Spotting Replacement Dunhill Stems (pre-1970)

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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,534
14,204
This is for you oldie Dunhill shoppers.

The info applies from the late(ish) 1920s through the late 60's / early 70's for all but special orders, specialty pipes, giants, etc.

The following pics show an authentic stem for a 1940's model 475 (as a reference), and a good copy and a bad copy for the same pipe---a 1956 475.

The authentic one will NOT fit the 1956 pipe---the shank & overall size of the two pipes are different (the '56 is slightly larger)---but since pointing out the "tells" of a replacement stem is the point of this thread, that doesn't matter.

The first thing to look for and the easiest to spot is the crisp 45-degree angle between the tenon and shank face. Before the 1970's, Dunhill never used a square or rounded cut here.



P1050748.jpg



Next is the button's front-on profile. Legit Dunhill stems are always a flattened oval with rounded ends NOT Stewie Griffin points.

P1050754.jpg



The overall side-taper rate is also important. Notice that the stem on the left is neither straight nor fish tail, but somewhere in between. Older Dunhill's were pretty strict about being one or the other. (No F/T stamp means almost (but not quite) parallel-sided for the full length of the stem, and having the F/T stamp means an unambiguous bite-zone flare or "trumpet" shape when viewed from the top.)

All these are non F/T stems.

Also, both the dot placement (it's too close to the shank) and the dot size (it's too large) are wrong on the left one. Those two things vary enough from specimen to specimen that there's no standard, however. You just have to look at enough authentic pipes that after a while an estate pipe's dot either "looks right" or it doesn't.

Also, though not definitive, but helpful, is the COLOR of the dot.

Notice that the one on the right is very faintly---but distinctly---yellow-ish. Sort of a translucent cream color. That's because a percentage of legit oldies had their cellulose dots do that from age.

Because I like the look, I "fake" it with walrus ivory (the only other option is to use cellulose and wait 50+ years and hope you handled the pipe in whatever ways caused SOME Dunhill dots to do that.)

Anyway, if the dot is a translucent-ish cream color, the stem is almost guaranteed to be original. Remember that the reverse is NOT true, however.


P8286405.jpg



Finally, the side profile of the button.

It is very difficult to get right, so almost never is on replacements.

Rather than try to describe the characteristics, I'll just let the picture do the talking.


P1050769.jpg



PS --- the side view of the entire stem is the most basic tell of all---Dunhill NEVER did the duckbill thing---but anyone reading this almost certainly already knows that. I wanted to cover the more subtle stuff.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,822
30,991
71
Sydney, Australia
This is for you oldie Dunhill shoppers.

The info applies from the late(ish) 1920s through the late 60's / early 70's for all but special orders, specialty pipes, giants, etc.

The following pics show an authentic stem for a 1940's model 475 (as a reference), and a good copy and a bad copy for the same pipe---a 1956 475.

The authentic one will NOT fit the 1956 pipe---the shank & overall size of the two pipes are different (the '56 is slightly larger)---but since pointing out the "tells" of a replacement stem is the point of this thread, that doesn't matter.

The first thing to look for and the easiest to spot is the crisp 45-degree angle between the tenon and shank face. Before the 1970's, Dunhill never used a square or rounded cut here.



View attachment 165710



Next is the button's front-on profile. Legit Dunhill stems are always a flattened oval with rounded ends NOT Stewie Griffin points.

View attachment 165711



The overall side-taper rate is also important. Notice that the stem on the left is neither straight nor fish tail, but somewhere in between. Older Dunhill's were pretty strict about being one or the other. (No F/T stamp means almost (but not quite) parallel-sided for the full length of the stem, and having the F/T stamp means an unambiguous bite-zone flare or "trumpet" shape when viewed from the top.)

All these are non F/T stems.

Also, both the dot placement (it's too close to the shank) and the dot size (it's too large) are wrong on the left one. Those two things vary enough from specimen to specimen that there's no standard, however. You just have to look at enough authentic pipes that after a while an estate pipe's dot either "looks right" or it doesn't.

Also, though not definitive, but helpful, is the COLOR of the dot.

Notice that the one on the right is very faintly---but distinctly---yellow-ish. Sort of a translucent cream color. That's because a percentage of legit oldies had their cellulose dots do that from age.

Because I like the look, I "fake" it with walrus ivory (the only other option is to use cellulose and wait 50+ years and hope you handled the pipe in whatever ways caused SOME Dunhill dots to do that.)

Anyway, if the dot is a translucent-ish cream color, the stem is almost guaranteed to be original. Remember that the reverse is NOT true, however.


View attachment 165712



Finally, the side profile of the button.

It is very difficult to get right, so almost never is on replacements.

Rather than try to describe the characteristics, I'll just let the picture do the talking.


View attachment 165713



PS --- the side view of the entire stem is the most basic tell of all---Dunhill NEVER did the duckbill thing---but anyone reading this almost certainly already knows that. I wanted to cover the more subtle stuff.
Thanks @georged
Thats's GOLD
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,534
14,204
Is it me or is that dot a different size as well?

Dot size varied quite a bit over time within the same shape/model/size.

I always figured Dunhill just bought celluloid rod in batches that were "close enough" (about 6 thousandths either side of a some standard / average target number) and the entire batch was that size. No biggie at all, shop-wise. Changing a drill bit was the only factory change necessary, and only when the batch ran out.

I personally like the ones on the small(er) side because they look more elegant.
 

guylesss

Can't Leave
May 13, 2020
322
1,155
Brooklyn, NY
This is absolutely invaluable, George!

Very fortunately "good" copies are extremely difficult and time-consuming to make, and bad copies seem the norm with replacement stems (at least until the market in "estate" pipes began to involve serious money).

The problem of connoisseurship that remains, however, is that Dunhill itself did a lively business for decades (and indeed until comparatively recently) in pipe repair.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,534
14,204
The problem of connoisseurship that remains, however, is that Dunhill itself did a lively business for decades (and indeed until comparatively recently) in pipe repair.

They did indeed.

Surprisingly, Dunhill's own repairs are usually easy to spot. "Invisibility" was not something people cared about back in the day. A reasonable looking, high quality (reliable) repair that got the job done was apparently all that mattered.