I can’t remember where I wrote it, but back around the time that I was a newly-minted thirty-one-year-old with all the wisdom and sapience afforded by that age, I think I mentioned some insight I’d realized about how your thirties should be a time of this or that; something or other.
As I sit here trying to massage the wrinkles back into my brain, I’m beginning to conclude that my sentiment had to do with maturity and how I’ve noticed that I’ve started rounding into things I really appreciate. Not really the finer things, mind you- I’m still eating Ramen for dinner by choice tonight. But for the first time probably ever, I’ve been thinking practically about pipes.
I’ve had a lot of fun recently building up a small pipe collection that’s independent of the pieces my dad gave me around a decade ago. Most of my acquisitions have been ones meant for a modern twist on my romanticized vision of old-fashioned guys who weren’t messing around with aromatics or notes and who wouldn’t be caught dead smoking art pieces only designed to be wolf-whistled at from behind a plexiglass window. The pipes I like, and have bought, are typically workhorses; the type that an old-school pipe-smoking breadwinner might like. Today, my small collection consists of thirty-one pipes. Their average cost? About $99.
At $240, my Boswell spiral freehand was a splurge, for sure. Prior to that, my two Nording Extras were, by fair margin, the most expensive pipes I’d bought at around $150 each. Recently, the $143 I put towards my newest Boswell also contributed to driving the averages up. If we dropped those four extravagances, the average cost of my pipes goes down by about $20. Eighty bucks is firmly within pipe-smoking breadwinner territory. Hell- $99 is too.
To be fair, pipe-smoking breadwinner territory regarding the cost of a new pipe is really whatever I end up saying it is, because I’m the philosopher-king of this little corner of the internet, and I reserve the right to be whimsical and arbitrary.
Nevertheless, receiving the Boswell provided the realization that I only had two spaces in my pipe rack left, spaces that I’ll fill in a matter of days with those Erik Stokkebye 4th Generation pipes that so strongly reminded me of dad’s two Lorenzos. I began to think about deaccessioning some to make more room. After all, SmokingPipes offers a trade-in program that would allow me to sell them back some of those less-expensive pipes in exchange for some, frankly, generous store credit.
Aside from the bulldog I take my pipe photos with and the Erik Nørding bobblehead pipe rack for which I purchased an autographed freehand I’ll never smoke to rest in, my three other pipe racks were cheap and came from Amazon. They pretty much suck, struggling to hold several pipes with just-wider-than-typical bits or just-smaller-than-usual bowls. It’s a Goldilocks struggle, one that no amount of porridge is going to offset.
I’m not even sure where I’d start in deaccessioning some of these. My Savinelli Oscar Tiger and Nørding Erik the Red are inexpensive and honest, but they have to stay since those were the first new pipes I’d ever bought for myself. Likewise, I’d like to keep all of my Nørdings, aside from maybe my Seagull, which isn’t a bad pipe at all and I’ll review in the near future. My two Neerups are great pieces of art, and my Johs pipes can’t be beat for the cost of acquiring Danish pipes that are truly handmade. Ditto for the Boswells, though they’re more expensive. That leaves less-costly, machine-made pieces like my Savinelli 320KS, my Alligator, a Ropp Zulu (which is cool on its own for its horn stem and vintage stummel so we’ll take that off the list), a Rossi Piccolo, and that’s about that.
Of those, the Petey was the big disappointment- so much so that I’m not necessarily inclined to go back to the brand since my brother and I have a ton of old Pete’s from years past. But I’m not sure $150 in store credit is worth the hassle of packing the rest of them up and sending them off. I’m still working twelve-hour days, after all, and I’ve got to sleep for at least six or seven. On top of that, you’ve got to keep your house clean, your cat happy, and your tortoise fed. And your ramen microwaved!
Part of growing up is realizing that decisions don’t have to be made at “the blink of a hat,” as a maintenance guy at work once told me with a straight face. I don’t need to make a decision that’s rash so long as I have the room to store these, and it’s not like I’m collecting Caterpillar forklifts. I’ll leave the be for the time being, with the understanding that each represents something I was trying to achieve or experience with my collection.
That’ll be worth something later, I think.
Next up, I’ll review the new Boswell, a Johs, and a Tortuga.