Interesting Completed Ebay Auctions - British Pipes

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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,586
14,513
That cased magnum has something quite fundamentally wrong going on.

The stem is laterally offset. Meaning no longer coaxially aligned with the shank.

Zero chance the offset is how the pipe was originally made, which says botched repair of some kind. (The large portion of missing nomenclature wasn't buffed off, it was sanded off... The result of an after-the-fact attempt to minimize the wonky axial alignment.)

Weird because the stems and shanks of magnums are large and robust by definition, and a 5/8" or 11/16" diameter tenon is exponentially stronger than a typical-sized 3/8"(ish) one. You could use it as a crowbar.

The only thing that comes to mind is a known issue with some Dunhill magnums from that period is the cutter who supplied the jumbo blocks (apparently) got greedy and trimmed them LESS than he should have, leaving some weak, crack-prone wood behind at the shank end of the block. I've repaired several of them over the years and seen it first hand.

Here's footage from the OR for you shop geeks to show the sort of measures required to save them:


Because it's a nightmare scenario, someone having botched a repair attempt years ago would be more likely than not.

All that assumes the pipe is a member of the "weak shank club", of course. Maybe the problem is/was something else. But nothing else comes to mind.
 

jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,511
6,618
25qGwbO.jpg


Very cool pipe. It's actually possible to date it (or at any rate the label) to a pretty narrow range. Henry Perkins was at 59 High Street, St Giles through 1886, not appearing at the 179 Tottenham Court Road address until the 1887 edition of the London City Directory. At that point he was still listed as Henry Perkins, meerschaum pipe maker; the & Sons part didn't start appearing until 1897 or 1898 ( I've seen the 1896 and 1898 editions, but not the 1897; so I know for a fact that the "& Sons" is absent in 1896 and present in 1898, but no way of knowing if the addition took place in 1897 or 1898). Therefore assuming the label in the case was more or less up to date your pipe was made in the decade that fell between 1887 and 1897.
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,684
Washington State
Very cool pipe. It's actually possible to date it (or at any rate the label) to a pretty narrow range. Henry Perkins was at 59 High Street, St Giles through 1886, not appearing at the 179 Tottenham Court Road address until the 1887 edition of the London City Directory. At that point he was still listed as Henry Perkins, meerschaum pipe maker; the & Sons part didn't start appearing until 1897 or 1898 ( I've seen the 1896 and 1898 editions, but not the 1897; so I know for a fact that the "& Sons" is absent in 1896 and present in 1898, but no way of knowing if the addition took place in 1897 or 1898). Therefore assuming the label in the case was more or less up to date your pipe was made in the decade that fell between 1887 and 1897.
Thanks for that dating info - much appreciated.
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,684
Washington State
Yeah, when I first saw this one I thought it one of the ugliest blasts I’d ever seen.
I can’t decide if it was always a dog or if it’s the victim of psychotic buffing abuse.
Shaping is OK, but that’s about all.
Still, somebody loved it enough to drop some serious coin.
If you look at the non-pipe side of the case, you can see the indentations from the bits of briar that used to be present. Some of those pits at the top-front of the stummel left their own specific dents in the felt. But what is really strange is that long indented area under my red line - on the stummel it's been almost worn off. Whether that's 'finger wear' or buffing I don't know but that ridge has been worn away.

gRAMoyb.jpeg
.
 

jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,511
6,618
Impressive amount of coin, but I'm not impressed by the pipe :

Jesus, seeing this makes me feel much better about the $1100 I spent on a Grabow. At least the nomenclature on my pipe is legible.
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,684
Washington State
The chip is the obvious issue, but the buffed edges of the stem turned me off.

View attachment 301937
I have a few really special pipes that have this issue. I experimented a little with a severely-corner-sanded Dunhill, trying to build back up a stem corner. It's not pleasant. I guess all you can do is sand down both ends. But then, the ebay hacks that do this sort of work, also usually sand all the edges off the bit.
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,614
11,785
Maryland
postimg.cc
I have a few really special pipes that have this issue. I experimented a little with a severely-corner-sanded Dunhill, trying to build back up a stem corner. It's not pleasant. I guess all you can do is sand down both ends. But then, the ebay hacks that do this sort of work, also usually sand all the edges off the bit.
George can reface the shank and stem, to re-square the joint, but it takes special equipment and skill. He's posted a how-to, somewhere here.
 
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Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
That cased magnum has something quite fundamentally wrong going on.

The stem is laterally offset. Meaning no longer coaxially aligned with the shank.

Zero chance the offset is how the pipe was originally made, which says botched repair of some kind. (The large portion of missing nomenclature wasn't buffed off, it was sanded off... The result of an after-the-fact attempt to minimize the wonky axial alignment.)

Weird because the stems and shanks of magnums are large and robust by definition, and a 5/8" or 11/16" diameter tenon is exponentially stronger than a typical-sized 3/8"(ish) one. You could use it as a crowbar.

The only thing that comes to mind is a known issue with some Dunhill magnums from that period is the cutter who supplied the jumbo blocks (apparently) got greedy and trimmed them LESS than he should have, leaving some weak, crack-prone wood behind at the shank end of the block. I've repaired several of them over the years and seen it first hand.

Here's footage from the OR for you shop geeks to show the sort of measures required to save them:


Because it's a nightmare scenario, someone having botched a repair attempt years ago would be more likely than not.

All that assumes the pipe is a member of the "weak shank club", of course. Maybe the problem is/was something else. But nothing else comes to mind.
Eureka, you ( of course) mailed it.
I noticed something wrong with the shank/stem alignment, but could not find the words and believed it was in my imagination only.
 
Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
If you look at the non-pipe side of the case, you can see the indentations from the bits of briar that used to be present. Some of those pits at the top-front of the stummel left their own specific dents in the felt. But what is really strange is that long indented area under my red line - on the stummel it's been almost worn off. Whether that's 'finger wear' or buffing I don't know but that ridge has been worn away.

gRAMoyb.jpeg
.
Good eyesight Scott :)
Better than mine .
 
Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
One more. I picked up the H.Perkins out of this group of five skull pipes a British seller auctioned off a couple of weeks ago, but thought I'd link to all five, as they're kind of interesting. Since the H.Perkins doesn't include 'and sons', it's at least pre-1902 (earliest 'and sons' example I have). The stem has a bone tenon but is probably 1930s-1940s. Since taking the bottom picture I've re-bent it to better fit the case.

Immediately one of my favorite pipes.

five skulls on ebay

25qGwbO.jpg

0qXkMuA.jpg
This one scares the living daylight out of me.
 
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runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,684
Washington State
Eureka, you ( of course) mailed it.
I noticed something wrong with the shank/stem alignment, but could not find the words and believed it was in my imagination only.
Very wonky. I also didn't pick up on that, but looking at enlarged photos of the connection, it's pretty horrible. But I don't get how they did a repair and still got the pipe to fit the case, unless they also replaced the stem.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,586
14,513
Very wonky. I also didn't pick up on that, but looking at enlarged photos of the connection, it's pretty horrible. But I don't get how they did a repair and still got the pipe to fit the case, unless they also replaced the stem.

Here are some pics of the kind of "weak wood cracks" I mentioned. Giant shanks on giant pipes, with no damage of any other kind. Just made from blocks that shouldn't have been used.

I'm sure the wood looked OK at the time they were made and the cracks developed later, but a rare problem being found repeatedly in the same "batch" of 1920's magnums suggests that a special lot of giant blocks was bought for the purpose, and whoever supplied them cut them with an eye toward maximizing $ize so left soft areas they would normally have trimmed off.

Here are some close-ups. The cracks look nothing like "energy created" ones from impact or torque, but are numerous and spider-webby.



Screen Shot 2024-04-09 at 12.52.38 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-04-09 at 12.53.24 PM.pngScreen Shot 2024-04-09 at 12.54.23 PM.png


Dealing with the problem correctly is a labor-intensive PITA.

I suspect the wonky shank/stem joint on the pipe we're talking about is the result of some sort of quick & dirty "brute force" fix, such as slathering the inside of the mortise with a massive amount of glue, stabilization-style, after forcing the cracks open slightly, then re-drilling it after the glue dried. The problem with that approach being that getting perfect x, y, and z axis alignment for the re-drill would be impossible on a casually shaped object with anything short of a CNC machine, and even then you'd have all manner of clamping issues to deal with. Result? A third of a degree tilt, and a 1.5mm offset.
 

runscott

Lifer
Jun 3, 2020
1,209
2,684
Washington State
Here are some pics of the kind of "weak wood cracks" I mentioned. Giant shanks on giant pipes, with no damage of any other kind. Just made from blocks that shouldn't have been used.

I'm sure the wood looked OK at the time they were made and the cracks developed later, but a rare problem being found repeatedly in the same "batch" of 1920's magnums suggests that a special lot of giant blocks was bought for the purpose, and whoever supplied them cut them with an eye toward maximizing $ize so left soft areas they would normally have trimmed off.

Here are some close-ups. The cracks look nothing like "energy created" ones from impact or torque, but are numerous and spider-webby.



View attachment 302092
View attachment 302093View attachment 302094


Dealing with the problem correctly is a labor-intensive PITA.

I suspect the wonky shank/stem joint on the pipe we're talking about is the result of some sort of quick & dirty "brute force" fix, such as slathering the inside of the mortise with a massive amount of glue, stabilization-style, after forcing the cracks open slightly, then re-drilling it after the glue dried. The problem with that approach being that getting perfect x, y, and z axis alignment for the re-drill would be impossible on a casually shaped object with anything short of a CNC machine, and even then you'd have all manner of clamping issues to deal with. Result? A third of a degree tilt, and a 1.5mm offset.
So...at least it's an original stem!

The seller says bowl height is 2 1/2", and length is 7 1/4". If the photos are accurate, and it's really 2 1/2" tall, it's 6 1/2" long maximum. Anything under 2 1/2" gets the length down to 6" and 120 size. The shank angle is steeper than most 120's, but the bowl shape and amount of swan-neck isn't LC-like.

I think someone's in for a $3K surprise.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,586
14,513
So...at least it's an original stem!

No question about that.

Whoever made Magnum stems at both Dunhill and Comoy's back then was fantastically good, and their work is instantly recognizable. This one is legit.

The seller says bowl height is 2 1/2", and length is 7 1/4". If the photos are accurate, and it's really 2 1/2" tall, it's 6 1/2" long maximum. Anything under 2 1/2" gets the length down to 6" and 120 size. The shank angle is steeper than most 120's, but the bowl shape and amount of swan-neck isn't LC-like.

I think someone's in for a $3K surprise.

Indeed.

I recently acquired a giant of my own---a Comoy's Extraordinaire 804 that's ten inches long---and is in perfect like-new condition, that retailed for a fifth that amount. Crazy elegant lines, and smooth finished, too, which means "first selection" wood with fewer flaws.

The brand name obsession never ceases to amaze me. (Did you know that women's purses actually get sold for $300K? Not historically significant specimens that belong in a museum, like the one Jackie O. was carrying in Dallas or something, but to women who simply want to be oooh'd and aaaah'd at by their friends).
 
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Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
No question about that.

Whoever made Magnum stems at both Dunhill and Comoy's back then was fantastically good, and their work is instantly recognizable. This one is legit.



Indeed.

I recently acquired a giant of my own---a Comoy's Extraordinaire 804 that's ten inches long---and is in perfect like-new condition, that retailed for a fifth that amount. Crazy elegant lines, and smooth finished, too, which means "first selection" wood with fewer flaws.

The brand name obsession never ceases to amaze me. (Did you know that women's purses actually get sold for $300K? Not historically significant specimens that belong in a museum, like the one Jackie O. was carrying in Dallas or something, but to women who simply want to be oooh'd and aaaah'd at by their friends).
Pics. George ?
 
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