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Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
This is the quintessential Lee.

A medium slim Billiard Three Star grade with 7 pointed gold inlaid stars.


Those were ten dollar pipes in 1946.

Today it’s maybe a $35 pipe with shipping and tax.

The best value by far in beautful, perfect used old pipes.

The large billiard on top shown below is rare, and not really all that much larger.

Lee pipes were all the same price per grade.

The medium slim billiard is many times more common than the large billiard. Forties styles were for small pipes.


Lee had to have sourced some pre war briar. A Lee beats a three hole stinger (post war) Kaywoodie down a flight of stairs, just no comparison.

And a Lee had the best screw stem and sweetest break in of any pipe ever made, including today. The stingers are removable and the screw stems can easily be clocked to realign the stem.

Some Lee pipes will about equal a pre war Kaywoodie for grain, or get very close.
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Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 29, 2023
After the first times I smoked the cob I hated it so much that I tossed it in the trash. Then I regretted that, I retrieved it and tossed it in the tinder bag for the fireplace. Again I took it back and threw it in a drawer where it remained until today.
Now I smoked three bowls one after another and I think it is fantastic. No signs yet that it needs to rest.

Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
On occasion a man hits the jackpot for ten dollars on eBay:


After cleaning and one smoke


The more I do this the luckier I get.

I figured nobody would import a fancy Algerian brair pipe with a plated sterling silver band. I was right.


I had no idea it was a NOS pipe. The carbon coat was intact.


This is an incredibly dynamite smoker, one of my best pipes.

That’s not luck. This was a second (tiny fills) of a high end expensive Algerian briar pipe from the late forties or fifties. The growth lines are a razor blade apart, where I can see them.

Better briar has always smoked a little better.
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Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 2, 2019
I used to be of the mindset that if I was going to buy something, it was going to be the absolute best of that particular item. I even remember researching flasks and other inconsequential things. It didn't take me long to realize that this method of buying just gives you analysis paralysis, wastes precious time, and usually leads to unnecessarily expensive purchases. I have since learned that cheaper items will often get the job done and (with luck) will last just as long, too.

A good example was a guitar I had wanted for years - my dream guitar. I finally talked my wife into letting me buy it and I when I got it, I was actually very disappointed with its tone and playability, even though it cost over $3,000. I sold it and found another off-name brand that made a similar guitar with the same tone woods for only $1,000. To my ear, it sounds far better and plays great. It doesn't have some of the same "bells and whistles", but who cares. It sounds good and that's what matters.

With pipes, I upgraded from my starter pipes to a mid-range line that I just liked the look of. I don't have enough of a developed palate to say if they smoke better than the old ones or anything like that. I just like the way they look and they were about $100 a piece.

I think the law of diminishing returns is certainly applicable when it comes to pipes. But all that matters is what is important to you. If you like the look, the person who crafted it, the story behind it, etc., then buy the thing and enjoy it!


Feb 16, 2020
Cascadia, U.S.
Is a $100 briar five times as good as a $20 briar? Very possibly.
Is a $1000 briar five times as good as a $200 briar? Probably not. Diminishing returns and all that.

I don't really care if my pipes have flawless grain. They just need to be functional, and you don't have to spend much to get a durable pipe that smokes well. I buy them to smoke and enjoy, not to set atop a pedestal in a display case and admire. I guess the answer to your question is that it depends on what you consider to be important.


Nov 26, 2018
Depends on the person. Some will swear only Dunhill is fit for them. Some finds Dunhill to be lacking in what they are looking for. Then some will smoke a Peterson and doesn't see any further need to branch out into other brands. It's not the money, it's your brain and what you think is the best.


Nov 14, 2020

Be sure to read the article, ‘The Myth of Brand and Maker in Pipesmoking’, by Dr. Fred Hanna.

Here’s an article on Dr. Fred Hanna.

A lot of this is also going to get down to your palate, tastes/perception and of course your experience.

Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
I’ve identified my $10 bargain pipe as a Sterncrest LGS Sivercrest with enough fills (three tiny ones) to cause it to be sold as a no name pipe, by the silver band hallmarks.

Anchor and T and Lion is Birmingham England 1943.


My pipe would have looked like this had it made the grade.


Three tiny little sand pits that likely popped out at final finish made my pipe a no name second.

Briar quality matters. Curing matters. Aging matters.

Asthetics only raise the price.


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