I've Never Heard Of This Kind Of Dunhill

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor



May 13, 2020
Brooklyn, NY
Dunhill's relationship with Namiki (also known as Pilot) probably dates back to about 1927, and while lighters, cigarette cases, pencils, ladies compacts, and sundry other small articles (maybe a pipe or two, though I'd be surprised) were made in Japan by Namiki and sold by Dunhill (more out of the Paris store than elsewhere), it was fountain pens-- varying in sizes ranging from small to giant, in plain black lacquer, or ascending grades of decoration (more often than not signed by individual Japanese artists)-- that were the partnership's focus. And to which the OP's pipe pays a somewhat grotesque homage.

At least from the look of ads and a couple of catalogues from the 1930s, a range of remarkably beautiful things were featured among Dunhill's line of desk accessories and writing instruments right up until the world began its gradual drift towards the Second World War.

And though Pilot/Namiki resumed production of luxurious, lacquer covered pens by the late 1950s (and pre-war Dunhill-Namiki pens were very avidly collected like, say, Dunhill aquarium lighters, as minor "works of art"), the real frenzy began with a December 2000 Bonhams auction in London. Here a very large (#50 "giant" or "emperor" sized) pen, dating to about 1928 (and decorated with a pair of dragons in cloudy skies with lightning bolts by an artist known as Shogo) set a record price of approximately $250,000.

I'm a bit hazy about the exact date that Dunhill and Namiki began to reestablish their relations, but I believe it was around 2005.

Of course, nothing is really made for actual use like writing (or smoking). Rather like the five-figure, limited edition pens that Montblanc produces, most of what's made will end up in a safety deposit box until it's auctioned off, in original box and papers, to some other "collector" at a profit or loss. Dunhill Namiki ad 1930.jpg

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor



Apr 5, 2020
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Here's another Dunhill. Make sure you're sitting down when you see the price.
Citation from sellers advertisement

(...) Pipe of Pipes none better than this one ever.Probably made by Alfred Dunhill himself for a client or could be even his own personal pipe. (...)

And most probably Alfred Dunhil had learned to
carve pipes by viewing when he visited Frederick Charatan to buy his pipes which he then sold under his name.
  • Like
Reactions: jpmcwjr


Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2019
The oil from the Japanese lacquer tree is urushiol. Aka same stuff in poison ivy. Now granted, when it cures it’s no longer truly reactive with human skin, but I’d probably not want to go fondling any such thing, especially not for 19k
I’ve used urushi pens made in the same way for decades. No reaction once it’s cured. Perfectly safe.

Of course, I don’t set my pens on fire, either.


Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
United States
Call me extravagant if you must but I would pay 500..00 for that pipe. I figure 300.00 for the pipe and 200.00 for the pain job. Anything above 500.00 means you are a lay down. That is car speak for the uninitiated. It basically means you have a customer who will just bend over and you have your way with him.


Preferred Member
Feb 1, 2010

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor