Robert L Marx Exhibition Pipes

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Tate

Lifer
Sep 27, 2023
1,259
17,449
30
Northern Illinois
When refurbished correctly and refurbished with a good ole, O3 bath, these old Marxmans will make your smoking experience one to relish. Just don't post them unless you want to confuse your friends regarding your taste.
I love how they look. Even the gnarly ones. I have a few I have polished up and some on the way. Definitely the best smoking pipes I have.
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
When I purchase an old Marxman, I tend to buy only NOS in the box and with the catalog or certificate if possible. I have purchased three that were previously smoked. Two of them needed to be cleaned professionally, but otherwise the outside of the bowls were in decent shape. The Four Hundred was in Amazing shape and had been smoked maybe one or two or so times. It smokes like a new pipe. The Benchmade and Mel-O are good smokers but only because they were thoroughly cleaned, professionally.

One thing to note is that Marxman stems seem to be made of an okay grade of vulcanite that cleans up well and with a little maintenance, stays looking fresh and clean.

I have a Marxman, one that looks as if it was intended to be a Four Hundred but the craftsman changed their mind. It is marked Royal, but in no way looks like the Royal line. It looks like a slightly smaller Four Hundred and it is rusticated in the manner of the Four Hundred and it has a gold band as well. Strange.

Marx played loose with his own rules, but his choice in briar was always consistent.
 
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Tate

Lifer
Sep 27, 2023
1,259
17,449
30
Northern Illinois
When I purchase an old Marxman, I tend to buy only NOS in the box and with the catalog or certificate if possible. I have purchased three that were previously smoked. Two of them needed to be cleaned professionally, but otherwise the outside of the bowls were in decent shape. The Four Hundred was in Amazing shape and had been smoked maybe one or two or so times. It smokes like a new pipe. The Benchmade and Mel-O are good smokers but only because they were thoroughly cleaned, professionally.

One thing to note is that Marxman stems seem to be made of an okay grade of vulcanite that cleans up well and with a little maintenance, stays looking fresh and clean.

I have a Marxman, one that looks as if it was intended to be a Four Hundred but the craftsman changed their mind. It is marked Royal, but in no way looks like the Royal line. It looks like a slightly smaller Four Hundred and it is rusticated in the manner of the Four Hundred and it has a gold band as well. Strange.

Marx played loose with his own rules, but his choice in briar was always consistent.
Definitely! All of mine have needed pretty deep cleanings. I have been able to polish the stems up to near mirror finish. They have been fun to learn on and been a great reward. I have some extra supplies coming to take em to the next level.
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Definitely! All of mine have needed pretty deep cleanings. I have been able to polish the stems up to near mirror finish. They have been fun to learn on and been a great reward. I have some extra supplies coming to take em to the next level.
My advice is to use a drill bit and with your hand, scrap away as much tar and oils from the mortise as well as clean with alcohol as well as salt baths. Who knows how long they were smoked, improperly cleaned and then laid to rest to fester. Algerian briar is a sponge. But once cleaned, sanded, and allowed to dry and hardened up, the mortise will give you a clean taste. Of course, the bowls need to be sanded back to briar as well.

I use the Pipe Force to decide which pipe I will smoke each day. I have many, many to choose from. More often than not, my hand wants to reach for a Marxman.
 

Tate

Lifer
Sep 27, 2023
1,259
17,449
30
Northern Illinois
My advice is to use a drill bit and with your hand, scrap away as much tar and oils from the mortise as well as clean with alcohol as well as salt baths. Who knows how long they were smoked, improperly cleaned and then laid to rest to fester. Algerian briar is a sponge. But once cleaned, sanded, and allowed to dry and hardened up, the mortise will give you a clean taste. Of course, the bowls need to be sanded back to briar as well.

I use the Pipe Force to decide which pipe I will smoke each day. I have many, many to choose from. More often than not, my hand wants to reach for a Marxman.
Thanks! I have done those things! I watched a lot of videos trying to learn how to do it. They have been reemed in the chamber and mortise, sanded, salt and alcohol bathed, and cleaned with a bunch alcohol. I also have retort supplies coming. I have a few that are smokable condition. Just letting them dry out till this evening.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
Pipe Lover’s Magazine Jan 1947

Pipe collectors will be especially in terested in the announcement of a new firm known as Marxman Hierlooms which has been formed for the purpose of creating very fine, hand carved. briar pipes.

Robert L. Marx, head of Marxman Pipes, and Leon Cutler, noted collector of rare old pipes, have pooled their talents and are creating a line of handsculptured beauties which will be the world’s. most expensive pipes.

The: prices for the new hand carved works of art will range from $100 to $3,700.

Jo Davidson, Cecil Howard, and other outstanding: contemporary sculptors have been commissioned to create the original ‘pipe masterpieces.

Describing the, project. as “a worthwhile endeavor combining art and utility,” Jo Davidson offered his services,
he said, “to help lay the foundation of fine American folk-art through this me-dium of Marxman Heirloom Pipes.”
A preview of some of the new’ pipes was given recently for the press, art critics, and some of America’s top sculptors. Included in the display were carved pipe creations of such artists as Edwin F. Drake, Max Kopp, G. A Griffin, R. D. Watts, Leslie MI Sommer, and others.


Officials of the new organization have pointed out the pipes are the same assured of a completely original design, of which only one is in existence. It was also pointed out that only the finest briar obtainable used in the new pipes
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
1947 Packard Clipper, or high end Marxman Heirloom,,,,same prices!

——



Packard turned from building top-tier luxury cars prior to WWII to Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engines during the war, but picked up in 1946 with the Clipper series they had introduced in 1941. The returning 1946 Packard Clippers were almost identical to the prewar cars, being semi-streamlined two- and four-door sedans with fade-away fenders. The grille remained tall and narrow, only now with fewer and thicker bars.





The Clipper could be ordered with a 245-cid straight-six engine that produced 105 hp, a 125-hp straight-eight engine that displaced 282 cid, or a 356-cid, 165-hp L-head eight. The latter engine was reserved for the luxury Super and Custom Super lines. The base Clipper rode on a 120-inch wheelbase, while the Super and Custom Super Clippers rode a 127-inch wheelbase. The Custom Super also came as a seven-passenger sedan and as a limo, both of which rode on 148-inch long wheelbases, which was one of the longest in the domestic industry. Prices ran from $1,700 for a six-cylinder car to $2,900 for a Custom Super Clipper sedan. The LWB versions were more than $1,000 above that price, still.

IMG_5023.jpeg
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Pipe Lover’s Magazine Jan 1947

Pipe collectors will be especially in terested in the announcement of a new firm known as Marxman Hierlooms which has been formed for the purpose of creating very fine, hand carved. briar pipes.

Robert L. Marx, head of Marxman Pipes, and Leon Cutler, noted collector of rare old pipes, have pooled their talents and are creating a line of handsculptured beauties which will be the world’s. most expensive pipes.

The: prices for the new hand carved works of art will range from $100 to $3,700.

Jo Davidson, Cecil Howard, and other outstanding: contemporary sculptors have been commissioned to create the original ‘pipe masterpieces.

Describing the, project. as “a worthwhile endeavor combining art and utility,” Jo Davidson offered his services,
he said, “to help lay the foundation of fine American folk-art through this me-dium of Marxman Heirloom Pipes.”
A preview of some of the new’ pipes was given recently for the press, art critics, and some of America’s top sculptors. Included in the display were carved pipe creations of such artists as Edwin F. Drake, Max Kopp, G. A Griffin, R. D. Watts, Leslie MI Sommer, and others.


Officials of the new organization have pointed out the pipes are the same assured of a completely original design, of which only one is in existence. It was also pointed out that only the finest briar obtainable used in the new pipes
The Jo Davidson pipe stayed in the personal possession of Robert Marx. It was indeed valued as the world's most expensive pipe. Approximently 80 of these pipes were actually made. As to their whereabouts now, no one seems to know where they are. Yes, Marx did create many sculpted pipes, but those were cataloged and many copies of them were made. These were one of a kinds. Where are they? Does anyone alive today who actually owns one know what they have, what it is, and the value it most likely has?
 
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jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,474
6,446
The Heirloom jv was actually announced to the trade in November 1946.

Here’s a crappy photo of of the Jo Davidson pipe:

IMG_0199.jpeg
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
The Jo Davidson pipe stayed in the personal possession of Robert Marx. It was indeed valued as the world's most expensive pipe. Approximently 80 of these pipes were actually made. As to their whereabouts now, no one seems to know where they are. Yes, Marx did create many sculpted pipes, but those were cataloged and many copies of them were made. These were one of a kinds. Where are they? Does anyone alive today who actually owns one know what they have, what it is, and the value it most likely has?

My grandmother was locally famous, as a weekly column writer for the Hermitage Index. In 1963 she wrote a book as a part of a settlement where the producers of the Beverley Hillbillies paid $400 for 200 copies of her book, which was illustrated by a local artist named Nanny Jenkins.

“Ma” died in 1980 and I have a lot of her stuff yet and my cousin Pam has even more, including the receipts from the Beverley Hillbillies, the Nanny Jenkins plates, and the handwritten proofs of her book.

Somewhere, a grandchild of Robert Marx likely has that book of registered 400 buyers, and the records of the hand carved master series.

I guarantee the Marx family talked about all that and little ears were listening.

Even today I still occasionally have a graduate history student call me about “Ma”.

Does anyone have Robert L Marx’s obituary?
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
I am not convinced that the Blue Book still exists. If it does, it is in a box in some warehouse and is long lost or forgotten. If the files from Marxman were transferred to MasterCraft in 1954, then one can be fairly certain that when Mastercraft was absorbed by Dr. Grabow, either warehouse fires or degradation of files finished the Blue Book out of posterity.

But.. if it exist, then what a treasure trove it would be. Something that should be preserved by the Pipe Museum in Amsterdam.

Regardless, The Four Hundred was in my opinion, more of a marketing ploy. I say that because - and this will disappoint you - The Four Hundred as a pipe is NOTHING to write home about. The fit and finish where the stem and mortise meet is average if it is even that . Turn the stem and you can see that there is definitely only one way the stem can fit properly. The "Gold" band is NOT 14K but probably far less. The gold can burn off with heat leaving only copper - although it clearly stamped 14K. The vulcanite is typical Marxman as well. Even the button hole is kind of wanky - The draft hole had to be increased on mine to create a proper draft.

Anyway, would I purchase it again. Yes. It is after all, the myth, the legend, THE FOUR HUNDRED.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
I am not convinced that the Blue Book still exists. If it does, it is in a box in some warehouse and is long lost or forgotten. If the files from Marxman were transferred to MasterCraft in 1954, then one can be fairly certain that when Mastercraft was absorbed by Dr. Grabow, either warehouse fires or degradation of files finished the Blue Book out of posterity.

But.. if it exist, then what a treasure trove it would be. Something that should be preserved by the Pipe Museum in Amsterdam.

Regardless, The Four Hundred was in my opinion, more of a marketing ploy. I say that because - and this will disappoint you - The Four Hundred as a pipe is NOTHING to write home about. The fit and finish where the stem and mortise meet is average if it is even that . Turn the stem and you can see that there is definitely only one way the stem can fit properly. The "Gold" band is NOT 14K but probably far less. The gold can burn off with heat leaving only copper - although it clearly stamped 14K. The vulcanite is typical Marxman as well. Even the button hole is kind of wanky - The draft hole had to be increased on mine to create a proper draft.

Anyway, would I purchase it again. Yes. It is after all, the myth, the legend, THE FOUR HUNDRED.
Bob stayed on with Mastercraft, and I don’t know if he had children, but he was of my grandmother’s generation.

His grandkids would have grown up regaled with stories about only the best of his career, and those were first the 80 masterpiece carved pipes (the overwhelming majority of which likely were never smoked and still exist) and that book full of 400 orders, most of which probably were smoked and still exist.

When my grandmother died I called Pam and we made it to her apartment before our parents. She was married and had a home so we found all those records about the book and the Beverley Hillbillies and Pam still has them.

Our parents grew up with “Ma” being famous and took it for granted.

But Pam and I realized even in our twenties that the lady that inspired the dead pan humor of Granny and Jed, Jethro Bodine and Ella Mae was historical.

By the way the characters of Mr Drysdale and his old maid secretary Jane were added by the show, as was the striking oil and moving to Beverley Hills.

But the humor of Pa and Ma and Sy Thomas and Little Saydee was directly “borrowed” by the show.

How my grandmother did it, was simply to go to the beauty shop once a week and my grandfather went to the barbershop once a week, and they’d compare stories they heard,

Ma knew she had it down when she’d share the column with certain neighbors and they didn’t see one thing funny about it.:)
 
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jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,474
6,446
Somewhere, a grandchild of Robert Marx likely has that book of registered 400 buyers, and the records of the hand carved master series.
Bob stayed on with Mastercraft, and I don’t know if he had children, but he was of my grandmother’s generation.

Robert Louis Marx (07/18/1904-01/23/1993) and his wife Helen Sohn (03/12/1906-01/28/1999) had two children: a daughter who died in 1995 and was survived by her husband and two children, and a son who I think might still be alive. I don’t post specific information about living people online but the point is Marx has living descendants and finding them is possible if you’re sufficiently motivated. Whether or not they have the records you want is another matter. In my experience what survives the ravages of time is very much a crap shoot, but this might well be a question that can be settled empirically.