Charatan Belvedere, lowest smooth grade??

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craig61a

Lifer
Apr 29, 2017
5,890
49,210
Minnesota USA
A lot of variables enter into the equation, quality of briar, strength of the production, etc.

Charatan got good briar most of the time. The Belvedere grade goes back to the original four grades of Charatan pipes. While it was the lesser grade of the four, it wasn't a poor quality pipe. Charatan had numerous second lines and private labelled pipes to use their less than desirable briar.
 

Ben.R.C

Lifer
Nov 20, 2022
4,022
85,812
54
North Carolina
A lot of variables enter into the equation, quality of briar, strength of the production, etc.

Charatan got good briar most of the time. The Belvedere grade goes back to the original four grades of Charatan pipes. While it was the lesser grade of the four, it wasn't a poor quality pipe. Charatan had numerous second lines and private labelled pipes to use their less than desirable briar.
Thanks, that makes sense.
 
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JimInks

Sultan of Smoke
Aug 31, 2012
61,725
575,538
How on earth is a pipe like this considered low grade, high standards I guess. I bid on this particular pipe, not thinking I’d win, but I might. I wonder how they graded these, could it be size in addition to grain?View attachment 197840
That grain looks a lot better than Belvedere I have. There was some inconsistency at Charatan in rating grain.
Charatan_Belvedere_4211DC_egg.jpg

Charatan seconds are good smokers, too. I bought an unbranded Charatan billiard in 1981, and it smokes like a first.
Charatan_billiard_unbranded.jpg

And if you really want a low cost Charatan that smokes well, try their Chippendale line. I wouldn't trade the one I bought back in '79 ($19.95) for anything.
Chippendale_(Charatan second)_Rhodesian 49.jpg
 

Ben.R.C

Lifer
Nov 20, 2022
4,022
85,812
54
North Carolina
That grain looks a lot better than Belvedere I have. There was some inconsistency at Charatan in rating grain.
View attachment 197858

Charatan seconds are good smokers, too. I bought an unbranded Charatan billiard in 1981, and it smokes like a first.
View attachment 197860

And if you really want a low cost Charatan that smokes well, try their Chippendale line. I wouldn't trade the one I bought back in '79 ($19.95) for anything.
View attachment 197861
Thanks for the info and great pics. I’ll keep Chippendale in mind, haven’t seen any for sale yet. What a great brand, seems like they struggled but really kept quality as number 1. Amazing we can still get some of them for under 100$. If I win that bid, it will be for 60$
 
Feb 12, 2022
3,502
48,764
31
North Georgia mountains.
Charatans are a bargain on the estate market. If you don't mind large pipes and those hideous double-comfort stems (and very soft vulcanite)..
That double comfort stem ruined many great pipes for me.
But I'll take a Belvedere with a nice tapered stem any day. I've got a nice Canadian from the early 80s that smokes great. But as you said, its a little big for my liking so I rarely smoke it
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,607
11,752
Maryland
postimg.cc
Tapered stems can be found, be patient if the DC stem is not your thing.
Many estates have significant teeth damage, due to the soft vulcanite, they can be difficult to restore.
But, if you don't mind some indentions, bargains can be found.
 

Zeno Marx

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 10, 2022
240
1,269
I've always felt there was something weird going on at the Charatan factory. Grain wasn't of great importance to them. Almost as if they were more concerned with filling certain types of orders of certain grade or line quotas due to demand. And then if the did a certain shape of pipe, it almost always got the same grade, no matter what the grain looked like. Sure, the higher grades almost always had superior grain, but then you weren't going to find a standard billiard shape marked as that higher grade either. Grades were more often dictated by shape or size than just grain. They couldn't be bothered with being grain obsessed. If they got a billiard with exceptional grain, they'd rusticate the rim to look like a quasi plateau and call it a "made by hand" and grade it higher/different. They wouldn't just leave it as a standard billiard. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm wording it well. It's really interesting and confusing.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
19,906
45,832
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
Charatan gradings based on grain are often inconsistent. Then again, so are most British pipe makers. Grain really wan't that much of a thing, producing a flawless smooth was. Also, certain stains were associated with particular grades, and some of that can be found in the Ken Barnes posts on Charatan at the top of the forum page. If you are looking for first hand knowledge and experience of Charatan methods and practices, Ken is it.
 

Zeno Marx

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 10, 2022
240
1,269
I'm a big fan of the DC stems, which flies in the face of me preferring lucite and mostly despising the upkeep and hassle of vulcanite. Of all the vulcanite stems to like, it's plain stupid that I'm drawn to the DC. I am, though. It helps that my second or third pipe was a Charatan X-out Belvedere w/ DC on closeout that was an Escudo-smoking machine.

Should also add that it gets somewhat more complicated when sandblasting come into play. They were often sandblasted AND hand rusticated. There is often some part of the pipe that had rustication. For instance, the bowl sandblasted and the rim rusticated or the shank rusticated. They were good about not making it too obvious too. And if they were sandblasted, they were graded as freehand either/or made by hand. A lot of their sandblasts were relegated to their lesser lines. Again, weird sh1t happening at the Charatan factory.
 

craig61a

Lifer
Apr 29, 2017
5,890
49,210
Minnesota USA
The rating of grain is somewhat fluid. There are certain parameters and features that the grader looks for in order to pidgeon hole a particular pipe at a certain price point, i.e. grade.

Depending on the briar blocks coming into the manufacturer at any given time, the scale slides somewhat. Not every block coming into the manufacturer is going to yield a Coronation grade pipe. And a particular lot of briar blocks may yield fewer higher price point finished stummels.

Ken Barnes discussed this at one time on this forum, and if he were still here today he could go into quite a bit of detail on the process of grading briar. So pricing (grade) is based on the premium to the lower standard of the briar available to the manufacturer at a particular point in time. Really no different than pricing out any number of products that are organic in nature.
 

craig61a

Lifer
Apr 29, 2017
5,890
49,210
Minnesota USA
Furthermore, brokers or mills allot briar to manufacturers based on certain criteria, determined by the broker or mill.

Myself, a hobbyist nobody, can't simply email Mimmo and request his finest block of plateau briar at any price... I'd be told in so many words to go pound sand.
 
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Papamique

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 11, 2020
791
3,960
I'm a big fan of the DC stems, which flies in the face of me preferring lucite and mostly despising the upkeep and hassle of vulcanite. Of all the vulcanite stems to like, it's plain stupid that I'm drawn to the DC. I am, though. It helps that my second or third pipe was a Charatan X-out Belvedere w/ DC on closeout that was an Escudo-smoking machine.

Same. I’m a sucker for the DC stems too. For me, they are very comfortable in the clench and instantly recognizable as Charatan. I think part of that comfort comes from the softer vulcanite but the other part of that is the thin bit that I find common (and comfortable) on my artisan pipes. I take care of all my vulcanite stems by keeping them clean and putting them away out of direct light.
 

paulfg

Lifer
Feb 21, 2016
1,585
2,984
Corfu Greece
Same. I’m a sucker for the DC stems too. For me, they are very comfortable in the clench and instantly recognizable as Charatan. I think part of that comfort comes from the softer vulcanite but the other part of that is the thin bit that I find common (and comfortable) on my artisan pipes. I take care of all my vulcanite stems by keeping them clean and putting them away out of direct light.
I too like the DC stems, just a pity that I have found Charatan stems oxidize just by looking at them