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p40warhawk

Member
Jul 18, 2019
107
15
Over a long period, like so many of you, I have a really nice collection of pipes that I have gathered over the years. There are some I just hate to smoke because of their sheer craftsmanship and beauty. But, most, I DO smoke. And like many of you, I have my favorites that just seem to smoke perfectly. My favorite (x2) is my Peterson Sherlock Holmes Baskervilles FT Smooth. They just seem to smoke any blend perfectly with that required cup of java!!

However, even though I do have some fine artisan pipes, I see some pipes in the thousands and I am taken back by this cost. Yes, they are beautiful, but that is ALOT for a pipe. I also collect watches which can be expensive, but I also keep a cap on those as well.

Do many of you feel the same way, I guess it comes down to your income and your level of acceptability?
Thanks!

Dan

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,003
1,732
Many threads have dealt with this issue over the years, directly or skirted, in one way or another. What is an $800 pipe? A $2000 pipe? A $10,000 pipe? Let's leave out the scams -- that's not the subject. A few carvers, like artist painters, develop a name and following that makes their work valuable, sometimes hugely so. People with the means are willing, able, and glad to bid up the prices far beyond the means of most pipe smokers or collectors. There are social, economic, financial, and cultural forces at work, and group psychology, that drives the prices far beyond the price of most pipes. People are buying a star name, rarity, perhaps even anticipated appreciation, status, and ego boosting bragging rights. There's this funky dynamic that anything is worth whatever someone will pay for it, though the item may not warrant being resold at that or a higher price ... this is highly variable as stock investors know. I think pipe smokers of moderate means can take comfort that the finest pipe smoking experiences can be attained with a cob or moderately priced briar or other pipe. You have to learn pipes, at least a little, so you know what you're getting. If life smiles upon you financially, you can let loose and get something very up-market, but you can always enjoy a pipe at whatever price you can afford.

 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
1,258
1,646
I respect the labor of the pipe maker, of course, and I m sure many of these pipes take a long time to produce. You start doing the math. A carpenter in my area makes ~$40/hr which is the closest comparable field I can think of.
But I just can't afford those high 3 figure/4 figure price tags. And if I could afford it, I'd probably prefer to spend that kind of money on something else. All the pipes I have so far are factory pipes, and when I do go artisan, I'm thinking more in the

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,003
1,732
Since 2002, I've bought pipes from a North Carolina carver who lives in the foothills in Western N.C. He sells only at the State Fair and the TAPS pipe show, and though he does pipe repair through an online site, he sells his pipes only in person. He keeps his pipes moderate in price, but does work in briar, Mountain Laurel, and some in other woods, and does an excellent display and sells (I would guess) hundreds of pipe a year. His name is Jerry Perry, and he is another dimension of the artisanal carver who caters to an everyman clientele. I really like his style in pipes and business. My point here is, not all artisanal pipes are $300. Further, the late Bob Hayes, another N.C. carver, who sold many pipes in the hundreds of dollars range, apparently took notice of my admiration of his work and sold me one of his pipes, my only bamboo shank, at an alarming discount, so generous I don't think I thanked him sufficiently from sheer amazement.

 

p40warhawk

Member
Jul 18, 2019
107
15
489,

I agree wholeheartedly! They are out there, you just have to look. A work of art in Pipes doesn't have to be that expensive, there are true artisans out there and they do sell at the every man prices... I got some great works from an old friend that is now deceased. He ran a local Pipe & Cigar store and once in a while, he would run into old Estates that were either

new un-smoked or almost new and I would get a great pipe. :puffpipe:

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,595
513
I guess it comes down to your income and your level of acceptability?
Abso(f***king)lutely!
If you are "taken (a)back" by the price of a pipe you need to study the market a bit. And ... possibly figure out how to improve your cash flow. It does a person no good to worry about the cost of things they can't possibly purchase. Unless, such desires drive them to work harder, longer hours, qualify for a higher paying position, or otherwise attain the income level so they have no need to question costs. $10,000.00 USD is chump change for many a Patek Philippe, right? Some see pipes in the same light.
So, if you desire a $5,000.00 pipe or, some similar doo-dad, you simply need to improve your lot in life. Easy to suggest of course. You'll have to do the work, get the education, relocate or do whatever it takes.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,003
1,732
If you learn your way around pipe brands and the various series within brands, so you know a little about it, you can from time to time encounter some serious discounts, so that even if you could afford to pay the usual going price, you don't have to. Retailers want to pump up their sales or get overstocked in certain brands and can astonish you with a good price on a good pipe you really can't afford to refuse. Then when you see the pipe advertised later at an increased price, you can smile and go get your own and light it up. You'll soon have too many pipes to worry about wanting to own a museum example of a great carver.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,595
513
I add this tongue in cheek (a bit): You can spend time searching, sitting at you computer or visiting B&M's, garage sales, etc. Or, you can grab your a**, improve your value to employers, start a money making business, or learn to invest and spend the same amount of time making more moneys. It's all your choices. I always preferred ... more moneys. I am a big, big believer in the adage, "A man can have enough money but, never too much money."

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,595
2,535
Alaska
You are buying a sculpture made by an artist. The value that is placed on that and whether or not it is appropriate is purely up to the observer.
Some people will pay millions for a Rothko painting. I wouldn't hang one if my child painted it. It's all relative.
There are plenty of great artisan makers out there that are relatively affordable though, they just aren't "famous" or at least not yet. Sixten Ivarsson was just some dude making pipes at one point. They aren't any better or more beautiful today than they were back then.
Personally I really like the artisan work of Randy Wiley, Paol Winslow, and Marco Biagini (Moretti Pipes) all of which can be found for less than $200 regularly. JM Boswell is another one, although his pipes are very hit or miss for me, aesthetically. I love his elongated billiards, pokers, and freehands, but some of his "jumbo" chunky stuff and swirl pipes just don't appeal to me.

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
909
562
It really depends on what you want out of your pipes. Since you mentioned watches, you know that you can get a well-made Swiss automatic with a mass-produced movement for well under $1,000.00. Alternately, you can spend many times that amount and get a watch that is probably more refined in its fit and finish, and one that has a more unique in-house movement. The more you spend, the more refinement and character you can buy, though the basics can still be pretty good, and a casual observer would probably not be able to tell the difference.
If all you want is a good looking smoker that gives you a nice smoke, there is no need to go beyond factory pipes in the several hundred dollar price range. However, if you want refined craftsmanship and would appreciate your pipe as a work of art, then it makes sense to spend more.
To my taste, my relatively inexpensive Tissot and Seiko watches, and my mass-produced factory pipes hit the sweet spot. They are well-made quality items and deliver, in my view, the best bang for your buck. My general approach is to find the spot where spending significantly more money will only get you marginally better quality. I consider that to be the "sweet spot" for any purchase, whether it's clothes, tools, fishing gear, pipes, watches, etc. However, there is nothing wrong with wanting something more refined, be it a watch, a pipe, or whatever else you're into.

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,604
45
I add this tongue in cheek (a bit): You can spend time searching, sitting at you computer or visiting B&M's, garage sales, etc. Or, you can grab your a**, improve your value to employers, start a money making business, or learn to invest and spend the same amount of time making more moneys. It's all your choices. I always preferred ... more moneys. I am a big, big believer in the adage, "A man can have enough money but, never too much money."
This is a really good way of putting it. You have to make it happen if you want it to happen. Oh, and it's not always fun either. You have to make it fun, which artisan pipes can help with.

 

theloniousmonkfish

Preferred Member
Jan 1, 2017
766
0
Warren is tossing around logic with reckless abandon! Some people have ways and means. To each his reach and if I don't cop it ain't mine to have.

 

litup

Member
Oct 16, 2015
243
144
Sacramento, CA
Speaking to the bit about "acceptability", I think it's fairly common for pipe smokers to start out buying a $10 cob or a $20 briar to see if they even like smoking a pipe. Those that do often start gravitating to more expensive pipes. Maybe a $50 estate pipe from a brand they like the look of. Then if that smokes well, maybe they fork over $120 for a brand new pipe from that factory. After a while, spending $100 on a pipe doesn't seem abnormal. And then you start looking at the next step up. And maybe you save for your first artisan pipe to commemorate a promotion or the birth of a child. And now $400 seems reasonable where once it was inconceivable. You get the picture.
But each person ultimately has to decide what their own priorities in life are. If spending $400 on a pipe is going to make paying the bills a struggle or it's going to delay getting out of debt, they probably know better than to buy that pipe. If, on the other hand, spending $400 won't make a dent in your financial standing it's probably not much of a consideration.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,996
1,217
Some people will pay millions for a Rothko painting. I wouldn't hang one if my child painted it. It's all relative.
One of my favorite painters. If your kid can paint like that, find him a gallery and retire.
It's all relative. A few weeks back I went out to dinner with a very close friend and some other friends of hers for her birthday. After dinner, we wandered around looking at shops and went into one that sold leather goods. Prices on a satchel started at $1500. Most were in the $3000 to $4000 range. I was, to put it mildly, suffering sticker shock and said as much. She looked at me and said, "Well, that's what nice quality costs these days." Easy to say when you're worth a good eight figures. I think it's madness.

Danish pipes are beautiful, but a great many of them just seem to be riding the wave, not really offering anything exceptional for the money. I have a few halfway decent pipes, but no way would I consider spending a small fortune on a pipe. From a functional standpoint it's not going to make that much of a difference.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,003
1,732
I've become so enthralled with getting a lot of pipe for modest money, that's more fun to me than dreaming or striving (which I do for other purposes) for raising big amounts of money for expensive pipes. And I admit, for the thrill of astounding high-dollar artisan pipes, I'm happy to live vicariously through members who go that route. I have an old discontinued Kaywoodie Drinkless which, despite it's screw on stem and stinger, gives a great smoke and is easy to clean. I bought a Tsuge quality Tsuge from PC for $40. Occasionally I've wandered into some high end pipes which I treasure, which is also a thrill. My financial hopes aren't tied to my ambitions for pipes. If I ended up much better off than I am now, I'd probably buy a high-end pipe or two, but it wouldn't be an objective.

 

craiginthecorn

Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
1,159
128
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
One of the great things about pipes, is that you can be happy buying pipes of all types In a huge price range which both look good and smoke well. Believe it or not, probably the cheapest pipe you can buy over the long-term is a high-grade estate pipe purchased directly from the owner. Those can often be sold at a profit in time. I saw a particularly fine straight grain Poul Ilsted bulldog last night that was purchased as an estate 15 years ago for what was then a high price at $300. Today, it’s worth a minimum of $1500. Of course, like any collectible, no one can predict what the future will bring.