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Ask questions, ask for more photos, also be aware that if you see Dunhill for $100 by someone who sells pipes often, that there is a reason for the discounted price.
I have even asked questions to smokingpipes before buying. Of course, asking a question, and following up with more questions is just being damned nuisance. There is a difference between a legit "deal killing" question and kicking the tires.
 
By the way, just because the seller on ebay says that they don't take back sales or do returns, doesn't mean shit, They have made a contract with eBay and must comply with eBay's rules, despite what they may personally want or post. I wouldn't buy from someone that posts that to begin with. It just means that they are going to be assholes to deal with, and you will have to deal with eBay to make them comply.
 
Jan 28, 2018
10,760
89,997
65
Sarasota, FL
I remember when eBay was new, and your only protection against a bad deal was the prospect of leaving negative feedback. Good times.
In general, that is often still your best protection still. If someone buys something that is too good to be true from an unknown or less than reputable seller, they're asking for it. Buy something from Pipestud or a seller of similar repute, and have a problem, you won't need eBay to get involved. If you're always looking for great bargains, you'll occasionally be on the other end of that deal.
 
I have several pipes that I replaced the stem. Sometimes, it is a matter of customizing the pipe to your own preferences. If these pipes someday end up in the "market" I wonder what the buyer will think. In my case, all of my pipe stems were professionally replaced and the pipes tended to be Petersons. Even the P is on them. Of course, if I sold them myself, that would be disclosed, but none of the pipes are valued collectables.

On some of my older vintage pipes, the pipe repair man had to work wonders to save the stem so that the stem was the original. Was it worth the effort? The pipes were generally cheaper pipes with poor vulcanite. Still, I wanted to save the historic value I felt they had.

If I had purchased the $100 Dunhill in question, I would have had either a new stem placed on it or had it restored enough to pass some muster and the pipe would have been just a smoker in rotation.
 
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sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
17,191
34,249
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
By the way, just because the seller on ebay says that they don't take back sales or do returns, doesn't mean shit, They have made a contract with eBay and must comply with eBay's rules, despite what they may personally want or post. I wouldn't buy from someone that posts that to begin with. It just means that they are going to be assholes to deal with, and you will have to deal with eBay to make them comply.
Exactly. If there is a material difference in what the sellers claims and what arrives, they have to take the item back, no exceptions.
Still, I don't bid on "no return" auctions.

And, there are a few sellers who have earned bad reputations who I ignore.

But it is generally a good idea to settle all questions before putting in a bid. And, it doesn't hurt to know something about what you're bidding on, so as to avoid becoming roadkill.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
17,191
34,249
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
As for stems being original with regard to Vintage pipes? Unless there is something specific to that stem, like fitments, stingers, very unique shaping, there's really little to no way to verify such claims.

The seller may or may not believe it, but there's no way to verify it. And even if the stem is obviously from the factory, that doesn't mean it's original. All of the top end British pipe brand offered extensive refurbishment services, including making replacements stems. So, that '20's Dunhill may have a '30's or '40's Dunhill made replacement stem.

It's just not a selling point and I disregard it when I see it in ad copy.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,429
52,206
I've never bought a pipe on eBay. I like the seller to have skin in the game, like retailers who rely on repeat business to keep their prices down through volume sales. So much the better if you can buy pipes in person at a good pipe shop (rare) or a pipe show, so you can examine and handle the item. If it costs a few extra bucks, it is worth it to me, and often you get some great deals.

Some eBay customers learn the sellers, ask questions, and get good results, but I think that takes a lot of time and experience, some of it bad. Pipe smoking to me is supposed to be enjoyment, so I tend to avoid disappointment.
 
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anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
13,019
24,409
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
By the way, just because the seller on ebay says that they don't take back sales or do returns, doesn't mean shit, They have made a contract with eBay and must comply with eBay's rules, despite what they may personally want or post. I wouldn't buy from someone that posts that to begin with. It just means that they are going to be assholes to deal with, and you will have to deal with eBay to make them comply.
I don't take returns in cases where it doesn't ruin the product, says that I the seller don't care about your satisfaction. You being happy with the purchase who cares! as long as I make the money.