A common used phrase you will hear and see among pipe smokers is “estate pipes” – but exactly what is an estate pipe? The word estate normally refers to the belongings owned by a person who has died, but this is not always applicable when referring to pipes.
An estate pipe is simply a pipe that has been previously owned. Most commonly these pipes are pre-smoked, but occasionally they may also be unsmoked, having been owned by a collector and kept in pristine condition, or possibly just been put in a drawer by its previous owner and forgotten about. Another category of estate pipes are the “new old stock” (NOS) pipes. These are pipes that may have been discovered in an old closed down tobacconist shop or at the back of a warehouse. They were originally bought to sell new, but for one reason or another never found a buyer at the time.
These categories of pipes are most usually referred to as estate pipes when they come up for sale.
Buying an estate pipe can offer tremendous value over purchasing a new pipe and can often offer many advantages over a new pipe as well. BUT great care must be taken when choosing an estate pipe which is beyond the scope of this post and will be covered in a later article.
The estate pipe category on eBay is now one of the most active categories offering up thousands of estate pipes per week – but many of these listings are selling badly abused and poor quality pipes. You should first educate yourself and set out certain buying conditions before falling into the trap buying used pipe from here that will not be suitable for your needs and may well be no more than bin fodder.
It would be better to look for good quality previously restored estate pipes that have been checked for quality, cleaned, sanitised, and brought back to a smokeable condition by a professional pipe restorer.