| The Mill
Oct. 27, 2016;
As I was posting pipes tonight (only a
Jorn Larsen, A Dunhill Cumberland and a
Rainer Barbi, if I get to it after typing this)
I noticed something that deserves
consideration. While the proliferation of
Italian pipes and even U.S. pipes
continues, there are fewer pipes than I
remember on the Danish page. I don't, of
course, know what it means, but I do
think it means something other than that
I personally have fewer Danish pipes to
sell at the moment, than in the past. I'm
going to think out loud here; insights &
responses are welcome.
Are there fewer Danish pipe makers?
Yes, I'm pretty sure. And why is that?
Maybe because the market place seems
so daunting. If you are a Teddy Knudsen
or a Kent Rasmussen, you are selling at
very high prices to Asian collectors, and
more power to you. But, how does this
encourage a young, would-be Danish
pipe maker? He might easily be
discouraged at the prospect of trying to
compete with these masters, while at the
same time conscious that it is unlikely he
will ever command such prices for his
efforts. Although the thought of a
vibrant U.S. coterie might be alluring, it
is one's home market that is most likely
to engender the initial impetus, and that
market doesn't look so good right now.
Similarly, two of the most important
medium priced Danish brands have
vanished. Bjarne Nielsen's death left a
huge hole, both in my heart and in the
number of great, but attainable, hand
made Danish pipes. They were a
mainstay of my store and doubtless
would have been featured on my site.
Each pipe was individual and if I chose
wisely, they would have been good
sellers and good magnets for people
looking for value, individuality and
Similarly, Stanwell is gone from
Denmark. I would not have the heart to
put a new, Italian made Stanwell on my
Danish page. For one, it would be a lie,
and for two, I won't have 'em, unless they
come in used and at a price that will
make them fit for the Specials page.
At one time, not long ago, Denmark
also exported Jarl, Kriswell, Bari (still
alive, but only a shadow of what it was),
all producers of unique, non-freehand
shapes at great prices. They're gone.
Peder Jeppesen (Neerup) makes good
pipes at excellent prices, but he's one
man and I have not been quite able to
snag his better pieces, although I did try
more than a couple of times. He always
sells out quickly at shows.
In a way that is almost opposite the
case for Bjarne & Stanwell, I can't get my
hands on the top carvers. Teddy,
Rasmussen and others cost so much that
I'm scared to invest, thinking that I will
be stuck with multi-thousand dollar
pipes in my larder. Not that they ever
have anything to sell to me, anyhow.
Those days appear over.
Other makers, like Tom Eltang, who is
still producing great pipes at fair prices
for the quality, are over-subscribed and
have trouble keeping up with demand. I
am not demanding enough, which is a
weakness of mine. I don't like begging
and don't think I should have to at this
stage of my pipe career. That's probably
an undeserved arrogance on my part &
might better be chalked up to poor
business practice, but that's how I feel.
Those are the forces that I see, some of
which might be very minor, but in totality
add up to a declining pipe industry in
Denmark, one that could end up as
depleted as the English industry. If so,
this would be a sad case. It is not
unprecedented, certainly. Almost
nothing is coming out of England these
days. David Field and I have been
scouring England for a good, carver of
classic shapes that we could import and
make available and there is not one to be
found. The country from which all
prestigious pipes once came now has
few decent, recognizable brands to
claim. (It could easily be argued that
legislation has done in the English pipe,
but that's subject for another time.)
If you are an habitual searcher of the
pipe web sites (I am not...I'm too busy
here and not in the market for pipes) you
might take notice of what countries are
producing the most pipe makers and the
most pipes for sale. My guess would be
the U.S., although I can not figure out the
reason, followed by Italy because Italian
craftsmen may think that there is a
market for their pipes, although I think
there is a glut of Italian pipes and may
never live to see the day when mine are
If any other thoughts on this subject
crop up, they'll be shared with you all. If
thoughts come in from my smart readers,
they'll be shared, too. Stay tuned.
Just posted were two beautiful (does
he make any other kind?) Rainer Barbi
pipes, unsmoked & on the German page,
of course. Also a Ferndown Silver Spigot
on the English page. Check 'em out.
Pease Southlinch from 2002 NASPC show. $90
Friedman & Pease Winter's Tale. $100
Three Nuns 50 g. from Germany, before the
warning labels on the front. 1 tin each. $100
Balkan Sobranie 759 tall pop top 1 3/4 oz.,/50
gram tin, 4 available. $400 each.
Balkan Sobranie Virginia # 10 50 grams. 4 tins.
For what it's worth to you, there are many more of
the Balkan Sobranie tins available.
New Tins arrived, including
Mephisto, Blackpoint, Abingdon, and a bunch of
others from 2003 and starting @ $40 a tin.