The Four Hundred Marxman Pipe Owner's Thread

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Ryan

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 30, 2021
596
4,586
Noblesville Indiana USA
I found this Wikipedia article that is interesting.


It’s about a list that used to be published in New York, which as you know is where Marxman was based. It was a list of the most fashionable people in New York.

Is it possible that “The Four Hundred” pipes were trying to latch on to the same idea of these being very fashionable pipes? Seems like a good marketing angle. The gold band would go right along with that idea.

I have a feeling the man would have sold 10,000 of the pipes if he could, I’m not sure 400 is related to a number of pipes produced. It could be any number of things, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has more to do with marketing than any limited number of items.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
I found this Wikipedia article that is interesting.


It’s about a list that used to be published in New York, which as you know is where Marxman was based. It was a list of the most fashionable people in New York.

Is it possible that “The Four Hundred” pipes were trying to latch on to the same idea of these being very fashionable pipes? Seems like a good marketing angle. The gold band would go right along with that idea.

I have a feeling the man would have sold 10,000 of the pipes if he could, I’m not sure 400 is related to a number of pipes produced. It could be any number of things, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has more to do with marketing than any limited number of items.
You have nailed it!

Bob Marx was Lady Astor of the Marxman 400s.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
I think I might have found why The Four Hundred were registered in Marx’s Blue Book:

"The Hereditary Society Blue Book is the annual Who's Who or Social Register of Hereditary, Lineage, and Patriotic societies. It also contains information on lineage societies, including the insignia, the membership requirements, and the national address of each organization. The Hereditary Society Blue Book is the definitive work on the prominent personages in the hereditary society community. It is sent not only to all those included in the work, but also to all major genealogical libraries for addition to their permanent collection"

Xxxxx

What a salesman.

He took his largest $15 size pipes, had them banded in solid 14k gold, made sure there was no particular order they looked, and had artistic zig zags carved.

To get to be in the exclusive 400 owner’s club you paid $25 and registered in the Blue Book.
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
I think I might have found why The Four Hundred were registered in Marx’s Blue Book:

"The Hereditary Society Blue Book is the annual Who's Who or Social Register of Hereditary, Lineage, and Patriotic societies. It also contains information on lineage societies, including the insignia, the membership requirements, and the national address of each organization. The Hereditary Society Blue Book is the definitive work on the prominent personages in the hereditary society community. It is sent not only to all those included in the work, but also to all major genealogical libraries for addition to their permanent collection"

Xxxxx

What a salesman.

He took his largest $15 size pipes, had them banded in solid 14k gold, made sure there was no particular order they looked, and had artistic zig zags carved.

To get to be in the exclusive 400 owner’s club you paid $25 and registered in the Blue Book.
It has been nailed. Yes, the 400 was a society statement. Exactly. Well done @Ryan and @Briar Lee We now know the letter is most likely a designation for a series and we know the reason for the blue book. Marx was…. A genius.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
I’m sitting here ruminating who plunked down today’s equivalent of $500 for a 400 in a recession in the middle of a Depression in 1937.

The actual customers were likely the buyers for exclusive department stores that sold pipes in the men’s section beside the suits and ties and shoes and overcoats.

Many sellers of pipes bought Marxman pipes by the dozen to resell on displays.

I can see the salesmen showing the buyers a certain and special pipe, the finest in the entire world, one of an exclusive run of only 400 this season.

The same buyers dealt in men’s fine suits. My father’s mother always paid a hundred dollars at least for his.

IMG_6039.jpeg
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
After my parents got married in August 1947 my father was elevated to the Superintendent of the Chosen and Elected Elders of the Humansville Christian Church, at age 28.

There was a big walnut harvest that fall.

My mother took him out and they harvested $200 worth of walnuts,

and upgraded Daddy’s best suit to $200.

Which caused his mother to buy him another $200 suit that Christmas, plus several $25 ties.






IMG_6040.jpeg

That was how all those 400s got sold, as accessories to a well dressed, and much loved man.
Xxxxxx

Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnnie were lovers
Lordy how they did love
They swore to be true to each other
Just as true as the stars above
He was her man but he’s doing her wrong

Frankie she was a good woman
Just as every one knows
She gave her man a hundred dollars
Just to buy him a new suit of clothes
He was her man but he done her wrong.

Xxxxx
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Photo on 12-18-23 at 8.38 PM.jpg

The Four Hundred, my second one from the Reverend with the Suit Case full of Marxman 400s, has returned back to me after a full restoration at Briarville, which basically means it is now new and unsmoked for all intensive purposes. Here is it, seconds before being smoked again for the very first time.

I wish everyone who desired a 400 Marxman had one in their collection. They are like unobtainium, only they are out there. My hope is that someday, you to will have one in your collection. Let us know when you do.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
Four or five smokes is a lot in one day, for a pipe this size.

This is what I like, not just getting darker on the way to being oxblood brown, but more beautful.

I’m looking at a Costello Bigline Virgin roughly the same constant dollars as 400s were almost 90 years ago.

A man ought to like his toys a lot, you know?


IMG_6338.jpeg

IMG_6340.jpegIMG_6339.jpeg

Let’s try day two, except I have to make room for this one that’s out for delivery.

IMG_6172.jpeg
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,158
28,175
Carmel Valley, CA
I do not own a 400, but I do have a Mel-O that I got from Dave Neeb. There's a lot to love about these iconic pipes.
The lore, the innovation. The legendary soft Algerian briar. But that partial rustication looks almost accidental to me. Like a lawnmower accident.
You are being kind. Those are the most unattractive pipes made commercially I have ever encountered.

But if they are a legendary smoke, who cares?
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
You are being kind. Those are the most unattractive pipes made commercially I have ever encountered.

But if they are a legendary smoke, who cares?

Tracy Mincer’s Custombilt pipes also were often a rugged hand carved hunk of top grade Algerian briar.

IMG_6032.jpeg

Mincer seems to have a more fluid and less angular carving than Marx, but it’s all of the same hand tooled rustication school.

One reason Mincer and Marx used Algerian is that it’s easy to carve, and another factor is since it’s Algerian you often need to carve it to hide flaws and enhance the grain.

I think Algerian briar has a certain, robust, spicey distinct taste I crave, and cannot get enough of.

But I know beyond doubt old Algerian briar was amazingly porous, which makes a pipe smoke cool to hold and the coloring is result of that trait. Exactly why spongey Algerian colors is a mystery but not subject to debate.

A few are truly beautful.

Sidney P Ram

IMG_6585.jpeg
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
The pipe just above is gorgeous.

The craggy one above that looks almost natural, and hence for me, much more attractive than the ones obviously tortured er, rusticated.

The 400 was designed to be the highest priced cataloged factory pipe on earth in 1937, at $25.

Sidney Ram was selling $100 straight grains, but those were specials. Ram’s standard pipe was $10.

Marx already made the most expensive catalogued factory pipe in the world, the $15 size extra large Jumbo, I call a Big Boy. The Bog Boy was bench made and each different size, but I have them in several styles, some smooth, some huge blocks of Algerian briar with carved panels. Just amazing big pipes in a era of smaller pipes being in style.

IMG_5999.jpeg

But a 400 was a broadly styled blob of smooth polshied and carved hunk of even more massive proportions than a typical Big Boy. Each one was freehand. The 400 had a solid 14k gold band and unique carving pattern.
 

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,840
13,977
Humansville Missouri
in

Lets not make this thread about Algerian Briar. It is a Show Me thread for 400 Marxman Pipes.

We can only speculate, but let’s say Marx made 400 specimens a year of the 400 from 1937 to 1953, or less than 7,000 pipes.

I’d love to see one all black and beat up and burned out. The number of one pipe 400 owners is likely near zero. Their status as the most expensive factory pipe on earth led to better off owners and better treatment, logically.

The biggest threat to the 400 is the ignorance of nonsmoking heirs. There’s this huge blob of wood on a stem, and they have no idea what it is. It gets shoveled into a box and storage and eventually a garage sale or a dumpster.

But this thread is right below the Pipedia entry for Marxman on my search engine.

Thank you for spreading the light about a Marxman 400.

(I’ve helped out Algerian briar a bit, myself.:) )
 
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telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
Typically, around $150.00 or more. I would love to see your pipe. Congratulations. I wish I smoked mine more, but they are not for lunting around - although I do have one small enough that I can.

Protect your gold band. The heat can cause the gold to wear off. It says solid gold, but my guess is that it is a cheap alloy of gold. They are fine smoking pipes. Welcome to the club. You are now a part of the Blue Book Society.

Oh, I almost forgot. What is the serial number and letter on your pipe?
 
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Bright Orange Red

Can't Leave
Jan 10, 2024
368
7,487
Colorado, USA
Typically, around $150.00 or more. I would love to see your pipe. Congratulations. I wish I smoked mine more, but they are not for lunting around - although I do have one small enough that I can.

Protect your gold band. The heat can cause the gold to wear off. It says solid gold, but my guess is that it is a cheap alloy of gold. They are fine smoking pipes. Welcome to the club. You are now a part of the Blue Book Society.

Oh, I almost forgot. What is the serial number and letter on your pipe?
I couldn't tell from the pictures. When I have it in hand and upload photos I'll include the serial number and letter. Thanks for the pricing info, lines up with what I paid.
 
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pinem

Might Stick Around
Aug 16, 2015
69
107
Nebraska
It has to be said. The emperor has no clothes. What a waste of good briar. Vanity has no bounds of turning natural beauty and wonder into trash. A pox on Marxman!

It's so obvious he hated natural (dare I say it, divine) beauty and wanted to scar it, twist it, ruin it, rape it, to stoke his vanity. How can one look at his pipes and not come to the conclusion that he hated, absolutely hated, anything good.