We include a condition statement for each estate pipe. Though a somewhat subjective judgment by nature, we do our best to briefly describe any physical and/or cosmetic changes a previously owned pipe may have undergone since it originally left the factory or workshop. Based on the pipe’s condition, we then assign the individual pieces a number with a maximum rating of 5/5 for a pipe which is, essentially, in mint condition. Unlike some other works of art, pipes are handled, set aflame, held between the teeth, scraped out, cleaned and re-cleaned inside and out (sometimes for decades) and, thus, will usually show very minor blemishes that are considered normal and expected, which may include very minor scratches on the bowl or stem which are a direct result of the quality of workmanship and finishing details from a given pipe maker or factory. We do our best to pass on details that have changed since the pipe left the factory or workshop so the new owner has a better idea of what they are purchasing. Listed below are some examples of our rating system, which could be combined, altered, or otherwise scored, with certain details of the particular pipe. In general, some cosmetic or physical issues could be restored skillfully (raising a tooth mark, minor scratch or ding, or some rim darkening), while other issues are beyond repairable to original condition. As with any pipe listed on our website, you may feel free to call or email with any additional questions regarding specific details that might not be noted or observed in the photograph[s].
5/5 - Unsmoked.
4.9/5 - 4.99/5
Unsmoked, but there is a tiny ding, chip, or scratch on the briar or stem.
Unsmoked, but there are few shallow scratches and dings on the briar (or tooth mark)
Unsmoked, but the finish may be runny, faded, or blotchy.
Smoked, but very near mint. Looks almost brand new and the bowl is rather clean.
Smoked, but only the chamber is darkened (Not precarb or chamber stain. Darkened from minimal smoking).
4.8/5 - 4.85/5
Range of darkening inside the lip or on the rim from normal smoking.
The bowl is rather clean, but there is some stubborn oxidation on the stem.
May include flaked or bubbled finish.
Stem and/or shank ‘opened’ (Example: drilled 5/32” in factory, reamed larger by customer). This is difficult to judge, since not every company is consistent.
4.7/5 - 4.8/5
Some rim darkening plus a minor scratch (or ding) on the bowl.
Rim darkening plus a tooth mark on the stem.
May include scratches from a previous; customer sanding; oxidation.
Dings or other issues on silver bands and/or caps.
Missing parts (material stem logos – such as the Castello “diamond”).
Chatter marks from reaming with a knife.
4.6/5 - 4.7/5
Rim darkening plus a scorch mark on the rim. Burned spot from a lighter.
Tooth marks, tooth impressions (buffed out tooth marks), in addition to other issues.
Cracks, chips, dings on accents (will not affect smoking).
4.5/5 - 4.6/5
Rim darkening, tooth mark on the stem, some minor scratches on the bowl.
4.0/5 - 4.5/5
Rim darkening, some out of rounding in the chamber from reaming and/or smoking, tooth marks, finish issues.
Uneven chamber from reaming with a knife or drum sander (gouging the bottom).
Unsmoked, but the tenon or stem is a replacement. (The better the repair, the higher the score).
Rim darkening plus a small crack on the button and/or other blemishes.
Rim darkening, out of rounding from reaming/smoking, spider webbing in the chamber.
Rim darkening, topped bowl, tooth marks on the stem, out of round. A few bad things.
Unsmoked, but there is an aftermarket band that repairs a small crack on the shank.
3.75/5 - 4.0/5
Replacement stem or tenon, otherwise very clean.
Replacement stem plus some rim darkening.
Replacements stem plus rim darkening.
Aftermarket band repairs cracked shank, plus rim darkening.
Replacement stem, rim darkening, tooth marks on the stem plus some bowl dings.
3.25/5 - 3.75/5
Replacement stem, rim darkening, scorch mark.
Replacement stem, rim darkening, scorch mark, minor scratches on the bowl.
Replacement stem, rim darkening, scorch mark, tooth marks, dings on the bowl.
2.5/5 - 3.25/5
Replacement stem (not well done), rim darkening, evenly dinged rim, removed much of the stain, chatter marks from reaming with a knife.
...You get the idea. Depending on severity, best judgment is used to subtract points and parts of points. There are countless factors and combinations that could apply. The list above contains some examples and should not be considered an exhaustive set of rules.
Hours of Operation:
Our website is always open and you can place an order at any time. Phone/office hours are 9am-7pm US/Eastern (GMT -5:00) Monday-Friday and 10am-5pm US/Eastern (GMT -5:00) on Saturdays. Our Little River, SC showroom is open 10am-7pm US/Eastern (GMT -5:00) Monday-Sunday.
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