| The Mill
March 18, 2019;
A good, regular customer wrote today to tell
me that I pipe he purchased from me for $75 is
now being sold by him on eBay and at last
accounting, the bidding was up to more than
twice what he paid, with a few hours still to go.
Not only don't I mind that, and am completely
without jealousy, but am pleased because it will
bring this customer back again, looking for what
he thinks are bargains he can turn into profit.
That may be, but it might also not be so. He
might lose money on the next effort, and it
won't be my fault. Indeed, he immediately asked
about two other pipes on this site, hinting that if
he bought them, he would try to make money by
auctioning them off, as well.
His question(s) implied he wanted my opinion
on their general worth to the pipe-buying public
at large and whether I thought they might
command interest. My reply contained a line I
thought of years ago, in my San Francisco
shop, when somebody asked about the
possibility of a pipe becoming more valuable
over the years.
Before I delivered that line, I explained that if
I'm going to be retained as a consultant, my fee
puts me up there with the most expensive
hourly rates charged by defensive attorneys for
the rich and guilty. And just like those
attorneys, I don't guarantee results, only my
Then, I said, "I am a pipe vendor. The only skill
for which I make any claim of semi- competence
at all is in the selling of pipes. If you (the 'you'
being my friend/customer, but also you the
current reader) want to get screwed with your
investments, go see your stock broker, not a
This touches, peripherally at least, on the
subject of how I buy pipes for this site, which is
to say, I do not buy pipes from people, like you,
who know their worth. Pipe collectors, as with
all collectors, I suppose, want to come out no
worse than even when turning over a pipe or
part of a collection, or even the whole thing.
How can I make money if I buy pipes from
someone like that?
When offered pipes by my erstwhile customer
or collector, I explain that I only buy from people
that don't know the value of them.
Widows are best, in general, because they have
the impression, based on question and answer
sessions with their spouse, that none of the
pipes the husband bought cost more than $10.
To that person, my offer looks real good...like
found money. "Really, they're worth that
much?" "Only to me," I say with as innocent a
tone as I can muster," and if you parse the
sentence, I contend that I've maintained my
mantle of honesty.
I can say this because I think I have enough
pipes to get me through (to wherever that is,
and to whenever it is) and also because widows
do not check out this site. I'm not intending to
buy any more pipes, anyhow although I'm a
sucker for a good deal and allergic to a fair
But fairness, like beauty, can be in the eye of
the beholder. Remember, the guy who bought
the $75 pipe and is now reeling in something like
$160? He thinks I'm fair.
P.S. My offhand remarks on a few female Jazz
singers brought a bunch of comments, some of
which were informative and all of which were
most welcome. And then today, in a crossword
puzzle, the clue was "The Jezebel of Jazz." I do
believe the answer was one of the women jazz
singers to whom I referred...Anita O'Day.
P.P.S. It is time for me to wrap up the Rolando
Negoita project on this site. Thus, I will be
reducing the price of the pipes on the Specials
page by degrees, until they are all gone. For the
first two weeks, until April 1st, all listed prices
will be reduced by 10%. Thereafter, I will reduce
prices by 2.5% each two weeks until they are all
gone or until I am gone, whichever comes first.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We open our mouths and out flow words whose
ancestries we do not even know. We are walking
lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we
preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse: we carry a
museum inside our heads, each day we
commemorate peoples of whom we have never
heard. -Penelope Lively, writer (b. 17 Mar 1933)
I finally got to post pipe # 4 in my Human Folly-
HumanTragedy series, which I am doing in
collaboration with pipe maker Don Gillmore.
This pipe is The Children's Crusade,
representing all the centuries children have
been abused physically and emotionally,
creating a foundation for a screwed up next
On the front of the pipe's bowl is an
etched Knight's Templar Cross.
Somehow I jumped over pipe #3 in the
Series. The pipe, a volcano representing
the folly of building a city under a regularly
spewing Vesuvius, is in stock and only needs to
be posted. I'll do that soon.
# 3 in the Human Folly/Human Tragedy series is
now posted. If you think that building a city
under a live volcano, as the citizens of Pompeii
did, consider how much we've learned as a
species, with California, a state of over 30
million inhabitants, doing nothing but building
skyscrapers in cities like San Francisco, Oakland
and Los Angeles over huge fault lines. Brilliant.
Don't forget to see the Original Sin Apple
on the Human Folly page. It's called
"Paradise Lost" & it's the first pipe in our
ground breaking series that points a shaming
finger at instances of thoughtless human folly
that inevitably led to human tragedy. That first
five sold out quickly, and the 2nd group, three
of them, have just arrived. If you want one,
please let me know now as it will be awhile
before any others are produced.
We now are also showing pipe #2 in our Human
Folly Series, The Helen of Troy, a Yachtsman
(what else) to symbolize "the face that launched
thousand ships" and provoked a 10 year war
culminated in a demolished great city state.
Also on the Specials page is pipe # 4, The
Children's Crusade, a reminder of the way we
abuse kids physically and emotionally, assuring
a screwed up next generation. The shape is an
Acorn of sorts, but the defining detail is the
Cross etched on the front of the bowl.
Pipe # 3 in the series is ready to post, too. It is
a Volcano, which might help you remember Mt.
Vesuvius and the devastation it did to the com-
munity that oh so wisely decided to camp and
build at the bottom of a deadly, active volcano.
It is horrifying that we have to fight our
own government to save the environment.
Ansel Adams, photographer (20 Feb 1902-1984)
Philanthropy is the refuge of rich people who
wish to annoy their fellow creatures.
All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his
delusions is called a philosopher.
If you wish to understand a philosopher, do not
ask what he says, but find out what he wants.
Friedrich William Nietzsche
Philosophy, n. A route of many roads leading
from nowhere to nothing.
Those who lack the courage will always find a
philosophy to justify it.
Pease Southlinch from 2002 NASPC show. $90
Friedman & Pease Winter's Tale. $100
Balkan Sobranie Virginia # 10 50 grams. $250.
New Tins arrived, including
Abingdon, and a bunch of
others from 2003 and starting @ $40 a tin.
More old, collectible tins from the 1990's:
Ashton 1997 Celebrated Sovereign 4 oz., $100
Esoterica Pembroke...2 oz., 56 grams. $80
Davidoff Royalty 50 grams. $30
Dunhill Std. Mixture Mild from Lane 50 grams.
Benjamin Hartwell Pvt. Reserve 50 grams from
Consolidated Cigar (thus from mid '90's) $30
For easy access to the address of other fine
used pipe dealers, please visit Estate Pipes
The web site is: www.estatepipescentral.com.