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petes03

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
6,007
6,795
The Hills of Tennessee
This is a thread I’ve wanted to post for several years now, just never got around to it.
I greatly admire the skill and craftsmanship that goes into hand made, and even high end “factory” pipes. That being said, I don’t see the reason that any pipe, made by a living carver, should cost that much. For my part, I can’t justify spending more than a couple hundred on a pipe. Even if I could afford to spend $1k if more on a pipe, I don’t think I ever would. Some pipes really hit the stratosphere with their prices, especially with the great carvers of the past, i.e. Bo Nordh. I’ve seen some of his sell for $50,000! I simply can’t imagine spending that.
I have several artisan pipes, non of which I spent more than a couple hundred on. I honestly can’t imagine how some of these astronomically priced briars could smoke that much better....
What are your thoughts?
 

ChickenT00th

Member
Apr 30, 2020
108
387
I'm not as experienced as most here. But for me personally, it's hard to want to spend more than $100 on a pipe. Because of what I do for a living, a lot of my money has to go into new gear. Microphones, preamps, new instruments etc. helps grow what I do as a musician and in turn brings new opportunities. But those things are not cheap! I also feel this way because I'd rather spend $100 on more tobacco to smoke out of my 4 pipes. Ha.

I would really love to have some artisan pipes, and I respect the art and craftsmanship of it. But sadly at the moment it's just not in the cards. That said, I often wonder what kind of pipe smoker facilitates the demand for some of these $1,000+ pipes! $50,000 of play money to burn? No thanks, I'll put a downpayment on a new house with a couple acres, or a boat or something. Can't even imagine that level of money where I have $50,000 to mess around with!
 

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agnosticpipe

Preferred Member
Nov 3, 2013
2,814
823
Well as Freud said, sometimes a pipe is just a pipe, or something like that. I'll have to agree with you that big buck pipes don't always smoke better, but then people buy them more for their collectable value rather than their smoking value. I have $10 pipes that smoke as well as $100 pipes. Smoke what you like, like what you smoke, has been said more times than I can remember on this forum. To each his or her own. nnnn
 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
4,230
6,159
Austin, TX
This is a thread I’ve wanted to post for several years now, just never got around to it.
I greatly admire the skill and craftsmanship that goes into hand made, and even high end “factory” pipes. That being said, I don’t see the reason that any pipe, made by a living carver, should cost that much. For my part, I can’t justify spending more than a couple hundred on a pipe. Even if I could afford to spend $1k if more on a pipe, I don’t think I ever would. Some pipes really hit the stratosphere with their prices, especially with the great carvers of the past, i.e. Bo Nordh. I’ve seen some of his sell for $50,000! I simply can’t imagine spending that.
I have several artisan pipes, non of which I spent more than a couple hundred on. I honestly can’t imagine how some of these astronomically priced briars could smoke that much better....
What are your thoughts?
My thoughts are pretty much the same as yours. The most I spent on a pipe is $500, the least I spent on a pipe was my Colossus Masterpiece (a $2 no name pipe) that smokes better than my $500 pipe. I do like the look of some of the higher end artisan pipes but I doubt I’ll ever buy another high end pipe. All my money goes towards tobacco (or did, I’m essentially done with my cellar) but I get just as much pleasure from my factory pipes as I do from my high end pipe. But then again I’ve never really been into pipes like others here on the forums, I’m all about the tobacco. I have about 150 pipes in total, most are less than $100 each.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
4,351
9,228
The pipes are worth it as long as there are people willing to pay the price. A point is reached where you aren't paying for smoking quality. You're paying for name, exclusivity and rarity. It's no different with just about every product. You reach a point where you cannot attribute tangible value to the higher price.
 

BROBS

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2019
8,632
26,836
38
IA
The pipes are worth it as long as there are people willing to pay the price. A point is reached where you aren't paying for smoking quality. You're paying for name, exclusivity and rarity. It's no different with just about every product. You reach a point where you cannot attribute tangible value to the higher price.
Exactly.
And as @ofafeather said: there are more people who collect those kinds of pipes than smoke them (I believe), oddly enough.

I believe that’s why now there are so many unsmoked estates IMo. Lots of people collected but didn’t smoke all their pipes.
 

petes03

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
6,007
6,795
The Hills of Tennessee
Exactly.
And as @ofafeather said: there are more people who collect those kinds of pipes than smoke them (I believe), oddly enough.

I believe that’s why now there are so many unsmoked estates IMo. Lots of people collected but didn’t smoke all their pipes.
I get that, in a way.... I love collecting things, but it’s almost unfathomable to me to buy something without using it. I’m that way with my pipes, guns, tools etc. I do have a few knives that have never been used, and never will, but they’re nowhere near the ballpark of $1k. I also have an antique ratchet and adjustable wrench collection, but most, if not all of them were used in a previous life.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
I'm not as experienced as most here. But for me personally, it's hard to want to spend more than $100 on a pipe. Because of what I do for a living, a lot of my money has to go into new gear. Microphones, preamps, new instruments etc. helps grow what I do as a musician and in turn brings new opportunities. But those things are not cheap! I also feel this way because I'd rather spend $100 on more tobacco to smoke out of my 4 pipes. Ha.

I would really love to have some artisan pipes, and I respect the art and craftsmanship of it. But sadly at the moment it's just not in the cards. That said, I often wonder what kind of pipe smoker facilitates the demand for some of these $1,000+ pipes! $50,000 of play money to burn? No thanks, I'll put a downpayment on a new house with a couple acres, or a boat or something. Can't even imagine that level of money where I have $50,000 to mess around with!
you know how when you buy a bass you get less and less at each additional price point. Like how the cheapest are so much worse then the next step up but there is a point where after about a thousand you're not really getting a better instrument? I hope that made sense, cause I think the same thing is happening with high end pipes. After about a hundred you're not getting much more.
 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,616
7,968
If that rare perfection of shape meets grain is important and you have the eye to appreciate it, a $1000+ pipe may bring some significant pleasure, worth the money. I have the eye to appreciate it, but not the interest in spending that kind of money.

Where it matters to me is in the way the airway and bit are shaped. There can be more work in a well executed stem and bit than in the bowl and shank. Comfort and a smooth draw is something that I do appreciate. But, I don't have to spend four figures to get that.
 

karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
582
1,960
Athens, Greece
you know how when you buy a bass you get less and less at each additional price point. Like how the cheapest are so much worse then the next step up but there is a point where after about a thousand you're not really getting a better instrument? I hope that made sense, cause I think the same thing is happening with high end pipes. After about a hundred you're not getting much more.
It's diminishing returns, I understood the point perfectly when I went from a cheap, rubbish little camera to my first DSLR: the jump in performance from from $50 to $500 is more than ten-fold, after than in my amateur hands a $600 does next to nothing better than the $500, and the curve flattens even more after that, with only the skill of the operator improving returns.
In other gear, let's say top boxes for cars which I shopped for last year, a lot of the gains past the "standard" price point is quality of life aspects (ease of taking it off, ergonomics of the lid), aerodynamics for fuel consumption etc but NOT how well the box functions as a place to put things in.

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craig61a

Preferred Member
Apr 29, 2017
1,526
8,264
There are “pipes”, and then there are Pipes...

Some are utilitarian factory pieces, cranked out by the 1000’s, while others are handmade by carvers who might turn out a few hundred pipes a year or even less. They look fairly good and smoke well, and are affordable for most pipe smokers...

Then there are those pipes made by certain carvers that have established a name and a significant following, who’s work is at another level.

Not really much difference than other types of collectibles.

Myself, I’ve never dropped more that $600 on a pipe. Of the 300 or so pipes I’ve managed to acquire over the last few decades, I find that most smoke quite well, some really stand out. And not necessarily because they were more expensive.

I enjoy looking at the $1000+ pipes at some of the vendors, and I can appreciate them. And more power to people who choose to buy them.

As was mentioned, once you get to a certain point, there are diminishing returns.
 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
6,256
5,120
Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
If you have the means to spend $38,600 on a new pipe studded with diamonds and that's your thing, go for it. I would suggest there are better ways to spend that money, but its not my money.

I've bought things that I'm sure some of you would consider expensive for what it is. I bought a safety razor for $100 (why use that when a cheap bic will scrape the hair of your face?), I've bought a new TECSUN shortwave radio for $120 (why struggle with radio signals when you can just listen online?)

Its all relative I guess.
 

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