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Castello question

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Bub

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This isn't a straight grain question, but rather a cross grain question.
I found the following information on the Castello web site:
http://www.castello.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=30

"Castello Collection Occhio di Pernice
The mark "Occhio di Pernice" was born in the beginning of ‘ 80. Before, pipes featured by this particular cut were catalogued as "Collection". Since January 2003 "Occhio di Pernice" has been graded using the classical "K" system."

Now for my question: I have 2 Castello pipes that are cut cross grain. They are labeled "Castello Collection" One is 2k and the other is 3k. What does this mean:
(1) Are they Occhio di Pernice?
(2) Are they Collection grade pipes that were made before the 80s?
(3) Do they have the value of Occhio di Pernice grade pipes?
Thanks,
Bub
 

Puff Daddy

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Occhio de Pernice means Eye of the Partridge, or birdseye. It is a special designation within the Collection line for crosscut pipes that have remarkable birdseye. Previously, Ochio stamped pipes were a grade of Collection line pipes unto themselves - meaning there was no differentiating level of quality at least as far as nomenclature went. A Collection pipe with spectacular birdseye was graded Occhio, and an Occhio was an Occhio was an Occhio, eventhough the quality of the pieces ranged widely. Now the Occhio is still a special classification within the Collection line, but they are also graded with the K designations to note differing grades of quality.

If your pipe is not stamped "Occhio de Pernice" it is not an Occhio, regadless of date. It may or may not be worth as much as a Collection pipe, depends on the quality of the individual pipe.
 

Puff Daddy

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The pipe from smokingpipes.com that you linked to is a Castello "Castello" grade, not a Collection grade and certainly not an Occhio. It has to be a Collection to be an Occhio, but being a Collection doesn't make it an Ochhio all by itself. Occhio is a specific grade within the Çollection line. The pipe you linked to has nice birdseye for sure, and truth told I've seen Occhios that weren't so great. The thing about a Castello is, if you like the individual piece, get it and don't worry about grade unless you're out to get a piece of nomenclature to fulfill a place in your pipe collection. Castellos grading system is quirky, they grade on a curve and by the batch, meaning they don't have a set of parameters for requirements (as far as grain goes) for individual pieces making the cut of a specific grade, but rather will have the inspector look over a large batch of finished pipes and decide which are the better pieces in that batch. So if the best crosscut birdseye pipe he has in a given lot this week is nice but not great and he wants to call it an Occhio, then it's an Occhio (same with Fiamatas). Next weeks lot might have so many wonderfully grained crosscuts in it that there are some amazing pipes stamped Occhio and some stamped Castello "Castello" that have better grain than last weeks Occhios did.
 

glpease

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Puff's responses are right on. Occhios are stamped as such, so there's no mistaking them. The stamping adds $50-60 to the retail price of the pipe over a Collection grade with the same number of Ks.

That little #10 is a real beauty. I've been admiring it for days. Not in the budget, though...

-glp
 

daveinlax

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Puff has made some good points, many people don't realize that Castello pipes have not been graded when they are selected by the wholesaler, they find out what they are graded (and what they are paying) when they receive the pipes and or the bill.
I've been collecting Castello 15's and 30's for some time now and hardly a week goes by with out me scratching my head over their grading and sizing consistency. I will say though that IMO the castello grade is a grade where you can find some outstanding (under graded), very uniquely grained pieces at lower price. :shock:
 

LL

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daveinlax":k291v89m said:
I've been collecting Castello 15's and 30's for some time now and hardly a week goes by with out me scratching my head over their grading and sizing consistency. I will say though that IMO the castello grade is a grade where you can find some outstanding (under graded), very uniquely grained pieces at lower price. :shock:
The reason for the inconsistency is because production batches are graded on a curve, not according to a standard. Meaning the best 2% (or whatever the number is) are graded Fiammata, the next 4% are Great Lines, and so on down.

Presumably they do it that way for quota & planning reasons. Meaning a supply situation can never arise. It definitely drives collectors a bit nuts, though. Bob Hamlin used to import Cassies, and I discussed the situation with him several times. In the 90's he was probably the single most knowledgeable American regarding Castellos and their grading, and he could never figure it out to his satisfaction, either.

(btw, today's "most knowledgeable American" could well be BoB's own GLP. He's definitely on the short list.)
 
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