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What clues do you use?

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Bub

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What clues do you use when you buy an estate pipe?
Do you look at an older pipe and say, "the owner must have kept it because they like it?"
When you look at a newer pipe do you say, "the owner did not like this one and they wanted to get rid of it?"
How about the phrase "lightly smoked"...does that mean the owner did not like the way it smoked?
Do you just say (forgetting about price for the moment)...I like the carver, I like the shape I will buy the pipe.
How about a pipe that the owner smoked only once? Are there people like that out there? Do people really only smoke a pipe once and then sell it? Some how that seems wrong. I can see smoking a pipe several times, loosing interest in it and then deciding to sell it.
I know that you can but some great estate pipes, but are there any clues that you use to help you make a decision?
Thanks,
Bub
 
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Anonymous

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Usually I look at the brand
Then I look at how well it looks as in condition

A pipe can be well used and still be in great shape
I have pipes that have been smoked very few times because they dont feel comfortable to me for some reason
And other people do the same
I have one from the early 60's that may have been smoked maybe two dozen times its just doesnt feel right

I have bought estates from older people that had a bunch of pipes and only smoked their favorites
 
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Anonymous

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First off, if it's on offer by a seller who strikes me as a greedly asswhole, I pass on it as a matter of principle no matter what it is. People like that should not be encouraged.

I've never found that playing head games with a pipe was very productive. (Like "Why didn't the previous owner smoke it much ?)

Nor do you have any idea what was smoked in it, which can be a big factor in itself. If a test smoke here turns up Lakeland residue, it's definitely going off to the George Dibos De-tox / Rehab Program.

Another thing you can't see is whether the guy who owned it smoked it hot, leaving the inside of the bowl spider-webbed with cracks and on the verge of burning out.

What you can go by is what you can (hopefully) see. How badly did the guy chew up the stem ? Did he knock the dottles out of it against an ashtray (or a brick wall), scarring the bowl edge(s) ? Did he ream it incompetently (or when he was drunk) so that the chamber's noticeably out of round ? Or char away the inside edge(s) of the bowl with his lighter ? Did he fill it to the very brim, so that the burning tobacco bloomed up and over when it was lit, scorching the rim ?

What kind of condition is the outside in ? A few of what are politely euphamized as "handling marks" are one thing, but if it spent a lot of time sliding around on the floor of the truck, it's another thing.

If it's an older pipe, and it's a good enough one to matter, did the guy take it to the local B&M every six months for the vandal with the buffing wheel to wear away the nomenclature in the process of making it all shiny and nice looking ?

If it's offered "cleaned up" (which is oftentimes enough, in and of itself, to turn me away from it), did whoever cleaned it just hold the end of the stem against a wheel 'til the brown was gone, wearing the bit away ? Did he buff the stem off the pipe, rounding the foward edge into a "panty line" seam where it meets the shank ?

Is the stem even the original one ?

Stuff like maker, age, shape, grain, size and color all come into the picture somewhere. (Internet picture color is -- at least on my dinosaur computer -- wretchedly inaccurate). If you know where they fit into your picture, you're ahead. (As in knowing what it is you like about it and the relative importance of that factor in the big overall picture) (As in, buying a pipe you almost like by a maker you like a lot is a lower percentage move than getting an equivalent pipe you really like by a maker you almost like). In the end, you're buying a pipe -- not a name.

It goes on forever, Bub.

:face:
 

Natch

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Good, clear pictures, and plenty of them. And a seller that is more than willing to take and send you a couple of additional close-ups of areas that you want to see better. The worst pipes I've gotten on eBay are those with fuzzy pictures from someone that said they don't know anything about pipes, but it sure looks good to them.

Natch
 
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