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X - SOLD - "Blue Chip" Estate Pipe: 1902 Adolph Posener & Son Silvermount Billiard w/Amber

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  • Your pipe maker, Adolph Posener, circa approximately 1900.
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  • A shot of Mansell Street in Central London, circa 1902.  This is supposedly the block where the workshop and tobacconist was located, but I cannot make out any addresses or signage in the photograph.
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Price:
$349.95
SKU:
APS1001
Brand:
Condition:
Refurbished
Shipping:
Calculated at checkout
Minimum Purchase:
1 unit(s)
Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)
Current Stock:
SOLD OUT

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Product Description

Rare 1902 Hallmarked Silver Military Mount Adolph Posener Billiard w/Amber 

(PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE NINE PICTURES WITH MULTIPLE SHOTS; PLEASE SCROLL TO SEE THEM ALL!)

 

Description, Markings, Measurements:

Before there were artisan craftsmen like Jess Chonowitsch, Jody Davis or Baldo Baldi, there was a whole field of artisan craftsmen who, starting around 1860, made pipes in small numbers - especially compared to the factories and large workshops of the time.  Factories like GBD, BBB, Comoy and dozens of meerschaum factories turned out hundreds of thousands of pipes a year; in comparison, a typical tobacconist artisan craftsman who made pipes in the back room and sold them in the front shop might make 1000 pipes a year.  In many ways, the beginnings of the briar pipe boom in England were much like it is now, with dozens of craftsmen or two-man workshops doing something incredibly well and trying to literally "carve out a name for themselves" against the giants of the industry.  This is the story of one such man.

Adolph Posener was born in Prussia (now Poland) in 1837.  In 1860, at the age of 22, he and his brother David emigrated to England and by 1861 they partnered together to open a tobacconist and pipe making operation on Rupert Street, Haymarket.  Many innovations were attributed to the Posener brothers and they even filed for early patents for many of their inventive uses of rubber and developed a new method of coloring clay pipes to mimic the look of a fully-colored meerschaum.  When briar became readily available, they were amongst the first in London to embrace this new material; Adolph, in particular, saw the benefits of this new material, while his brother David insisted on sticking with clay and meerschaum.  By 1877, with the brothers at odds over which direction to take the company, they mutually chose to dissolve their partnership with David taking the patent for the clay pipes with him.  Court documents show that David did not fare well; in July of 1881 David had filed for bankrupcy, and it is assumed that he came back to work with his brother.  In the meantime, Adolph's business grew and he brought on his son, Walter, to join in the business as they moved to more a more spacious retail location on Mansell Street in central London.  Specializing in briar pipe making, amber, silver work and continuing to dabble in meerschaum and clay, Posener and Son grew prosperous, even creating a new line of briar pipes called Pierson Pipes.  Posener's pipes stood for quality craftsmanship in pre-1900 London (where his shop was based); the array of silver-mounted meerschaums with gleaming amber stems, double-silver calabashes and cased silver-banded briars must have been impressive.  Adolph died in 1922 and his brother David died in 1913; it is assumed the business was shut down in 1915, as Adolpho's son Walter - who had fought in the Boer War - had been given the rank of second leutenant in 1915 and fought in the Great War.  In 1915, Adolph would have been 78 and with both his sons in the war (Walter was the only one to come back alive), I can only imagine the business would have been too much for him to handle alone.  In fact, a search of London telephone directories show that after 1915, there is no listing for Adolf Posener & Co., Pipe Manufacturers.  After returning from the war, Walter went to work for Orlik as a Sales Representative.  Then in 1926, due to his wife's frail state, Walter moved his family to Australia, where he continued to work for Orlik on and off until his death in 1956.

This particular Posener is a beautiful silver military mount billiard in excellent overall condition.  According to Michael Balfour, author of "Alfred Dunhill:  100 Years And More", Dunhill himself purchased straightgrained bowls from Posener before they started producing their own; this little billiard exhibits really exquisite grain for the time, as can be seen in the closeup shots. The silver shank cap are hallmarked for Birmingham, England, 1902.  The stem is a high quality block amber.  The coloration of the amber is just lovely, a warm opaque honey yellow with some slight translucence when held up against strong light.  This piece is absolutely gorgeous and shows very well; it could be a focal point of any number of collections.  Please be sure to scroll through all the pictures; there are also pictures of Adolph Posener (circa approximately 1895 - 1900) as well as a picture of the block on Mansell Street in central London where Posener's shop was located (although you cannot see where, exactly, it was located.)

There are no markings on the bowl. Silverwork stampings are quite clear, although they did not photograph as well as I would have liked due to reflections: AP (in an oval, over), (hallmarks for Birmingham, 1902). These are shown in a closeup shots. Measurements: 4 3/8" long, bowl is just under 1 1/4" wide and just over 1 1/2" tall. The pipe weighs 23 grams.  This one is about a Dunhill group 2 in capacity, with a chamber that measures .74" across and 1.25" deep.

 

Condition:

9.25 out of 10.  Great condition overall; the finish on the bowl is great with no dents or dings or handling marks.  The rim is clean and crisp.  The stem has no toothmarks to speak of, and the silverwork is in great shape with no serious dings and all stampings still intact.  Issues:  There are some very small, slight chips on the end of the amber stem (where it fits into the shank), but these are very minor; in addition, there is some very slight tooth "chatter" on the button edge but nothing really on the stem proper.  The amber - as amber is prone to do - is crazed a bit but is solid with no cracks or damage outside normal aging.  There are some very small, shallow marks on the silver band and a couple areas of the silver stampings are buffed a little bit, but all is solid and readable.  Finally the inside of the chamber shows some slight spiderwebbing but nothing out of the ordinary for a pipe that is over 100 years old.  That's all.  Otherwise this fine 112 year old specimen is ready to go.  This pipe is ready for your finest blend and is sure to be a fantastic addition to your early English silvermount collection.  All cleaned up and ready to go.  

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