would've cost well over 3k. My much adored Dunhill 5128 Diplomat Dress would've cost me well above a grand. By purchasing USED pipes I save, on average, around 60%. If I won the lottery tomorrow i'd still only buy used pipes. I just can't justify paying new prices with the taste in pipes I have. Buying from the blue chip eBay sellers who all accept returns, is perfectly safe, even more so than if I bought new. I can't think of a single rational reason to buy a new pipe.... But to each his/her own

    Nate @ Moody AL
    Posted 4 years ago #
  8. pylorns

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    I have noticed that over the past couple years Peterson Pipes have increased in their resale value on ebay. Not sure what the trend is, I guess just more pipe smokers.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  9. warren

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    Also, there are collectors of Peterson or other marques exclusively. Even a rather mundane looking pipe may be needed for such a collection. Get two such collectors bidding against each other and the sky's the limit.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 4 years ago #
  10. delkhouri

    delkhouri

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    I couple months ago i actually saw a smoked estate Thomas James pipe sell for more then what Thomas Sold it for new.

    "I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand"
    ~ C.S. Lewis
    Posted 4 years ago #
  11. mso489

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    iamn8 makes a solid case for estate pipes, if you want only really high end pipes and you aren't wealthy
    such that you can comfortably buy them new, it's the only choice. Since I savor my Yello-Bole Checker
    and Kaywoodie Saxon as well as medium and somewhat higher priced pipes, that wouldn't apply so much
    to me, but I take the point. If you want to drive a Rolls Royce and you aren't ready to spend $400,000 on
    a new one, used is the clear option.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  12. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    People buy what they buy for a wide variety of reasons. If your reasoning is purely pragmatic, then a few cobbs, perhaps a couple of briars and a few blends are all you need to have a fabulous experience.

    To the extent that one varies off of this base, other factors are involved. I buy on the estate market because most of the pipes that interest me are no longer made. I like the older shapes, the finer grades of wood, the different cutting styles and grain patterns that are no longer followed, and the history that surrounds some of these pieces. I do buy the occasional new pipe and commission a few as well. But by and large I buy used, look for the best value that I can get, win some, lose some, and keep a healthy skepticism toward claims.

    The market for estate pipes has exploded. Before the financial meltdown of 2007 there were on average about 5000 pipes listed on eBay on any given day. Now it's more like 30,000. And there are a lot more buyers hunting for estates, and for specific areas in the estate market. This drives prices up. When the next financial meltdown hits, as it will, you will have your opportunity to buy some currently pricey stuff for less, a LOT less. Just be patient.

    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 4 years ago #
  13. iamn8

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    Sable, I'm holding you to that!! When is the meltdown gonna happen? I might open a savings account specifically for the occurrence. Forgetting about all the obvious bad, what a terrific time for those who love the nice pipes for the sake of the pipe and not the value. I'm trying to put a positive spin on a financial meltdown

    Posted 4 years ago #
  14. brass

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    Derfargin, congrats on the 1K mark in posts. Regarding your comment, I agree that a fair price is any price the parties agree to - with the exception that the product and circumstances around the product are presented accurately and completely and any defects or factors affecting value are disclosed.

    If a car was submerged in a flood, it should be disclosed to the potential purchaser.

    What is isn't so clear is what are the ethical obligations a buyer has to educate an ignorant seller, e.g., the widow who is offering a decent Dunhill that her recently deceased husband owned and asks if $20 is to much? Would it make a difference if it were an Uncle that had passed away?

    I recently paid $56.00 for 8oz of Stonehaven. I know the MSRP is $39.95, give or take a few cents. But I willingly paid the price. (The vendor did not tell me what the MSRP was)

    But to the main point, I'm convinced some new pipes are vastly over-priced as are some estates. And there are very good values, even in common factory made pipes. There is a point where the value lies in the eyes of the beholder. I guess eBay makes it's money on this dynamic.

    So, much for my two cents worth. (the going market price for advice. past performance is not a predictor of current or future value)

    Pax

    Posted 4 years ago #
  15. dukdalf

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    The estate business is indeed a source of wonder and laughter and not only at the higher end: I've seen completely chewed-up, battered and burned 5-dollar pipes change hands for double, the buyer happily investing another five in sandpaper, alcohol and cleaners and what have you. Rational reasoning is excluded in all cases where a pipe is involved, would be my conclusion.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  16. iamn8

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    I posted this elsewhere, but it's après po here.
    Early on I made a goal to locate a Dunhill from my fathers birth year of 1944, not thinking it through enough to realize how difficult this would be. It took daily searches to find one and it's the only 1944 I've seen then or since. It went under the radar due to a misspelling. I'd have paid 3x what I ended up paying. If I had, there most certainly would've been talk of the crazy price it went for. You never know people's motivations. If there'd been two of us vying for it... Who knows

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    You make it sound like FleaBay has just exploded with pipes when you say there are 30,000 or so pipes currently listed. Now the question is with the explosion of FleaBay being used as store fronts for individuals who are not auctioning but just listing salable inventory ... well how many of these 30,000 pipes are actual auctions? Probably pretty close or even less than what was 8 years ago.

    BTW ... most of the FleaBay store fronts selling pipes are way overpriced and those store fronts that are offering an auction type sale never sell a thing since the starting prices are usually set at what the buy it now price is which is basically full retail price.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  18. condorlover1

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    I have noticed the price of meerschaum 'cutty' pipes has sky rocketed recently out all proportion to reality. I smoke these things and I am totally blown away by the multiples some of these things are fetching. Meerschaum 'cutty' Church Wardens without the case are selling for a tad under $350 on Oi Vay and the amber stems are totally fecked and in some cases have been shortened due to breakage and then glued in place. I have always purchased estate meerschaums in this style as someone else has broken them in for you. The meerschaum is well and truly cured and hard with a large chunk of the coloring done for you by someone else a hundred years ago and you get a unique style that is not made today. As Sablebrush comments there is an awful lot of dross on the market right now and I for one will not pay up for something that will need to be sent immediately to Tim West or Briarville to be fixed before it can be smoked. At present unless the item is extremely choice I have stopped buying across the board since I think the prices are certainly due for a correction. Some of the prices being asked for Dunhill's and the like are nothing short of insane. We all remember the auction a few months ago for the little Dunhill pipe that sold for insane amounts of wonga!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  19. allan

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    All of the above points are valid including Sable's mention of 2 bidders in a room and watch the prices fly.

    I was at an auction where inexperienced buyers went into a frenzy, bidding on a small machine for more than the price of a new machine. (Ring stretcher-jewelry tool). I turned to someone next to me and said this is nuts and would have walked out except I purchased one piece of equipment no one else cared about for $5.00.

    In the last 2 years or so, I've noticed fleabay prices climbing and as long as there are willing buyers, I guess that's the way it is. I don't think I have enough years left to wait for the next crash.

    IMHO, as a rule, the 'estate' market, as long as one doesn't care about someone else's usage and being grossed out, is the best value if you are a smart shopper.

    Allan
    Posted 4 years ago #
  20. pipebaum81

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    iamn8, as someone who's never procured an estate (yet) I would tell you I like buying new because the pipe's story is mine alone. Both through practical use as well as sentimental journey, I know where it's been, how it was cared for etc. With that said, I am in the market for estates for the precise reason sable offered; the older vintages that offer quality as well as legacy-style that are no longer available have virtue in my mind.

    This forum has those that see to really put a lot into "breaking in" a pipe. I would imagine that buying a fully seasoned pipe would have some monetary value. Sorta like the crowd that buys a faded and or torn pair of jeans at full price. I get that they don’t want to put in the time to get to the worn vintage look that they just need now but to me if something is used it should be at a lesser value than new except in the case that age enhances its performance as an functional item. This may put me in a different crowd than most but hey, I'll be ok.

    "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."
    -huntertrw
    Posted 4 years ago #
  21. warren

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    Smokers as a class are aging. Therefore, heirs looking for a buck, will now days sell pipes as opposed to simply trashing them. More pipers are eating dirt, or soon will be, so more pipes are going to appear on-line, at estate sales and in hock shops.

    With regards to the observation about buying used pipes for the lack of need to break-in. I suspect most of the pipes obtained this way are thoroughly cleaned and reamed, making the break-in necessary. A lot of buyers are cleaning, repairing and just generally refurbishing for resale. And, if the pipe is purchased to smoke, it will certainly get a thorough clean and ream as one never knows what the previous owner was putting in the bowl from either end. A well seasoned pipe takes a lot of work before in goes into buyer's mouth or back to eBay.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  22. iamn8

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    Pipebaum, there are many benefits in buying estate pipes and even more when you purchase them from the blue chip sellers. The Dunhill's I've procured from them, I'd be willing to bet a Dunhill pipe that you couldn't tell the difference between one of my unsmoked Dunhills and the "used" ones. They clean them with the hands of a surgeon. Now I can understand that to some, knowing it had been another's mouth might cause distress, but so has every eating utensil you've ever used in a restaurant. These guys clean and satanize, the blue chips, not every seller. An unsmoked pipe, never seen a flame can be had for a fraction of a new.
    That said, I would advise all others to only purchase new pipes, never buy an estate pipe!! Our estates must come from those who buy them new and I don't wish to play a part in a deduction in supply. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking you should buy a new Dunhill Diplomat 6128 in a chestnut finish. You probably won't like it in which case you can simply sell it on eBay
    Of course then there are the true vintage pipes. I've purchased quite a few pre-war Dunhills and post war. I won't state my opinion here, but obviously finding a new one is unlikely.
    Happy Shopping PB!!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  23. pipebaum81

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    As a matter of fact, I'm thinking you should buy a new Dunhill Diplomat 6128 in a chestnut finish. You probably won't like it in which case you can simply sell it on eBay

    Nate, how did you know? Instead of me listing it, how about you and I trade Dunhill for one of your best estates‽‽

    Posted 4 years ago #
  24. iamn8

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    By "best estates" you mean in spirit?

    Posted 4 years ago #
  25. brass

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    I'm a novice estate buyer. I've bought estates from SmokingPipes and from a couple of PM members and have had no regrets.

    The problem with Fleabay for me is that there are SO many listings, that any money I might theoretically save are more than eaten up by time spent looking. Also, I don't have enough knowledge to know a good deal when I see it.

    I buy from the guys here under the assumption that if someone posted a pipe that was significantly over-priced, other members would question it, publicly, loudly and quickly - even if it is another member selling.

    I also will buy from those who get consistent kudos from members, e.g., briarblues, walkerbriarworks.

    I will probably ask for an inspection period when buying estates. I received one that had a plastic ring that looked silver in the photo. My fault for not researching better - It was very much an impulse buy. I spent no more than five minutes looking at specs before I ordered. It is a Savinelli and it smokes great and the collar is distinctive, though plastic.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  26. pipebaum81

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    Nate, I actually meant commissions. I blew the joke. Now I feel

    Posted 4 years ago #
  27. sablebrush52

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    You make it sound like FleaBay has just exploded with pipes when you say there are 30,000 or so pipes currently listed. Now the question is with the explosion of FleaBay being used as store fronts for individuals who are not auctioning but just listing salable inventory ... well how many of these 30,000 pipes are actual auctions? Probably pretty close or even less than what was 8 years ago.

    BTW ... most of the FleaBay store fronts selling pipes are way overpriced and those store fronts that are offering an auction type sale never sell a thing since the starting prices are usually set at what the buy it now price is which is basically full retail price.

    Newbie,

    I said that prior to the 2007 crash on average there were about 5000 listings on any given day and that now it's about 30,000. Seven years is not sudden, though the market did expand over the following year by about 300%.

    As for your assertion that there are less actual auctions today than in 2007, please share your research to back that up. I'd like to know if you actually have some figures for that as opposed to just pulling that out of your fundament.

    I understand that you like to toss bombs here because you get to feel all warm and gooey, but face it, but most of yours are duds.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    graydawn

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    Good response Sable.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    No criticism intended and don't want to pop any balloons, but I would rather have the least expensive new pipes from Radice, Cavicchi, Ser Jacopo, Moretti, Viprati, Jacono, Castello, Ardor, Rinaldo, Ferndown, Nording, Skovgarrd, than estate pipes of any brand at any price. When you consider that the lowest price commissioned Layton pipe is under $300, I cannot buy estates, smoked or unsmoked.

    Posted 4 years ago #
  30. brudnod

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    Some of us like to do the restoration of what may, at first glance, look like a dud. Some of my favorite pipes, estate or otherwise, are ones that required substantial effort and time, may not have smoked great on the first couple of tries, but ended up winners. The result is something that I take a great deal of pride in; hopefully the same pride that the maker put into it.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    Good Day All;

    The discussion of new v estate has a variety of “interesting” opinions.

    This may be a rather long winded post, so please accept my apology in advance.

    A new un smoked pipe is just that. As the buyer you will offer the pipe it’s first light, and any following, for as long as you both agree to stay together. IF you decide to part ways, you will ( in most cases ) take a hit as the value has decreased due to being smoked.

    There are exceptions. If you were to buy a new pipe, and not smoke it for many years and the carver becomes in high demand. Or if the carver sadly passes away. Then the possibility of a profit is there.

    Some pipes do “retain” their value better than others. However this often times will change as the buying market decides that brand Y or carver X is now the new hot commodity.

    With an un smoked pipe it falls upon you to go through the “break in” process. Yes some pipes do “break in” easier than others, and some can take an eternity. Still the task is yours and yours alone.

    If you decide to sell the pipe after you have enjoyed it, the usual rule of thumb is that a pre smoked pipe will sell for about 50% of the current SRP is. Again some do retain their value better than others. Some grades retain their value better than others.

    You’ll need to do your own research to figure out which retain better than others.

    If you do not have the ability to sell the pipe yourself, you then need to rely on a pipe reseller. Pipe sellers do not work for free, although sometimes it feels like it. The fees charged range from 25% to 50%.

    Let’s do some math.

    You buy a pipe new for $300.00. You decide to sell it. Sell it yourself; you should get around $150.00.

    If you send it to a reseller that charges a 50% fee, and the pipe sells for $150.00, you will get $75.00. For other fee percentages, you can do your own math.

    With a pre smoked pipe, in many cases, the pipe will be “broken in” or very close to “broken in”. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a client tell me that they’ve smoked pipe A for years and it just never smoked well. The next owner will then rave about how great the pipe smoked. Did it just magically change? Had the original owner just given the pipe one more chance, would it have turned? Who knows?

    With a pre smoked pipe you may need to deal with the previous owner’s tobacco of choice. You may need to deal with how well they cared for the pipe, or how poorly they cared for the pipe. You may need to do some restoration work.

    Now the math on a pre smoked pipe. You bought a pre smoked pipe for $150.00. You chose to sell it and would ask ??? $150.00. Use a reseller and they would ask $150.00, and at a 50% fee you would get $75.00.

    E-Bay is a truly “interesting animal”. There are far more listings under pipes than ever before. I assume a few reasons for this.

    1 – the buying public on E-Bay is much larger than any individual seller has access to through an independent website.

    2 – the cost of listing items is not great, so anyone can do it.

    3 – the degree of difficulty to create a listing is very low.

    4 – the buying public has access to more pipes on any given day than a large number of independent website.

    As far as the number of items showing at any one time. It is huge. However one must wade through countless pages of stone “tobacco” pipes, glass “tobacco” pipes, hookahs, hookah parts, pipe accessories, and more.

    There are online shops that only use E-Bay as their avenue of sales. IMHO many of these would be just as happy selling widgets, if that is what would sell as opposed to pipes. Indeed there are a few sellers that specifically deal in pipes and vintage tins, and if E-Bay were to eliminate the pipes section, these sellers would not just jump ship and find a different product to sell. These are the dedicated pipe sellers, ones that do it out of their love of pipes and tobaccos. Not just widget salesmen.

    Some sellers, whether it be on E-Bay or on websites have no grasp of reality. I honestly find no humor is seeing a pipe listed at a price that is far greater than it should be. That does very little good for the seller or the buying public. It may taint the way a brand is viewed.

    Collectable pipes are a completely different market. By collectable I suggest pre trans Barlings, large patent era Dunhill’s, high grade Comoy’s, pre republic Peterson’s, pipes carved by any of the Great Danes and pipes carved by exceptional carvers that are no longer with us. The market for “collectable” pipes is NOT the norm. No rules apply. Its dog eat dog. Go for it, or get out of the race. If you can’t handle the heat, get the hell out of the frying pan, as you will get scalded!

    Buying pipes takes knowledge. It takes great care and practice. It takes the utmost of patience.

    There is no new over pre smoked is better or pre smoked is better than new. They are different and depending on what you are looking for must be treated as such.

    Personally I buy both, or maybe better said, when I see something of interest, whether it is pre smoked or not does not matter much. If it is what I believe I would enjoy and the price is right, then it’s all good.

    Remember Mike’s #1 rule about pipe collecting.

    It’s not quantity that wins the race. It is quality! By quality I do mean that the pipe brings you pleasure. No matter if a cob or an Ivarsson.

    Regards
    Michael J. Glukler

    Posted 4 years ago #
  32. wyfbane

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    I love estate pipes. Gives me a chance to have a much broader spectrum to my pipe collection. I like new, but I have zero problems with estates.

    And some, like the older Kaywoodies or whatnot, are a piece of history and are neat pieces of Americana. Can't beat that!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  33. pipebaum81

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    briarblues smashes this out of the park and goes Preferred Member purple in the process. Top notch all the way around. Congrats to one of our finest contributors.

    j/B

    Posted 4 years ago #
  34. allan

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    Mike

    What Pipebaum said.

    Your analysis is spot on.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    I agree, Michael's post provides a great "reset" button in my thinking on pipe purchases.

    Thank you Mike!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  36. layinpipe

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    I think Mike could have posted his bit and this thread could have been closed, because he said it all. Lol, thanks for all your continued knowledge and wisdom over the years, Mike!

    Posted 4 years ago #
  37. warren

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    Mike left out my favorite collector, the shape collector. Marque doesn't really count, condition is a factor, but this collector is primarily after shapes. I knew a guy that collected "bull dogs" and as far as he was concerned the Rhodesian was classed as such under his "rules of acquisition." He must have had a hundred of them when he died. His daughter let me select one which I still have. This was pre-eBay days but, I suspect he'd have been on the site day and night if it had existed.

    And then there are the collectors of clays or meers. Some collectors are really focused, others not so much.

    Posted 4 years ago #
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    robertelliott

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    I like a variety of pipes. One of them is Celius free hands. The pipe maker is now
    deceased. These pipes are now coveted by many collectors. I have made several estate
    purchases and have been more than satisfied. However making a purchase on a new pipe is
    always a thrill .
    " Happy Mortal ! He who knows pleasure which a pipe bostow's "
    Isaac Hawkins Brown

    Posted 4 years ago #
  39. ssjones

    ssjones

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    Buying pipes takes knowledge. It takes great care and practice. It takes the utmost of patience.

    Well said Mike, that observation covers new and estate pipe purchases nicely. I often tell new pipe smokers not to spend much money on pipes in the first year of their experience. I know my tastes changed dramatically over those first 12 months of enjoying the pipe.

    I often wonder what prompted a pipe smoker to sell a particular piece. I imagine some folks have wondered the same thing for pipes that I list. I've sold pipes that didn't work well for my use but are beloved by the new owner. The amount of variables effecting someones satisfaction are huge. Sometimes it is simply a financial motivator prompting a sale.

    I watch hundreds of Ebay auctions weekly from the makers that I enjoy. Over time, that gave me a decent perspective on how a particular piece will sell. It's fun to come up with a final bid price and then see how close you came. As Mike said, when entering the world of rare collectibles, anything can and does happen. (which is also fun to watch unfold)

    Al

    Posted 4 years ago #

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