Pipe Collection

This post written by Mr Brizzi. If you’d like to contribute please contact me.

Expensive pipes, can be a blessing, or somewhat less than, a blessing. At one time, I built up a smoking collection of 62 pipes. My office had pipe racks all over the place. Aromatics of a multitude of delicious pipe tobaccos filled the air. Gigantic desk that Winston Churchill would have loved. Heirloom leather chairs. Then in an instant, I lost everything. A lifetime of hard work, gone. Homeless. Yes, homeless. My beloved collection, I swore that no other would smoke, and I retired my collection with a twelve pound sledge hammer. Everything my life stood for, wiped out, and I walked away like Mad Max.

Today, my economic situation is not that great due to factors beyond my control in the world of politics. I have managed to increase a meager collection of smoking pipes, from eight, to about a dozen, and slowly growing. Certain basics remain true today, as when I started smoking pipes at a young age in 1965.

Corn cob, is a staple. Once broken in and tuned, throw away the filter and the void in the shank becomes a mixing chamber. I like briar. Plain and simple, briar is my favorite. Clay, I used as a tasting pipe and only to be filled with a small pinch of pipe tobacco, regardless of how big the bowl may be in size. Meerschaum, is okay, but not the greatest, in my opinion. Gourd calabash, is nice, but I have cracked the gourds when removing the bowl to clean muck, with a wet sponge. Rosewood, Pearwood, Cherrywood, Maplewood, Lemonwood, all are nice, only if you break them in properly, using the Rule of Thirds, as pipes were broken in, years ago. You only need 3/1000ths of an inch to be carbon lined, but this does not mean that you may unwittingly puff full-steam-ahead, as the bowl is not, armor plated. Understand?

A true Collection, will contain unsmoked pipes, with data of the year of manufacture, whom the manufacturer is, location of the manufacturer. The pipe may have a particular or oddity, that makes it collectible and desirable. It must be in pristine condition.

Where does this leave a new generation of pipe smokers? In a very good place, it appears. I like GBD. A fill here or there, or even cosmetic fissures, does not ruin a pipe. I let others tend to bigger name brand pipes. Anything Comoy, or pre-Comoy, is what I love. Beautiful pipes. Some needing a little attention. Great purchase prices. Bits that fit in my mouth comfortably. I smoke daily, so a rotation is necessary. I enjoy the visual collections of others, and absolutely delight, in a wonderful smoke my pipes give, meriting them as my smoking collection.

Algerian briars are light in weight. Greek briars to me, are the tastiest. Plateau briars have straight and closely cropped grain. I dislike cumbersome pipes, or pipes which others purchase for me without prior approval. Why? Because any pipe I own, will, be smoked and not laid aside on skid row.

This does not mean that common drugstore pipes or even unmarked pipes are anything diminished in their smoking or crafted adoration. At times, it’s quite the opposite. Once, I had a really nice Peterson Wellington. It was my hunting pipe. I’m not 147 pounds anymore, and I lack a full head of hair. Unfortunately, the Wellington was retired by me. So what do I do? I buy a Dr.Grabow Omega. Sand it down to bare wood. Min-Wax Special Walnut Oil Stain, about ten applications. Dab of Carnuba. Son-of-a-gun.., the Omega sans filter, smokes great. Until my life is at a point it once was, I have no qualms with my Omega. For that matter, my all time favorite tobacco, is Prince Albert. Sure, I love McClelland’s Bombay Extra, Balkan Sasieni, and I even recall the legendary Balkan Sobraine [I scored a bit of this recently!!!], but my bedrock is sipping Prince Albert, and a cup of strong coffee, black/no sugar, to accompany my smoke. I’ve hunted Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Ibex, Kudu, Whitetail, Carribu, and always my Wellington and Prince Albert. Both of my Grandfathers smoked Prince Albert, so it is, my family tradition, as well as part of our American heritage.

Hopefully, your life will not be as “interesting”, as mine has been so far, up to this date. A pipe collection, should contain pipes which please the individual, for one reason or another. There is no wrong way, in the world of pipe smoking. From the single cob, to museum quality collections, I love them all. It’s what makes you feel good inside your heart and mind, that a pipe means. The very fact that you smoke a pipe distinguishes you among your peers, globally. Comfort.

Mr Brizzi’s Bio: Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy [BBC television series: Smiley]; I have done all sorts of work to keep a roof over my family’s head, food on the table, a log on the fire… What can be said of a man who is a direct descendant of the Roman General, Brittius? I try to live my life with a measure of modesty, and walk quietly before others, humbly. Leadership by example [“Follow Me”]. I look like Brittius, resembling George C. Scott’s, Patton, and have the quiet demeanor of the late actor, Henry Fonda. I am not a complainer, nor busybody, nor gossip, nor rumor monger. I have earned my place in this world the hard way, and am most honored to bear the exalted title of, Grandpa.

The Rest of the Pipe Smoking Guide

15 thoughts on “Pipe Collection”

  1. Ive just started smoking a pipe, and I have found these tips very use full, so thanks. I cant help but think that I’m doing something wrong as my pipe keeps “going out”, but I’m sure I will figure something out!!

    Do you reccomend using a gauze or screen? as I can see no mention of this. Would this make a difference to the smoke, or to the way the pipe behaves?

    The pipe I bought was only a cheap mass produced one, bought from my local market, they are on ebay for approx £2, as I didn’t want to spend lots on a pipe and then not use it, and the tobacco I bought is “Cherry and Vanilla” which is a lovely tasting tobacco.

    Thanks again for all the tips n tricks.

    • Welcome, Richard!
      Personally, I frown upon gauze or screen devices. They will only diminish the quality of any pipe and tobacco blend.
      Do not look down on your current pipe. It is a skill which must be attained over a period of time. RELAX, that’s the key.

      Take a sheet of writing paper, and place it on a table or flat surface. Spread your tobacco mixture on top of the paper, and wit the flat of your palm, spread the tobacco thinly over the paper. Leave it alone, allowing the pipe tobacco to ‘breathe’, or air dry over night. The following day, sample a pinch or two, from the outer edges of the tobacco spread. It should render a rather nice smoke. Be certain to keep your pipe clean.

      Please take time, if possible, to review the other posted articles, which no doubt, you will enjoy, and provide you with good data.

      • Thanks for your advise MR Brizzi!! I shall do what you have suggested with the tobacco, I havent got any writting paper though, so I think a piece of kitchen roll should suffice.

        I shall remove the screen before my next smoke, and see if it makes a difference.

        Im still braking it in at the moment, and am using the “rule of thirds”, for how long should I do this for?

        Thanks Mr Brizzi

        • One thing I forgot to ask is, whats the little black plastic cap for? The only purpose I can see it for is a “lid” for the pipe, to put on it after smoking.

          • Sorry for all the questions Mr Brizzi!! the pipe I bought has a metal bowl, is this normal, do all pipes have a metal bowl, or is just because it is a cheap one?


          • My computer was down for considerable period, my appologies for not responding in timely fashion, Richard. Metal bowl pipes run hot, in my experience and briar, is my delight. You mention purchase listed in Sterling Pound. It is in fact “proper” for a lid to be placed over one’s pipe bowl when not being smoked, and especially should you keep the pipe in pocket, as many consider vulgar, the unpleasant aromatics of smoking instruments. Further, temporary caps too, are intended to close pipe bowls during the period between manufacture and purchase, to indicate an uncontaminated pipe, dust, insects, etc. Should you be located within the UK, many delicious pipe tobacco smoking mixtures should be available to you, but go easy. I would truly be like the proverbial sot, removed bodily from the pub, when it comes to British blends! Moderation, and do remember, relax! (Here, here!)

  2. I also searched for the”way” to smoke a pipe. I watched as my father and grandfathers smoked pipes. I have read all the literature, watched the youtubes and asked my tobacconists. One day it just clicked. I have never altered nor will I alter the ways I load, smoke and clean my pipes. Its like the quest for the perfect tobacco or the perfect pipe. I may never buy a Dunhill or some other collection pipe, but for me, my motley selection of pipes is fine. Dont judge or be judged on the value or looks or whatever. My dad and grandfathers smoked what made them happy. So should the rest of us. I work in the oilfield, and altghough I can afford some of these ridiculously expensive pipes, my everyday Nording and Bjarnes are perfect. Just relax,and enjoy your new or more appreciated hobby!

    • Sounds good to me. Nobody here judging anyone. If you read around this site, most of the information I give is simply common knowledge that all pipe smokers of years ago knew, but has been lost or forgotten. A new generation kind of appreciates the information. If it works for you Reno, then don’t fix it.

  3. Mr. Brizzi,

    I’ve been interested in pipe smoking for quite sometime. I’ve tried picking it up here and again. My latest endeavour led me to purchasing an estate pipe, that I found to be unique. I wondered if it may be possible for me to send a few photos to you, to see if you may be able to help me in “typing” it.

    Thanks and thank you for your informative primer.

  4. Good day

    I am looking for someone that can help me appraise a pipe for me it has been passed down in the family for generations. I would consider selling it but I am first curious as to where it came from and what it’s worth for insurance purposes.

    Please contact me in some way so that I can send some photos.

    Kindest regards
    Natasha Hare

  5. My husband started smoking pipes in 1963 with a can of Prince Albert that included a free pipe. From that point on he enjoyed smoking a pipe and collecting pipes. He too collected and smoked pipes of which he enjoyed. I loved watching him smoke his pope, relax, the enjoyment it brought him and the aroma of his pope. I lost him 3 years ago and am just now trying to deal with my emotions on selling his pope collection. I am keeping a few of his very favorites, but he had collected around 105 pipes. I would greatly appreciate any advice on where to start and if you know of any collectors who might be interested. I enjoyed ready your column. Thank You

  6. I inherited a large pipe collection. I know that these are old because the gentleman was 94 when he passed away. Were or how can I look to find out how much these are worth or at the very least try to identify them? Do recommend any websites, books or collectors that I may contact? I have over 100 of them.

  7. I have a clay pipe I found in an east NC lake over 50 yrs. ago. It had the letters R. / TIPP / ET in a cartouse on the bowl. Recently my daugh. had the presence of mind to Google the name and we learned it was not the owner of the pipe, that I had believed all these years, R. TIPPET was the PIPEMAKER. HE was active in Bristol , ENG from 1660/1688 til his death in 1722. This info. makes the pipe over 300 YRS. OLD !!!
    I wish to sell the pipe. I have pics that show the remarkable condition of the pipe and eill text/email them to any onterested party.

  8. Dear Mrs. Graham;

    I am sorry for you loss.

    I am living just outside the Toronto area, and have been for the past 35 years. If you still have some of the pipes from your husband’s collection, I might be able to help. To be honest, that many pipes is far too many for me alone, but I do know a few gentlemen who would be interested as well. Again, if you would like some help, I would be very pleased to do so.


    Michael Strange


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