Why are Dunhills so costly?

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990rick

Junior Member
Mar 25, 2011
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Are Dunhill pipes really so much better than other fine pipes? Like Stanwell, Savinelli, Peterson? They sure seem to command much higher prices on eBay. Is this just snob appeal (like Rolex watches) or are they really worth the extra bucks?

 

pstlpkr

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2009
9,738
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Birmingham, AL
Sorry 990, I accidentally deleted the wrong string.

I was unable to "undelete" the original string.

This was a double post.
Here is what Kashmir said:
Now that's opening up a great big can o worms!
And here is what I had posted:
990rick have you seen my 10 foot pole for not touching things with? :D
Just kidding... they make very fine pipes.

However; they are produced in a factory and there is a video floating around of the actual manufacturing process, which seemed to diminish their reputation in many's eyes.
 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
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Northern New Jersey
But seriously Dunhills are great, especially those from the first half of the last century. I have found a number of great deals on Dunhill estates from smokingpipes and also from Ebay. The former had a number of Dunhill estates from the late Aaron Spelling last year. Managed to pick a couple of them up for under $200. So they are out there. As for the more recent Dunhills and the asking price for a new White Spot, well I'd rather save the bread to buy more leaf! My go to pipes these days however are my Petersons.

 

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lordofthepiperings

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May 3, 2010
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Las Vegas, NV
From what I've learned, Dunhills are so expensive because they're more stringent about not having flaws in the briar. If there's too much filling needed in the wall of the bowl it becomes a Parker Dunhill at a greatly reduced price. That's the explanation I've heard for the high price of Dunhill pipes. As far as smoking, I've never bought a Dunhill so I can't say for myself, but from reviews of Dunhill pipes I've seen on youtube they're typically an above average smoker by majority opinion. If you're looking to try Dunhill pipes I'd definitely suggest checking eBay for a cheaper estate pipe to see how you like them.

 

990rick

Junior Member
Mar 25, 2011
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Well, after missing out on three Dunhills on eBay that went for well over a hundred dollars I've decided to put my money into acquiring a couple of Hilsons for half the money. Someday I'll find a decent Dunhill on one of my treasure hunts and then I'll see if all the fuss is really about a finer smoke or not, but when I see Dunhills being offered for hundreds and even thousands of dollars I think I'm seeing collectibility prices. And even at $120 or so for a 70s era tanshell billiard I have to admit I suspect people are buying the name, not the pipe. If I'm proven wrong somewhere on down the road that will be great. But I can wait.

 

romeowood

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Jan 1, 2011
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I definitely think the eBay market is a bit inflated--by maybe 20% or more. Your best bet to pick up an estate Dunhill at a fair price is either through a friend, a pipe club or forum such as this, or at one of the pipe shows.

That being said, I've smoked a few and acquired one myself, despite professing a preference for the cheapest pipes around (Medico!) and find them to be consistently very high quality, very lightweight briar, and all around excellent pipes in all regards of comfort and finish. Also consider that a properly cared for Dunhill will hold its resale value very well, and it makes it more economical and less of a chance to take in buying one--if you're not happy with it, you can be sure to at least recoup your investment in most cases.

And IMHO, $120 for a 70's tanshell is not a bad price...

 

990rick

Junior Member
Mar 25, 2011
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I know that $120 wasn't a bad price, judging from what Dunhills go for, but at this early point in my collecting/smoking/learning curve I can get two or three other first quality pipes for the same money and one heck of a lot of 'drugstore' pipes — some of which turn out to be very good smokers. Also, I'm trying to learn how to repair and restore pipes so I'm going to wait on the Dunhills. I just bought a lot of 28 pipes yesterday and a lot of 27 pipes plus a glass-lined cigar box today and paid $75 for each lot. I was looking to get a Dunhill because that was the first pipe I ever bought over forty years ago and with my 30th wedding anniversary coming up I thought it would complete an interesting circle. I think I will check out the marketplace on this site.

 

romeowood

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Jan 1, 2011
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Definitely do not practice repair and restore on your Dunhills :lol:

If you have a particular pipe in mind you could always post a wanted ad for it and see what comes up. I myself have been hankering for another bent bulldog....

 

yoru

Preferred Member
Jan 5, 2011
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I've smoked a Dunhill for the first time recently, it was perfectly fine, but. . .well there's only so far the pipe factors into the quation, that doesn't mean there's no such thing as a great pipe or a trash pipe. . .but diminishing returns and all that -- still, I've noted that anything not made of the proper material can be a good pipe, 10 dollar or 1000 doesn't matter.
My point is. . . Dunhill is about the name, I've not heard many say they are more than slightly above average smokers, and the justification of the cost is almost always (as with any expensive pipe it seems to me) a mixture of name and aesthetic appeal.

 

kashmir

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May 17, 2011
2,713
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Northern New Jersey
Hi 990rick, just to add one more point. Its like the difference between a Porsche and a Toyota. Both are fine car companies, and both produce trustworthy vehicles that will get you from point A to point B. But the Porsche is four times more in price, with wood and leather to boot. Same with, say, Canon and Leica cameras. Its not "just" the name. People pay premium for "luxury" goods because they are in fact "luxury" goods, if that makes sense. For us poor folk, which I count myself one for sure, having a luxury product is about the mystique and the history of the brand. I do a lot of background research on things before committing to buy. The appreciation for something as intimate as a pipe, is, in my opinion, worth the inflated price in some cases. For me, pipes are more than "just pipes", they are my constant companions. I live with my pipes. Some days going through a dozen bowl or more, depending on the type of day. Yep, I am a smoker. There's a special place in heaven for us. In fact, I am NEVER without my pipe, now going on 20 yrs. I've smoked in the rain, snow, in gale force winds, etc. So for me, buying a great pipe, is like for some people buying nice furniture, or a new car. Why would someone fork out $2000 on a new couch, and cringe at spending $500 on a pipe? I've always bought household items used. Ive never bought a new car, and I'm 51 yrs. old. Been buying used all my life. I can subsist on meager, but relatively healthy fare, rarely if ever eating out, much preferring home cooked food with natural fresh ingredients. I rarely buy processed or packaged foods at the market, yet I see folks with carts full of Diet Coke and plastic wrap. I routinely squirrel away small chunks of change (fives and tens), on the off-hand chance that, someday, it will amount to something substantial. So spending $500 bucks on a pipe, while an extremely rare occurrence in my life, is completely justified from my point of view. Also, if you get into estate pipes seriously, buying a Dunhill is a good investment, judging by the current prices on Ebay. Just keep the pipe clean, with routine salt-grain alcohol treatments, brushing and slight buffing. In that sense, you are just renting the pipe for a period of time till you or your heirs sell it. My two cents worth.

 

collin

Preferred Member
Oct 29, 2010
883
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Oklahoma
I once posted that I would buy a nice pre-owned Rolex when I retired. Within hours someone kindly referred to the wearing of a Rolex watch or diamond rings as "social masturbation".
:D The biggest problem with wearing a Rolex is the fact that 95 out of a hundred people will ask you if it's real, and if you say; "Yes.",......90% of them won't believe you.
If you're smoking a $500 pipe,......who gives a *&%t?
It's a piece of wood for crying out loud. :mrgreen:

 

990rick

Junior Member
Mar 25, 2011
77
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Well, since the can of worms is open anyway, one thing I haven't seen in this thread is any suggestion that Dunhills are worth the money because of their vastly superior smoking characteristics. Now I don't discount the satisfaction for some people of owning any product because of its status. Hey, if that rings your chimes, more power (or status) to you! For me, the aesthetics of the pipe in my hand are second only to its smokability. I have a couple of Karl Eriks I just dearly love to hold and they're two of my best smokers. But I'm not only not stirred by a product's name status, I'm actually turned off by what strikes me as hype. But I am curious about Dunhills so I've done a fair amount of research and acquired a Dunhill-made Charatan's Make. First, let me share the research.
Alfred Dunhill used to buy his pipes from Charatan, but he eventually hired away Charatan's top carver in order to produce his own pipes (before dealing with Charatan, Alfred had been buying pipes from France that only needed finishing touches). You can imagine that this move didn't sit well with Mr. Charatan and a long rivalry ensued which ended up with Dunhill acquiring the Charatan company, putting out a series of inferior grade pipes under the Charatan brand name, and then killing the brand off.

Now I am an emotion-driven man and, while I'm not naive in the ways of the business world, I think this is both a shame and a travesty. A fine old and superior line of pipes is no more, and Dunhill continues to enjoy an inflated reputation for quality even though they have reportedly long since become just another subsidiary of a large conglomerate. They have sold the Dunhill name to lend quality to a whole series of products that have nothing to do with Dunhill and nothing to do with pipes. It's been all about the money. So be it. It's evidently working very, very well for them. But this kind of behavior doesn't work at all for me. I'm sure it won't break any hearts at Dunhill, but I won't be knowingly buying any of their products. They're just another large conglomerate swallowing up smaller, better companies and I want no part in that.
Knowingly is the key word here. I just picked up a Charatan's make that I mis-identified as one of those produced by the Charantan's carvers just after Dunhill acquired their company. Turns out it's actually one of the ones made by Dunhill carvers. So I will be acquiring a little first-hand knowledge of Dunhill standards, if inadvertently. My goal is to acquire one of the actual Charatan's pipes from this period so I can compare the two.
I will admit I'm betting the Charatan's is noticeably better. But I often root for the underdog. When David beats Goliath I am glad. When Goliath wins, as he usually does, you won't find me sitting in his cheering section.

 

ohin3

Preferred Member
Jun 2, 2010
2,457
3
I have a hard time believing that any pipe is physically worth thousands of dollars. But I could see a pipe being worth hundreds to reflect the value of the materials used and the time put into crafting the pipe. Everything over and above that is due to collectability and hype. I own one Dunhill and I have to say it is in my top 2 best smokers. I have a lot of pipes that smoke as good as the Dunhill, but not as consistently good as the Dunhill. Just seems like the Dunhill smokes good no matter what I put in it and how I pack it. I paid $180.00 for mine as an estate and I would gladly pay that again. If I had the dough I would consider paying as much as $3 to $400.00 for the right Dunhill, but that is because I am impressed with their briar, engineering and aesthetic. I have to admit, I am also a bit sucked in by the Dunhill mystique and hype. I just like their aesthetic and style...classical elegance and uncompromising attention to quality rather than flamboyance and extreme styling.
Kashmir said:
That's like saying a diamond is "just a rock".
It is just a rock. I have never been able to wrap my head around the fact that, as a people, we have based entire economies on the value of shiny rocks. I will never understand what makes precious metals and gems worth so much. Don't cut yourself on the edges of that can eh? He he he.

 

expatpipe

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2010
379
0
Maybe a lot of the mistique of Dunhills arrives at the fact many of the renowned pipe makers of today and yesteryear worked at the Dunhill factory before branching out on their own.. I don't know, but I just have not felt the urge to purchase a Dunhill quite yet, every time I get close, I see another pipe I'd love to have at a much more reasonable price. Maybe I'm really missing out, who knows. I find it more enjoyable and more of a challenge to find mint condition Longchamps and Belgium made Hilson's :)
ohin3 "It is just a rock. I have never been able to wrap my head around the fact that, as a people, we have based entire economies on the value of shiny rocks. I will never understand what makes precious metals and gems worth so much. Don't cut yourself on the edges of that can eh? He he he."
Me too, and think that a whole civilization was wiped out for the lust of shiny rocks, Azteks etc.. Neil Young has a song about that, I think it's "Cortez the Killer". It's banned in Spain by the way.

 

bowhatchie

Preferred Member
Sep 27, 2010
657
1
OH well the can is open! While a diamond might just be a shiny rock and gold might just be a yellow metal....
MONEY AS we know it is just PAPER!! What makes $100 dollar bill worth more than a $10 bill... same amount of paper..

same amount of ink... same cost to produce?? It is worth more because we accept it to be worth more.. .and this is based on what used to the the gold standard and the silver standard.... there was a day when our "money" was backed by equal amounts of gold..Imagine that.... of course today that is not even close to be correct....but the point is this..... gold and diamonds and other "precious" stones although just rocks.. are indeed more valuable because of the same thing that determines the the value of most everything....and that is its availability... how common is it,

And just as important ...what is the value that WE ATTACH TO IT!!! White rock will never be valued at what a diamond is... that's a shame because I have a drive way full of it!!!

 

kashmir

Preferred Member
May 17, 2011
2,713
7
Northern New Jersey
990rick: A bit thinned skinned are we? If I were you I'd go for that Rolex - you only live once after all...I still stand by my statement that "buying a Dunhill is a good investment...In that sense, you are just renting the pipe for a period of time till you or your heirs sell it". Plus I think they smoke great and that's why I buy them. PERIOD.
Put it this way: Try telling a Harley Davidson rider that he should buy a Honda, because they ride the same and the Honda is cheaper. Smoke a Dr. Grabow cause it smokes just like a Dunhill, plus its cheaper...
re: ohin3: My guess is that you don't know much about human history and the market place...its called "supply and demand". I think bowhatchie has it about right re: the value people place on things...people place value on things by a phenomena called "market value consensus" (ECON 101). We've had this paradigm for the last 10,000 years of recorded human history.
I think I will be migrating to other forums from now on. I mean Holy shit! I never thought I'd find myself on a pipe forum, of ALL places, defending a Dunhill pipe!
:crazy:

 

marmal4de

Preferred Member
Feb 20, 2011
2,320
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Richmond, BC
I think I will be migrating to other forums from now on. I mean Holy shit! I never thought I'd find myself on a pipe forum, of ALL places, defending a Dunhill pipe!
I think it's you with the thin skin, if you're going to leave over good debate, I don't think you'll be missed!
Of course, no offence intended, and YMMV.

 
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