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English Estates - Making Sense of It All

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Mount Mandolin, Jan 19, 2012.

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  1. Mount Mandolin

    Mount Mandolin Active Member

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    So I've been shopping English estates lately on Smokingpipes, and there are a lot of choices, and they're all priced, er, rather loftily. Still, there is good reason for that, say all the Dunhill and Charatan smokers I know, and I intend to find out what they're on about. Anyway, I'm wondering a few things.

    First of all, does anyone have any insights on the various merits of one company or another? I know that Dunhill, Charatan's, Barling's, Upshall, and Ashton (which I really lust after) are all highly regarded, and Dunhill is the one I'm really after, followed closely by Ashton (partly because it is my namesake, and mostly because they are fantastic pipes, especially their sandblasts). Sasieni is a bit more confusing with all the various numbers of dots and all that, and the fact that you will run across a $50 one and then a $300 one. You never see a $50 Dunhill.

    One thing that's odd is that I have never seen an estate Dunhill that was a bent pipe. Some of the new Dunhills listed are bent, but mostly Dunhills seem to be straight. I have no problem with that, because it seems very proper English to have a straight Lovat or Canadian with a pencil-thin shank and short stem and small bowl. That's what I'm after, as a matter of fact. Anyone know why this is, or what this is all about? I don't think I would want a bent Dunhill, but it does have me wondering.

    Anyhow, I intend to purchase an English estate pipe soon, and it will likely be a Dunhill unless someone here gives some very convincing argument as to the merits of some other company. I have always lusted after Dunhills, and to finally own one would be sublime. Ah yes, and one other thing: what's the deal with Comoy's? I've seen some very expensive and some very inexpensive ones, and I don't know what to think of that company.

    Any insight on any of this would be much appreciated. And any ramblings or opinions about English pipes in general would be welcomed as well. I would love to hear about different people's ideas of what constitutes a "proper English pipe" and all that. So, have at it! I'll read every word.
     


  2. ruralhipster

    ruralhipster Member

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    The only dunhill I have dates from 77 and is a poor smoker that sits in a box unused. My favorite pipe right now is a Bewlay (possibly a Barling second) that cost me less than 20 bucks. I'd say If you can justify the expense go for it, but don't rule out some of the other british makers like gbd, bbb, loewe & co, hardcastle, comoys, etc if you are looking for british made pipe. Study up on what makes the different lines of pipes within brand differ so greatly in cost, and what the better "period of time" was for that brand and when you see the right pipe at a good price go for it.
     
  3. TRAVIS

    TRAVIS Member

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    I have a BBB silver grain with a squate shank and saddle bit and i love it. So +1 to ruralhipster :)
     
  4. IrishRover

    IrishRover Active Member

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    I can't help ya with Dunhill. I have none in my rotation. I do have a Parker and it's one of the better smokers that I have.
     
  5. AndyLowry

    AndyLowry Member

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  6. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    Books have been written on your questions, Mount Man'lin. Do you want info regarding smoking pipes or collector/investment pipes? In either case, do you want to know about these pipes according to smoking character or cosmetics?
     
  7. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    As Moo says, there is a lot of info on these pipe brands. I could write forever just off the top of my noodle about the brands you mentioned, and it would barely skim the surface. Here's a few tidbits.

    You'll never see a $50 Dunhill because it costs a lot of money to make one. The people that complain about Dunhills being overpriced have never seen their production cycle. It's fierce! Those guys are more anal about pipe flaws than most models are about their looks. Go ahead and buy a Dunhill, particularly one from the 1980's or prior. You won't be disappointed. And if by some fluke you are, you can resell it for what you paid for it, or thereabouts (assuming you buy an estate piece).

    Expensive Comoys... Blue Ribands and Specimen Straight Grains are going to be very pricy. Those are old Comoys and you'll probably only find them as estates. There are a few other models in the Comoy line from the 1960's and back that are going to sting your pocketbook. Typically the wood and the grain are astounding. New Comoy models will be considerably cheaper. Comoy today is essentially a mid-to-low priced marque. I'd recommend staying away from Comoy's unless you're a collector and want the pricy older stuff.

    If you want a new pipe in the "proper English" arena that is made in the U.S, our own Todd Bannard (Sasquatch here) made the properest English billiard you'll ever want to see!
     
    Mount Mandolin and FlatbushPaul like this.
  8. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    I just started collecting English pipes myself, I like the traditional shapes and smaller bowls, they are lighter and more comfortable to clench. I am not familiar with most of the brands you asked about, all of my pipes are new purchases from Blakemar and Invicta Briars of England, both well established pipe makers from the UK.
     
    The Big Fil likes this.
  9. furious

    furious Junque collector

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    Don't forget about Ben Wade. Both the Charatan (1950s and 1960s) and Leeds (the original factory location and sadly bombed out during WWII) periods are great smokers. I have a few and love them dearly.
     
  10. daveinlax

    daveinlax Member

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    I've had a 100% satisfaction with the 70+ Dunhill pipes I've owned, not a clunker in the bunch,. I started with building and later selling a patent collection including 2 unsmoked pipes that I got to break in. I enjoyed that till I got my first modern, a 2000 6401 shell with a very good/great looking blast. I found that larger pipe suited me better and have gone on to collect newer 70's and newer group 6, oda and large collectors.
     
  11. furious

    furious Junque collector

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    I do have to qualify a bit with Dunhill. I have six Dunnies and they all smoke very well. The newest one in my tiny collection is a 1961 Root Bruyere billiard. My favorite of the lot though is a 1930s apple with the famous Vernon fitting--which if you are not familiar looks sort of like a large Kaywoodie stinger. That pipe smokes cool and dry every time--even when I push it. And it's light and easy to clench. I like to think about how old that premium Algerian briar must be now and how many hands have touched it throughout its life. Now it's my turn and someday someone else will hopefully have the same pleasure.
     
    The Big Fil likes this.
  12. NBPipe

    NBPipe Member

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    Chris Askwith is a maker I'd look into for an English pipe manufactured today. His pipes vary from as traditional as it gets to updated classics to "experimental." I'm in the process of having a prince made by him. Nice guy, too.

    Sasieni pipes are worth looking into. Some in the know consider the older pipes to be a hidden value as they are great smokers and overshadowed by the other better known brands. If Edward VIII had them in his rotation then that's good enough for me :)

    To own a Dunhill.... Ahhhhh.... One of these days I hope!
     
  13. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    Entry-level Ashtons, new, are under 200 bucks pretty often - have a look at the bottom of this page.

    http://www.pipes2smoke.com/Ashton.htm

    Another brand to consider is Ferndown, again, often available for less than 200.

    Mystique is one thing, quality is another. Sometimes Dunhill did both in the same pipe. ;)
     
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