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X - SOLD - "Blue Chip" Estate Pipe: 1983 Ashton LX Bent 120 Shape - One of 31

  • Left side.
  • Right side.
  • A shot of the clean rim and factory crisp nomenclature.
  • Held in hand to show scale.
  • Closeups of the fantastic crosscut grain.
  • Closeup shots of the button area, showing a mild tooth 'wave'.
  • Bill Taylor, along with my old partner Dave and Scott Bundy, who was our office manager at the time.  I miss the long conversations with Bill about pipe making, always with a couple of Newcastles.  He is truly missed.
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Product Description

Rare Ashton:  1983 First-Year-Production LX Bent Billiard - Only 31 Made!!


Description, Markings, Measurements:

Bill Taylor started out in the pipe world in 1959 at the young age of 15, getting a job at Dunhill.  Bill was one of the last to completely go through the full apprenticeship with Dunhill, starting out by sweeping floors, bringing workers their afternoon tea, and running errands.  As the years went by, Bill slowly learned every aspect of making a Dunhill pipe, from hand-turning a bowl on a lathe to hand-cutting a stem to stamping and polishing and everything in between.  But in 1983, Bill's life would forever change direction, as he met David Field, at the time a Dunhill Principal Pipe Dealer who also carried Castellos and sold estate pipes back when you took photos and mailed them off in envelopes to a small but select group of collectors.  David Field convinced Bill that starting his own company making proper English pipes "the old way" was something desperately needed; after much consideration, Bill agreed to give it a go, and together the two of them came up with the name "Ashton" for the new pipe brand.  At first, things did not go particularly smoothly, with much back-and-forth between David Field and Bill Taylor, but finally things were ironed out enough to start production on a full scale.  That "full scale" production didn't occur until 1984; however, Bill (only Bill) made a handful of pipes - literally only 31 - in 1983, and these are rare as hens teeth.  Many Ashton collectors have spent decades trying to track one down; for someone truly serious about Ashton pipes, owning a 1983 is owning a piece of history.  I can attest to this; outside of the pieces I saw personally in David Field's personal collection, I have only ever seen one other 1983 in person, and it had been smoked to death.

This particular 1983 Ashton is in overall excellent condition, as you can see in the photos.  This pipe, being a 1983, doesn't have the normal nomenclature that started to phase in during 1984 production; for example, there is no finish stamp, not even an indication of it being a sandblast; the "LX" is two separate stamps with no oval, and "Ashton" is in block letters.   The size is not a normal LX, being more a large 3X (certainly by 1985, the sizes overall were larger, with quite a bit of variance; it wasn't uncommon to see a 2X the same size as a 3X, or an LX larger than a modern ELX.)  But the shape is sooooo classically British, a spitting image of a Dunhill 120, a shape Bill had probably made hundreds of times.  The condition of the blast is superb, still a deep blackish brown with mahogany highlights; this was by design, not from handling or buffing.  Nomenclature is DEEP and CRISP.  The stem is original, with only the slightest of tooth waves on the bottom (see pictures).  I wouldn't be surprised if this is the cleanest smoked 1983 Ashton around.  And with only 31 known to have been produced, this is the rarest of rare when it comes to anything Bill ever made.  It's just lovely - in cut, in proportion, in blasting, in condition - and it will be the highlight of your Ashton collection for years to come.

Markings read: LX (block stamping), ASHTON (block stamping), MADE IN LONDON (over) ENGLAND, 3. Stem is the original and has inlaid silver ring and briar logo. Measurements: 6 1/2" long, bowl is 1 1/2" wide and 2 1/4" tall. The pipe weighs 54 grams.  About a Dunhill group 6 in capacity.



9.5 out of 10. Issues:  A very very small tooth 'wave' (barely noticable) on the top of the stem, and one 'wave' a touch larger on the bottom of the stem.  A couple light markings on the smooth nomenclature panel.  All cleaned up and ready to pack and light.  That's it.  Yes, this pipe is a lot of money, but chances are you won't see another 1983, especially in this condition, in a very, very long time.  



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