Authenticity Question: Did I Get Ebay'd?

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fredchores

New member
Oct 8, 2015
6
0
It smokes well enough but it's developed a kind of cinnamon smell. Is that indicative of composite meer, or just that the previous owner smoked an aromatic out of it?
Here are the photos. Seller advertised it as "Vintage Echt Bernstein Meerschaum Carved Grapes/Leaves in original case", and indeed:

Opening it up, however, it seems like the pipe is a bit too small for the case:

making me wonder. Then there's the shank...

just noticed that it's a little out of focus, but yes, it screws on to the stem.
The stem itself is supposed to be amber, but lord knows I can't tell. The internet told me to clean it off and lick it, which I did, and I think I tasted something, but it's faint enough that it could just be in my head.

It looks like the previous owner only smoked half-bowls for whatever reason, and the drilling is odd, like they didn't exactly meet the bottom of the bowl with the air hole and finished it up by drilling straight through the bottom

But for all of that it smoked quite well, aside from the strange scent which only became apparent after I smoked it for a bit.
So I don't know. I suspect it's just some meer pipe they put in the old case to help sell it, and the stem is acrylic. How can I tell?

 

hakchuma

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2014
788
71
I had purchase a pipe that smelled like cinnamon also. Really liked the smell of it. For all we know, the seller may have sold it because of the ghost lol

 

rcstan

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2012
1,466
5
Sunset Beach NC
It's a meerschaum pipe. Perhaps the case is original although it looks a little tall. It's older, most current ones have either the push-pull plastic removable mortise liner and tenon, or a permanent liner in the mortise and a "normal" tenon ( like a briar pipe ). Yours has a bone screw attachment, go easy on it and don't try to take it out of the mortise, or you'll end up with more pieces than you started with.

The drilling is not that unusual. Some Opera-shaped pipes, functional Cavaliers, and the straight Peterson System shape 31 are drilled in the same fashion, for that Calabash-like effect. Stay on top of it with the cleaning because it gets nasty really quick, especially that nook in the airway past where the bowl draft is.

The stem is some sort of bakelite or primitive Acrylic. Go easy on the alcohol with those, they like to undergo chemical reactions if left to soak overnight.

As for the cinnamon smell, if previous owner had broken in that pipe with an aromatic, it tends to linger. Especially if not cleaned thoroughly or abused. That meerschaum rock does char, crack, burn through etc if one tries hard enough and/or lets cake build in it.

 

andrew

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2013
2,876
7
I guess on the authenticity question it would be if it's an actual Echt Bernstein pipe, which I have no idea as I've never heard of him, plus I don't know alot about meershaum carvers for pipes. However I do have a similar looking meer except that the hole is drilled in the usual fashion where it comes through the bowl through the tenon. It is definitely a meershaum, the question is whether it's pressed or block. The other question would be how much you paid for it. The case very well looks like it could belong to that pipe, as I'm sure the cases weren't made to fit the pipes exactly. It is in very nice condition though, but yes I would keep that hole clean.

 

jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
1,422
2,468
In this instance I doubt that Echt Bernstein is a him. Echt in German means real, or genuine, and Bernstein means amber. So whatever was inside the case was being advertised as being made out of real amber and real natural meerschaum.
Is the pipe original to the case? I'm not sure; rcstan's right, on the one hand the apparent fit is off, on the other the bone is indicative of age. Either way it's a cool looking pipe, and I hope you enjoy it!

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
624
221
Seattle
That case is probably, in my opinion, Austrian, from the 1940s or 1950s, and would originally have contained a block meerschaum pipe with an amber or pressed-amber stem.
The pipe in it does indeed not fit. It's Turkish, probably from the 1960s, and is more than likely real block meerschaum Its stem is plastic. It's still a nice pipe; CAO called this pattern, which was very popular with Turkish carvers, "Grapes Mediterranean."

 

blownsmoke

New member
Mar 1, 2011
14
0
Have a pipe exactly like that I bought sometime in the 70's except mine has a push pull mouthpiece. I gave 20.00 for it.

 

okiescout

Preferred Member
Jan 27, 2013
1,530
4
I do not know about the pipe, but all the cases I have that were made for my meers were pretty tight fits. Maybe they were not back in the day? My money would be on they were custom fit in the old days also. I would bet the case did not originally hold this particular pipe.

 

jonasclark

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2013
624
221
Seattle
The case was for an early-1950s Austrian meerschaum, with an amber stem (probably cultured-amber or amberoid, amber ground and reformed with resin, as used by Andreas Bauer and Strambach). Meerschaum cases always fit the pipe precisely; no pipe will fit any other case, save perhaps a few coincidences with standard models like billards or bulldogs. What you have is a 1960s Turkish meerschaum with a plastic stem, which someone found kinda-sorta fit in the case, so they mated the two. It's still a nice pipe, with an enormously-popular Turkish carving style which CAO, a meerschaum importer in the US, called "Mediterranean" or "Grapes Mediterranean" (I use the term "Mediterranean" for any pipe with this style of surface carving). I say keep it, enjoy it, smoke the heck out of it, and keep it in that case. It may be block or it may be pressed, but it'll still smoke nicely; if it's pressed, it just won't color very well.

 
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