Antique Meerschaum-- Good Buy?

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jonasclark

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Aug 4, 2013
582
171
Seattle
The first meerschaum pipe I ever had was a mini I bought when I was ten (yes, I collected pipes as a kid.) I was overjoyed, and equally excited when I bought my first full-sized cased meerschaum (a bent brandy lattice by Paykoc) in 1999. I've eventually acquired about 26 full-size meerschaums, something like 20 in cases. I've even gotten an antique carved briar claw. But I've never found a meerschaum claw, full size, that both (a) I liked, in all respects, and (b) was also affordable. That changed last week-end, when I bought a lovely SMS claw at Rich's in Portland. But I've fawned over the incredibly-detailed antique ones and never found one that was even remotely affordable, without a broken stem anyway.
A few days ago, I found one. Had some budget surplus, put $110 on it (hoping it wouldn't go that high) and ended up paying about $95. I know it's very dusty, but I'll fix that. I'm sure it's an oxblood/dragon's blood pre-color, and the vulcanite stem might be a replacement(?) which I might replace with lucite eventually. Do the denizens here think I got a good price? Overpaid? Any idea how old this could be, pre- or post-1900?







Fixed thread title, please see rule number 9. Pertinent portion: Please capitalize words in the thread titles.

Thank you Robert.


 

beerandbaccy

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Apr 22, 2015
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Don't know much about it but I have to say It's a very interesting and unique looking pipe.

I guess if you enjoy it, whether smoking or just displaying it, then it's worth the money!

 

xrundog

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Oct 23, 2014
737
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Ames, IA
I have one carved almost exactly the same, but not colored, with an amber stem. I agree your stem is probably a replacement for a broken amber one. Being pre-colored, a general date of 1900 is likely close. Price is hard to gauge on a pipe like that because the value is so subjective. What you paid seems okay to me.

 

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gloucesterman

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Jan 4, 2015
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Massachusetts
The detail is excellent. The condition appears to be very good. For less than a hundred I say you did pretty well. But its real value is in what it brings to your collection. Sounds like you've been looking for this pipe for a while and always found it beyond reach. That makes this one priceless! Enjoy, the pipe gods have smiled on you.

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
582
171
Seattle
Thanks much, gloucesterman! I'd like to hope it'll be a gem-- I only have, with this one, two decorative (as opposed to bulldogs or billiards) antique meerschaums, and I don't think I could ask for better ones for their price!
Xrundog, that's a spiffy old pipe all right! Well cared-for. Still being smoked?

 

jpmcwjr

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May 12, 2015
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Carmel Valley, CA
I can't imagine how a naturally developed coloring could ever occur over every square inch. But I've been wrong plenty times before!

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
582
171
Seattle
Yes, these were pre-colored with vegetable dyes such as oxblood and dragon's blood. Generally, a meerschaum will color first in the shank, then slowly up the bowl, and a coloring job created by smoking will, no matter how carefully-done, produce some spotting, blotches or crackled patterns. When you see antique meerschaums with a really smooth, even color, they have been pre-tinted. As far as I know, these were popular from the late 1800s into the early 1900s.
Here is another pre-colored meerschaum, showing a lighter color but with the same perfect, smooth evenness. The shank has begun to go spotty from handling with smoking.



 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
5,270
8,846
New York
Meerschaums are funny old things and even after all these years I am still amazed at each pipes individuality. Some turn brown quite quickly whilst others you can run pounds of twist through and not a lot happens other than the shank turns brown followed by the dark brown patina. Occasionally you get an example that through dedicated use probably on a daily basis perhaps over a period of forty years turns out truly breath taking or as Donald Trump would say 'Something really special' if he smoked a meerschaum pipe.

 

missmomo

New member
Oct 1, 2015
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Oh my, now that's a beauty. It seems this pipe turned you on and I can see why. The price you paid seems very reasonable considering the craftsmanship. One can never overpay for something if indeed it's something they really must have. The thing I love most about Meerschaum Pipes is that they are a piece of art you can touch and see up close and it's yours. A small Stone statue carved just for you. The color of yours reminds me of a Mahogany wood paneled gentleman's den or private club (I can just see and smell the glorious aroma of sweet pipe smoke), a bygone era. Cheers!

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
582
171
Seattle
Condorlover, I just had a laugh, imagining Trump smoking a pipe... and the poor tobacconist who sells to him and has to listen to him prattle on about himself. Thanks for that!
I think both bedouin and claw are circa 1890-1900. The claw is currently out, being fitted with a 1930s Bakelite stem.

 

johnnyreb

Preferred Member
Aug 21, 2014
1,786
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Xrundog,
Back in the Victorian era weren't there some claw/talon pipes being made of vulcanite rubber with replaceable bowls? They were very ornate & uniformly colored, & the coloring ran from a dark ox blood to black. One of the research sites has pics but I just did a search & came up blank.

 
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