$1000+ Pipes

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shanez

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Jul 10, 2018
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I really view this as a matter of personal financial management weighed against income weighed against desire which is something we all do, to some degree, on a daily basis.

Pipes might have more attention called to them because of their lack of ubiquity in society but when we consider something as innocuous as a bottle of soda we tend not to even think about it.

Some people will forego purchasing a soda altogether, some will purchase a generic brand soda due for the same or other reasons, some will purchase brand name soda, and a few will insist on premium hand-crafted soda.

Disregarding any facetious arguments regarding whether one cares for soda or not (I just as easily could use the word "widget"), and you can see where you fall on this spectrum and possibly why.

Some people won't purchase due to financial constraints, some enjoy soda but don't really care about brand, some have no issues always purchasing name brand soda, and others save up for (or can always afford) the premium stuff as a treat or because it's what they truly enjoy on occasion.

I, myself, have pipes, bottles of Cognac, etc., that are reserved for special occasions and some that are for regualr use. If I had the level of income to afford it, my current "occasion" pipes and Cognac would become my regular use and I'd step up even more in occasional stuff.
 

pappymac

Preferred Member
Feb 26, 2015
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I laugh when I read claims like this because I've been around this hobby a long time and I've never heard anyone say this in fact most of the time it's the opposite. 🤓
Sorry, but I just had another pipe smoker say that last week on another forum. It was his opinion that pipes under $100 were okay for a beginner but the more money the pipe cost, the better the smoking experience.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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I don't want to be a killjoy on expensive pipes; they are so beautiful and storied. However, there is something good about a pipe that does not require special vigilance and care, their simplicity and carefree use. A little char on the brim over time, not a problem. A nick on the bowl, the fortunes of war. I treasure my treasures, but a good old MM cob or home grown factory pipe has its own pleasures.
 

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howellhandmade

New member
Jul 13, 2020
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I have never purchased a pipe for over $1K, but I have come close, and I have a couple that might sell for that price now. When I collected, I would purchase one-of-a-kind pipes, always from individual carvers or boutique houses. They were, and are, very beautiful to me, and there is a story behind each one of them.

Having known a few carvers, I can tell you the job appears to be a labor of love; these people spend alot of time and money equipping their shops, buying raw materials, etc...and they lose every time they start carving and later find a fissure or defect in the wood. Considering the time/cost of material etc....very few of these folks are going out and buying fancy cars with their proceeds. Some of them don't make it....they try and try but they can't make enough $$ to stay in business.

I'm a thrifty Yankee now, and the only time I acquire a new / special pipe is a very rare occasion, and I acquire it in trade. Now....making a carver rich because they have a hard job is not "our job", if you will, but I can understand why a carver might feel that they produced a masterpiece, and they may have put many many hours into it, maybe many many days of hours. Is their "art" worth our money? Sure, for those who have the money and interest in it. As others have said, it's worth it to someone, and by the number of pipes I see on SP and elsewhere for over $1K, there are collectors buying them. Thank goodness for that, because it gives carvers a light at the end of the tunnel.
Thank you, Boston, for a very sympathetic and perceptive post. I was tempted to reply on another thread when someone said he didn’t want his artisan pipemaker making less than a plumber fixing his toilet — if the pipemaker charged the hourly rate of plumbers, well, let’s not go there.

I‘ve seen this same thread come and go on numerous forums. it’s the same for anything. Watches. Shotguns. Cars. Fly rods. Chef’s knives.

This past Christmas I bought a 1960 Dunhill as a birth-year gift for a close friend. It cost more than any pipe I’ve made recently.

It’s all relative.
 

Papamique

Member
Mar 11, 2020
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980
Many interesting opinions and views here. I offer something to cogitate.

A friend paid well over $1000 for an unsmoked Dunhill Shell. He never smoked the pipe but instead just took it out of the safe periodically and held it and admired the blast and craftsmanship along with the rarity. He eventually sold it, still unsmoked, and recouped his money (and a bit extra). He never regretted the purchase, only the sale.
 

petes03

Preferred Member
Jun 23, 2013
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The Hills of Tennessee
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Sorry, but I just had another pipe smoker say that last week on another forum. It was his opinion that pipes under $100 were okay for a beginner but the more money the pipe cost, the better the smoking experience.
There is truth to both sides I guess.
I have a ton of pipes in the $80-125 range. Some of them are excellent smokers that I would put up against any of my high end pipes. On the flip side, I have a Dr. Grabow Royalton that smokes about as well as my Dunhill Root..... I still say that the point of greatly diminished returns for any new pipe is around the $500 mark.
 

BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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There is truth to both sides I guess.
I have a ton of pipes in the $80-125 range. Some of them are excellent smokers that I would put up against any of my high end pipes. On the flip side, I have a Dr. Grabow Royalton that smokes about as well as my Dunhill Root..... I still say that the point of greatly diminished returns for any new pipe is around the $500 mark.
I say 300. Final answer.
 

hakchuma

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2014
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If you have smoked more than three bowls then you are experienced enough to make an informed decision that a $1000+ pipe is a good or bad decision. ;) Just go with your gut instinct and your wallet will not be thinner.
 
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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
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There is truth to both sides I guess.
I have a ton of pipes in the $80-125 range. Some of them are excellent smokers that I would put up against any of my high end pipes. On the flip side, I have a Dr. Grabow Royalton that smokes about as well as my Dunhill Root..... I still say that the point of greatly diminished returns for any new pipe is around the $500 mark.
From a purely functional standpoint at a basic level cheap shoddy modestly priced pipes work every bit as well as any high priced pipe. The differences start to come into play when the scope of functionality broadens. For example, I'm going to pay more for a comfortable hand carved stem and bit than with a pipe equipped with a molded stem and bit. The pipe may have a more pleasing draw due to its carver's expertise.The materials, such as the stem material, may be of higher quality with more durability than a cheap shoddy modestly priced pipe.

Still doesn't translate to 4 figures based on function alone.
 
Jul 5, 2020
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Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Great discussion. Pops up from time to time and never gets boring.

Personally, I do not own any pipe that cost me more than 250 euros, maybe some would come in the 500s to 800s if I had bought them new and not as an estate.

Having said that, I would never doubt the value of any pipe in general because a pipe, like any piece of artwork or collectable item is exactly worth what someone is willing to pay for it. I come from a family of collectors, my mom collects vintage postcards and people ask her "why do you pay 200 euros for a 9x14 cm (or 3.5"x5.5") piece of paper? Because she wants to have it, and as there are many other folks out there who also want it, the price is built.

The question of "do I need it?" makes no sense to a collector. As a smoker, of course I do not need a four-digit pipe. But I don't need 80+ two- or three-digit pipes either. As I smoke a few bowls per day, I could well do with ten or fifteen. And as I had written in another thread, the guy with the biggest tobacco rack I've ever seen has exatly that. A couple of Vauens and Petersons just as a tool to burn his zillions of tobaccos. And I know another collector who has 500+ unsmoked top notch pipes which he will maybe never smoke (he does smoke, but always the same pipes).

So to each his/her own, and everyone should accept that there are different ways to deal with our passion.
 

jamesc

New member
Jun 15, 2015
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135
I'm at about the $100 price point with single pipes and see myself moving up until I'm satisfied with craftsmanship.
Once I find that sweet spot I'll most likely stick to it.

Another hobby I have is fountain pens, I've spent over $1,000 on single pens, at that point I consider it jewelry/investment. I'm completely satisfied with craftsmanship at the $300 price point and anything above that I personally consider it bling. For the record the $1,000 pens have already appreciated and I would have not spent the money otherwise.

I'll be happy spending $1,000 on a pipe (akin to my fountain pens) only if I'm 100% they'll appreciate.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
32,052
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I disagree that a low or moderate price on a pipe equates with cheap and shoddy, and an inferior smoking experience. There are certainly shoddy pipes out there, not all low-priced. However, when I smoke various pipes at the low end in price, I am almost embarrassed how well they smoke, often some of the better smokes I enjoy. I must be enough of a snob to be surprised, and I often am, but it is so.
 

americaman

Preferred Member
May 1, 2019
513
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Los Angeles, CA
Like some of you, I'm more a collector than a connoisseur or a day to day hard-boiled smoker. I'll pay for history, more for historical rarity. I spent 800 once on an unsmoked 1950 Dunhill Shell LB in it's box, but that is/was a one time thing. Was it worth it to me? Maybe, maybe not. I don't regret the purchase though. History has value to me.
I remember that pipe. I wanted to save the photos the seller had because the pipe was so cool, but the mods closed the thread. Do you still have the original photos (or maybe even better photos)? Would love to see that pipe again.
 

BROBS

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Nov 13, 2019
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There is a difference between smoking functionality and smoking experience. Just like I’ve never experienced a $5000 watch on my arm, those who smoke $100 pipes can’t understand the experience of smoking a $600 or $2000 pipe.
Cha hahahaha good chap. Good show

$8000 blueberries taste better to a snob. 😉
 

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