This is a discussion on meerschaum pipes within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; Originally Posted by Dr. Plume
Not sure on this but it would make sense since many reputable brands of meers ...
Not sure on this but it would make sense since many reputable brands of meers say that any flaw in the final stages causes the pipe to be disqualified. So I haven't a clue.
Thanks, it is very dated information from someone who was in the marines, so I have no idea where he got the second. I did find the trivia interesting that according to him that was why the logo was on the stem. If it wasn't up to standards when it was finished, it got the plain stem instead of the nice amber one with the logo. The two pipes (the first and the second ) were identical in every detail except for the stem and the tiny pits in the lattice work of the second.
Also Turkish meerschaum is far superior than meerschaum found in any other part of the world including both African meerschaum (which has been out of production since 2006 anyway) and other deposits that an actually can be found in the states. If I am not mistaken all Turkish meers will be carved in turkey nowadays because of export laws.
I would consider buying no name meers off eBay to be a serious risk. Many cheap meers have the draw of a cocktail stirrer. Doesn't matter whether it's block or not if you can't smoke it.
As for not trusting Turkish meer, I trust Sinan Altinok completely; if his pipes weren't block meer, they wouldn't color the way they do.
Altinok is a reputable maker and I have absolutely no reason to doubt those pipes are exactly what they say they are and that they are of good quality.
No-name pipes will be a risk, but at $10-$15, how much of a loss could there be?
I think the OP was after a way of getting a meerschaum without paying Altinok prices. I do have concerns, which have been echoed in this forum and appear to have good basis, that there are a lot of new Turkish made "Block Meerschaum" pipes that are not what they say they are and are simply not worth buying at any price. I've never bought a new meerschaum pipe (apart from one second 30+ years ago; one of my first pipes). I had a quick tot up and I think I have 11 meerschaums plus one carved figural head with the stem missing. Most were bought on eBay without handling them first; just taking the seller's description and correspondence on trust. All are exactly what they said they were and none are poor quality, including two Puffin pipe (might be compressed meerschaum, but I don't think so on inspection), the Figural (large Baccus) thrown in with a lot free of charge, and another bought as part of a lot where the pipes each were about $10 on average (I wasn't interested in that pipe and considered the pipe to have no value in the lot). Some are a bit knocked about, but this was obvious from the images the sellers provided. The only one I had any real doubts about was the figural and that has proved to be possibly the most valuable of the lot. Maybe I have been lucky, but I don't think so. On the whole I've found private eBay sellers to be honest and they have little reason to make up stories and pass off pipes as what they are not. The real "private sellers" often have no knowledge about what they are selling anyway. Regular pipe resellers on eBay have their reputation to mind just the same as the mainstream sellers.
My point is that old estate meerschaum pipes seem to be a good route to an inexpensive, rather than a cheap, meerschaum. These pipes were always at a bit of a premium, but the rarity of the material these days has pushed the "need" to make cheap knock-offs. I don't think that powdered meerschaum and resin pipes were available at all 40 years or more ago. A bit of research and wait for the right pipe to come up (the key is always to set your price and stick to it. If you don't get it in the end, simply pity the poor fool who overpaid. And snipe. Bid once in the last second or two and bid your true top value.) An old pipe is probably an honest pipe. I do doubt cheap new meerschaums found on eBay.
There seems to be a presumption against estate pipe bought from private sellers "unrestored". I've seen advice on the forum many times about estate pipes and the advice has uniformly been to get then fully worked up from a known reseller. Good advice certainly for beginners and relatively risk free. But the true bargains won't be got this way. I'm tight as a gnat's chuff and love a bargain, me. I'll get a new stem for the figural made (or better still bully one of my friends to turn one up for me from stock of stems with broken tenons I keep - freebees from eBay lots) and relish telling people that this $200+ pipe was free. Practically unsmoked as well.
"Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level." - Quentin Crisp
Ten or fifteen bucks is not much of a risk unless you are short on money which I believe was mentioned early on. Accidentally getting a bad meer could set him back further from his goal to get a quality pipe. I would not recommend this path for a beginner searching for his first meer. I am sure there are deals to be had but here I respectfully disagree, but I am sure that is obvious from other post so I shall say no more on it. Happy hunting indeed.
There seems to be a presumption against estate pipe bought from private sellers "unrestored". I've seen advice on the forum many times about estate pipes and the advice has uniformly been to get then fully worked up from a known reseller. Good advice certainly for beginners and relatively risk free. But the true bargains won't be got this way.
This is true, but this forum (at least in the pipe section) is dominated by beginners and "advanced beginners". I'm more concerned with people having a good first experience than finding a bargain. If you've already got fifty pipes, buying a dog isn't going to break you; if it's your first pipe, it could end your excitement for pipe smoking pretty fast.