Need Help: Dating Sandblasted GBD New Era

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Duke of Erinmore

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 5, 2020
274
1,312
43
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Dear GBD experts,

I have just restored an estate GBD pipe that I acquired in a collection. But as I am not at all familiar with this brand and really confused from information on pipedia etc., maybe someone can help me.

It's a sandblasted billiard with tapered stem. Quite a nice pipe, I must say.

img_0924.jpg

Now for the markings:

On the bottom of the shank: "GBD New Era"
img_0928.jpg

On the right side of the shank, close to the stem a number "3680" (or "368C"?) as well as a dealer stamp "MAISON DE LA PIPE LE MANS". So it was first sold in France.

img_0923.jpg

Any help about the origin / age of this pipe would be highly appreciated!
 

ssjones

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May 11, 2011
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Typically the brass Randell dates it as 1981 or earlier. Need to see the COM to confirm. It should be a straight line. "London,England " stamp. After 81, they went to the round "Made In London. England". Lemans shop is cool, particularly for sports car racing fans.
 

Duke of Erinmore

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 5, 2020
274
1,312
43
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Typically the brass Randell dates it as 1981 or earlier. Need to see the COM to confirm. It should be a straight line. "London,England " stamp. After 81, they went to the round "Made In London. England". Lemans shop is cool, particularly for sports car racing fans.

Thanks - and that's where it gets tricky: I haven't found any other stamps than those described - no reference to "London, England". It also doesn't look like it has been buffed off. Can you say where it is usually located? And if it is absent, what would that mean for the pipe's origin?
 

Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
I have an almost identical pipe. Except it’s a prehistoric, meer lined and a sitter. Ok so maybe not identical. Haha

But it has the same blast and is stamped with the Le Mans shop name on the side. I can confirm the stem has the brass rondal logo and there is no English/London COM on the bottom of the shank. Only markings are GBD in a circle and the model line name and shape number.

Here’s a link to a thread of it for cross reference.

 
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ssjones

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Without a COM, then it it just another GBD mystery. They typically stamped on the bottom of the pipe, in a smooth area left for the stamp.

GBD_9242-P_Finish (11).jpg

Thanks - and that's where it gets tricky: I haven't found any other stamps than those described - no reference to "London, England". It also doesn't look like it has been buffed off. Can you say where it is usually located? And if it is absent, what would that mean for the pipe's origin?
 
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Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Without a COM, then it it just another GBD mystery. They typically stamped on the bottom of the pipe, in a smooth area left for the stamp.

View attachment 44112

Do you know if English COMs would be less desirable for pipes being sold to the French public/tourists to Le Mans?

Just find it interesting that both these pipes are similarly stamped, and yet one would assume they were models made in England.
 
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ssjones

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I think even the ones stamped London/England may have only been finished in England.

Thats a good hypothesis, if you went to Lemans, and needed a souvenir, you wouldn't want a London stamped pipe! I wonder if those shops had them drop the COM for that reason? Sure makes sense.
 
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Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
I think even the ones stamped London/England may have only been finished in England.

Thats a good hypothesis, if you went to Lemans, and needed a souvenir, you wouldn't want a London stamped pipe! I wonder if those shops had them drop the COM for that reason? Sure makes sense.
I’m still trying to figure out whether the st Claude marking on mine is to do with the factory or whether it was the name of the tabac it was made for. Originally I thought it was the shop name (as there is still a shop called st Claude in Le Mans), however seeing dukes new era, I’m wondering if it is actually either a COM or a marketing attempt to make the pipe more French.

Duke, does your one have a stinger too?

Jonesie, have you found the inclusion of a stinger has corresponded with a date period in your GBD collection?
 
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Duke of Erinmore

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 5, 2020
274
1,312
43
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Wow thanks for the lively discussion ?

A mystery indeed. I've also read somewhere that "New Eras" were all smooth, but mine is blasted.

I'm pretty sure that the Le Mans stamp on my pipe was applied by the shop before sale because it's on blasted area. In Europe this is quite common that famous tobacconists (like Huber in Munich) stamp their business's name on every pipe sold.

I don't know if GBDs at that time (well, at which actually?) were considered more French or English. On pipedia it says:

The company was founded in Paris France in the 19th century by Ganeval, Boundier and Donninger who were no longer associated with the company by the turn of the century. By the time they left the GBD name was well established and thus retained. In 1903 an additional factory was built in England and ran by Oppenheimer. The Paris factory moved to Saint-Claude in 1952. Since 1981 the majority of GBD pipes come from the English factory. At about that same time GBD merged with Comoys, since then all production for both GBD and Comoy comes from a single factory.

That means between 1952 and 1981 some of the GBD pipes were produced in St Claude. Which explains the absence of a London COM, but not why Ahi Ka's pipe has St Claude on it and mine doesn't, though they were sold in the same shop. @Ahi Ka , do you think "St Claude" and "Maison de la Pipe" belong to the same stamp, or do you think one comes from the factory and one from the tobacconist.

My pipe has no stinger.

@ssjones just one question to the GBD expert - is my pipe a good one within the GBD universe?
 
Last edited:

Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Are you thinking of keeping it as a smoker or resale?

As a smoker it should be superb. While I don’t reach for mine regularly as it is a bit bigger than the chamber size I prefer, if I could only save one of my pipes from a fire, it would be amongst the few I would be choosing from - and that is even despite its plaster of Paris meer repair and over sanded stem that screwed up the shank connection.

I think the new era is a higher model than my prehistoric too. Anything pre-merger is supposed to be great, however I don’t know how much it would appeal to a collector due to lack of COM. This is where others like ssjones could advise.

I’ve attached a pic of the nomenclature. Like yours it is stamped on the blast - RH side of shank.

I always assumed the st Claude was part of same stamp, but it does appear maybe slightly deeper in stamping, and the 3rd line - Le Mans - doesn’t actually line up centred with it, as is centred under the shop name instead. The shop name also has speech marks on either side of it. Does yours do this?

Maybe it is a st Claude factory stamp. I’m gonna check out some other pipes to see if it matches their COM now. This would be interesting given the pipedia article states it is unknown whether prehistoric were made in France.

E514EDB6-E5E8-42EA-8408-9BD7BC2C518C.jpeg
 
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Duke of Erinmore

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 5, 2020
274
1,312
43
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
I haven't made up my mind yet if I will keep it because I usually do not smoke Billiards - I have not a single one in my rotation. On the other hand I have a thing for pipes with a special history.

On your pipe, it really looks like it's one stamp. The typefont is the same and if it was a factory stamp, it would be on a smooth place rather than over the blasting. And it gets weirder, my stamp has no quotation marks.

I tried to do some research about the Maison de la Pipe in Le Mans, but it seems not to exist anymore, so I cannot ask them (I did that once at Huber in Munich about a custom made pipe and they replied very kindly that it had been produced for them by Stanwell in the 90s). Maybe join a French forum and put up the question there? I must confess that the detective work is beginning to inspire me ;)
 
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Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Just saw this old forum thread:


Shows prehistoric with st Claude stamping, and also with it on bottom of shank as you suggested.

It also causes me to look at my stamping further to see if the t in st had the small line under it which it does.

I’m fairly confident that this stamp is evidence of its COM, even if not a factory stamp as such, and I would then assume given the similar blast and stamping on yours that your one too is from st Claude (or Paris if made earlier than mine)
 

ssjones

Moderator
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May 11, 2011
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Well, no expert, but I'm a fan of GBD pipes (they make up the bulk of my collection).

"New Era" pipes are a step up the GBD quality list (above New Standard). And, New Era pipes are typically smooth, not sand blasted, so yours is unusual.

@ssjones just one question to the GBD expert - is my pipe a good one within the GBD universe?
 

Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Sorry about hijacking this thread, but I thought by posting here I would get both of your responses - The guy with the most gbds that I know of, and the one who is researching like a mad dog to find info...

Here’s a GBD with1955 London hallmarks, and also the MR&Co stamp. This is confusing me as I thought the MRC, and subsequent MR&Co were French made gbds, and the company was wound up before the year this pipe was made/marked.

Thoughts?

6F38B36B-2957-4D61-B38D-E0581BA814D6.jpeg
 

Duke of Erinmore

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 5, 2020
274
1,312
43
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Sorry about hijacking this thread, but I thought by posting here I would get both of your responses - The guy with the most gbds that I know of, and the one who is researching like a mad dog to find info...

Here’s a GBD with1955 London hallmarks, and also the MR&Co stamp. This is confusing me as I thought the MRC, and subsequent MR&Co were French made gbds, and the company was wound up before the year this pipe was made/marked.

Thoughts?

View attachment 45103

As far is I get the picture, I more and more come to the result that the stamps don't really tell much about the actual provenience of GBDs. So maybe French made, London finished? With an UK produced silver band.

For pipes from the 1950s this seems to be quite common, here's an example from 1950 with the same characteristics:

And where did you get the idea that the MR&Co was wound up in the fifties?

According to pipephil it just (at some time) changed its name to C. J. Verguet, but existed until 1981.

And probably GBD (that is at that time, Oppenheimer) continued to use the brand MR&Co on the bands regardless if the bands may or may not have ever seen French soil ;)
 

Ahi Ka

Lifer
Feb 25, 2020
4,242
18,973
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Wow. @Duke of Erinmore i just got schooled. Lol thank you. I blame my lapse on the bowl of war horse plug I have left in the cellar that i was thinking about smoking...

I’ll wait for this pipe to arrive and check whether there are any markings on the shank. Funny thing it is labelled as vintage smoking pipe too.

I just did some backtracking and I realised where I made the mistake about the MR&Co mark winding up in 50s. It was the French marcee brand that was phased out after WW2 not the company itself. I still find it interesting that the band is marked with MR&Co as well as having London hallmarks and COM on the shank. But as you say, nothing is straight forward, and I guess that adds to the joy of knowledge.
 
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Jack.Grave

Lurker
Mar 7, 2020
5
9
Prague, Czech Republic
Gentlemen GBD and its French Made pipes are fairly interesting subject. As by my limited knowledge French Made GBDs lacking COM were intended for French Market, if COM (France) is present then those are for Export/British Market as slight seconds (lines Speciale and Sablée).
Another thing which is proof of French origin GBD is stilletto looking stinger/condenser (looks like Mosin1891/30 bayonet)
Here is my precious (and hardly abused) Frenchies:
1. GBD Esterel 326 with resin mouthpiece according accompanying leaflet Made in Paris, originally fitted with stinger described as above
2. GBD Prehistoric 237S -- S denotes saddle mouthpiece, only GBD with Dunhill style inner tube
3. GBD Sablée Standart 549 France

Jack
 

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