Number Of Pipes Being Listed On eBay Is Exploding

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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
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jrs457.wixsite.com
When I first started following eBay pipe auctions and sales in 2006 the average number of listings on any given day hovered around 5,000. Following the financial meltdown of 2007/2008 the number of listings rose to about 9,000 and eventually grew to about 20,000 as the Great Recession continued. Late last year the daily total had stood at about 44,000. The other day I decided to take a look and was a bit shocked to find the daily total at just under 90,000 listings available.
Anyone care to speculate as to why so many pipes are up for sale?
 

grilledokra

New member
Oct 27, 2016
19
17
When I first started following eBay pipe auctions and sales in 2006 the average number of listings on any given day hovered around 5,000. Following the financial meltdown of 2007/2008 the number of listings rose to about 9,000 and eventually grew to about 20,000 as the Great Recession continued. Late last year the daily total had stood at about 44,000. The other day I decided to take a look and was a bit shocked to find the daily total at just under 90,000 listings available.
Anyone care to speculate as to why so many pipes are up for sale?

Do you think this increase includes an increase in headshop-style pipes also available on eBay? For better or worse, sometimes eBay also serves as a simple e-store for any number of products.
 

peregrinus

Preferred Member
Aug 4, 2019
1,160
3,453
Pacific Northwest
Anyone care to speculate as to why so many pipes are up for sale?
Likely more than a single reason right?
One I’ve noticed the last few years is the fact that, first the Greatest Generation, and now the older Boomers, are beginning to age out and their collections that were built over a lifetime are coming on market.
I think this is a major factor in both the higher availability and lower prices on British briars.
 

shanez

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
3,924
14,661
47
Las Vegas
Anyone care to speculate as to why so many pipes are up for sale?

I would hazard a guess that a significant number are coming from people who clean/restore estate or bulk pipe purchases.

I've passed on a couple offers of 80-ish pipes in a single deal so I know these deals exist.

If I was retired I might have done it as it would have given me something to do with my time and the one deal worked out to $7.50/pipe. Some elbow grease and I probably could've averaged $30-ish/pipe on eBay. Not a bad margin.
 

glassjapan

Member
Feb 11, 2017
269
53
I keep an eye on treasurepipes on eBay. Always seems like a who's who in the pipe making world week in and week out. But whether it's more than in the past few years I couldn't say. Maybe pipe smokers as a group are getting older and passing on. I'd like to think not.
 
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craig61a

Preferred Member
Apr 29, 2017
3,364
23,695
Minnesota USA
There are in my estimation many more people doing restorations, and then trying to turn them. Also the estate salers, garage salers, and people who just tend to locate all kinds of crap have learned they can turn a huge profit on dingy old smoking pipes. I'm sure there's a discussion somewhere on the eBay community forum about it. I also see a lot more foreign sellers in last few years asking top dollar (Those Americans will pay any price...)

Wasn't all that long ago that you could buy many old pipes for $5 - $20 depending on the seller. A bit more for people who were selling pipes pretty much exclusively.

Old crappy Dunhill's with barely readable buffed out nomenclature, poorly fitting replacement stems, etc. command high prices... Well, at least they're trying to anyways. And sometimes they do. They know the headlining names: Dunhill, Sasieni, Charatan, etal.

My rule several years ago was to not pay more than $5.00/ea. for lots, and no more than $20-25 individual pieces. I acquired quite a few pipes. Many of these I used to hone my refurbishing skills on. If I really messed some up, I was only out a few bucks.

The market has gone soft, and prices are back to somewhat reasonable in some cases. There are a finite amount of buyers out there, perhaps only growing a very small percentage. Most everybody's disposable cash is being poured into tobacco. Perhaps that will change once the market of available tobacco stabilizes after deeming, and pipe demand will increase again.

Well, that's my take on it.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
7,072
31,223
Do you think this increase includes an increase in headshop-style pipes also available on eBay? For better or worse, sometimes eBay also serves as a simple e-store for any number of products.

This. I don't live on eBay or study it but from my casual observation, I don't notice a big change. Perhaps more people are using eBay. Perhaps more people are using Buy It Now and the pipes are staying around longer. I certainly have noticed this. In general, pipes aren't consumable items. I suspect the pipe smoking population hasn't increased in the past 20 years but it is safe to say, hundreds of thousands of new pipes have been introduced to the market in that time frame. Perhaps people are growing their collections that much but I doubt that is where they've all gone.
 

mingc

Preferred Member
Jun 20, 2019
2,202
5,165
The Big Rock Candy Mountain
I have noticed that some of the volume sellers are listing pipes twice at the same time, one for bidding and another for a buy-it-now price. I've also noticed at least one of those pipes sold at bidding, but remained for sale at the buy-it-now price. This was not for a patterned model but a unique pipe. I know because I won the bid. I'm not sure how this double listing works but may account for some of the increase in offerings.
 
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lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,288
1,721
I’ve been buying and refurbishing to fund my pipe fun-finances for just three years, and just in that short amount of time, I have noticed SO many more pipes being listed on eBay (my main hunting ground), and a lot less “deals” to be found.

I attribute at least a noticeable amount of this to information spreading via websites (rebornpipes, this one, too!) and Instagram, where people can see, “Hey, that really horrible looking pipe could clean up pretty darn good with just a few little tricks!”

I remember originally thinking, “Yuck! I will NEVER buy a used pipe. Green stems, spit crust, inch-thick cake...no thanks!”

Fussing about chatter, oxidation, rim charring, and fading stain is a thing of the past for people who feel up for doing their own work.

My first Dunhill was a $10 battered and abused mess with a hole through the top and bottom of the stem that I ordered from a Chinese seller on Etsy. “Vintage Wooden Pipe.”

Turned out to be a 1935 Bruyere that I made look brand new just from what I learned on rebornpipes.

This is getting too long (apologies!), but to sum it up, I think information on restoration is spreading and more people like me are trying their hand at cleaning up and selling (and in my case, keeping!) estates.
 

Pierre1965

Member
Feb 6, 2020
198
644
Might have something to do with the expanding availability of high speed internet to parts of the world previously under served; allowing those people to reach the ebay market? Also, I used to be able to go to yard sales or antique stores and find all the estate pipes I could want. I could pick up pipes for next to nothing because most people outside community didn't know what they were looking at or saw the cake filled bowl and grungy bit and thought the pipe wasn't salvageable. With the help available on forums such as Youtube the number of people doing pipe restorations is growing and the "pickings" are slimmer. It's a good question.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
31,086
50,246
I have such a narrow field of focus on pipes that I've not really noticed growth. I haven't had any bites on my searches for weeks.
 

condorlover1

Preferred Member
Dec 22, 2013
5,910
12,865
New York
@chasingembers Same here. The last good 'cutty' I picked up was one that was Weezell's Xmas present and even then I still had to have Briarville redo the amber stem since some meat head had jammed it up with cement doing the amateur repair number on it sometime in the last century! I used to just buy the 'cutty' bowls in the case and have new stems made but now nothing much is showing up. I saw a 14" meerschaum and amber stem church warden the other day in a case from the 1870s for about $100 on Oi Vay but you need a frigging library to smoke the thing in. Over the years I have come across examples with busted amber stems without cases and I have had them repurposed as 5 3/4" inch 'cutty' pipes and then had Ramazon make me a new case. It's tough out there and I have had to spread my search from France to as far as Bulgaria.
 
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