By Dock J. Perry
Photos by Horace Harker

Well,the first fun filled New York pipe show of the new year has come and gone. Andy Camire and I met up at the famous Rein's Deli in CT and were in NY by early Friday afternoon. There were already quite a few sellers and collectors loitering in the Ramada's lobby. I quickly met up with Sam Barnett and Rich Esserman. Rich and I headed up to "Mr.Castello" Chuck Rios room for a little show and tell. Rich had at least twently Castello "Great lines" many of which were collection grade and ultra, ultra high grade fiamatta's. Dr. Fred Hana was also there and purchased Rich's last Charatan, a supreme with gorgeous straight grain which was all the more stunning on the cup and holder designed pipe. I had read many of Fred's articles both online and in the Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris and he was every bit the gentleman in person that I knew he'd be. From Chuck's room I headed back to my own for a little "down time" before the pre show rooms opened later that afternoon. Pipemaker Joe Skoda's (next door) was the first to open and he and I had an interesting chat on pipes and pricing from a carver's point of view. Joe told me that the pricing of a pipe was the hardest part of being a pipemaker! His new creations were so beautiful that I just had to take one home with me. From Joe's I headed down to to Jay & Louise's of Hermit Tobacco Works room. Jay brought with him some nice Jess Chonowitsch's for me to see but I was much more taken with a Tom Eltang "Star grade" bent with wonderful contrast staining and a bamboo shank extention. I passed on the pipe then but slept on it and it ultimately came home with me the following day. I heard from them that they had purchased a majority of the pipes and ephemera from Tom Dunn's estate and will be listing them on Ebay within the month. They said that they will also be bringing quite a few of the less expensive items to the Chicago pipe show so that everone can have a chance to own something of Tom's. After leaving the Jones' I ran into Neil Flancbaum and he had the ultimate pipe bag I ordered waiting for me. The prices for Neal's bags are quite high, but the quality is truly amazing. Neal is every bit as talented as a pipe carver and the hours of time that go into his creations is clearly visible. Before I left we struck up a deal for a Warner Mummert, a brand which I always wanted to try. It's a combination of a canadian and a volacano. By early evening the rest of the SHPC gang showed up and we proceeded to visit the opened rooms including Mel Feldman who came down with Paul Bonaquisti and Cornell & Diehl's tobacco who were running an excellent deal of $7.00 per tin for GLP, C&D and Two Friends tobaccos. The fella representing C&D had a few of his own pipes for sale and I purchased a John Eells and a Paul Bonaquisti XL bent which were both TOO reasonably priced to leave behind! We then visited the room of Danish pipe maker Kurt Balleby who was making his first vist to the NY Pipe Show . The graining on his pipes were so unbelievably perfect that it looked as though it had been painted on! Prices for sandblasts started around $500.00 and the prices for smooths were around $1000.00 with some close to $2000.00. Later that evening we wound up in the hotel's bar and met up with Mr.Balleby again and had some great conversations with him on his theorys of pipe making.

It had been a long day for me and I shuffled slowly off to bed eagerly awaiting the doors to open to the show at 10:00 am the following morning. After a restless night of sleep I awoke and joined the rest of the SHPC guys in the Hotel's restaurant for breakfast. The food's always good all-be-it pricey....four bucks for an orange juice? After breakfast we made our way into the line for the show. Pipes & Tobaccos magazine was set up outside and had quite a few items for sale including P&T shirts, hats, mugs and even tampers. It was hard to beat the prices and I ended up with a hat and a denim shirt. The doors were opened promtly by 10:00 a.m. and we all proceeded in to the room of pipe filled tables. Old english wood dominated the sale and you could barely go a foot without seeing an old Charatan or Dunhill. Also well represented were danish pipes along with American contemporaries like Jody Davis and Todd Johnson. My issue with the majority of these were just how small they were. Most were group 3's or 4's in bowl size and short in length as well. I had to do it and finally "pulled the trigger" on a polish made BAC Art pipe in a shell design. The pipe is reminicent of an old GBD unique in style as well as size. From Matt Hayes Tobacconist I picked up a colossal Savinelli Autograph with bamboo and an old JHW pot which closely resembles a Charatan "After Hours". I was lucky enough to get all of the new "vintage blend" tobacco XV3 that Hermit Tobacco Works brought with them. These are always a limited run of not more than 200 tins. From friend Andy Camire I picked up a large and gorgeous Amorelli Busbee which had belonged to famous pipe collector Jimmy Booth.

It was quite nice to see Dr.Bob Keiss (Grabow) and Dante (Quincy) at the show, two of our members who sadly moved away from the Boston area last year. Dr. Bob and I agreed on a deal and he bought from me a gorgeous Castello Sea Rock GG and an XL Dunhill Collector with a great blast and a plateau top.

The show started winding down around 4:00 pm and Andy and I made our way to the car and North to home. It was a fantastic show and I'm happy to report to you that the rest of the NY Shows this year will go on as planned as the organizers and hotel management have come to a tenative agreement....