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X - SOLD - "Blue Chip" Estate Pipe: Loewe 1930s "Straight Grain" Pot - Rare!

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Product Description

Superb 1930s Loewe L & Co "Straight Grain" Taper Pot in Near-Mint Condition





Description, Markings, Measurements:

The Loewe Pipe Company dates back to 1856 at 62 Haymarket St and is truly one of the benchmarks of pre-war British pipe making.  Kind of a "cult classic" amongst those-in-the-know, early Loewes are sought after by a small but dedicated group of collectors who recognize these pipes for just how great they were.  Before Dunhill even thought of getting into the pipe business, when a high-grade, handmade pipe was considered in London, Loewe was on the short list of candidates to choose from.  Their silverwork is renowned as excellent - certainly on par with Barling at the time - and their pipes were superb.  They exemplified the old English pipe shoppe where production was in the back room and sales were in the front.  Of course Loewe production grew and soon Loewes were available in many high-end tobacconists around the world.  By the 1970s, however, the brand had languished and unfortunately production was absorbed into the Cadogan factory, along with GBD, BBB, and Comoy (Oppenheimer had actually owned Loewe since the mid 1920s; in the late 1920s, Oppenheimer was re-organized as Cadogen Investments), who ultimately pillaged away any value the brand name still possessed.  

This particular Loewe is a very rare, gorgeous "Straight Grain" pot which dates to the 1930s.  This pipe is part of a large collection of rare pieces that were accumulated between the early 1920s and the mid 1940s, with many pipes purchased in London.  The original owner certainly knew quality pipes, as the collection has a number of rare, unique pieces (including, for example, many of the prized straightgrain early GBDs that have been offered, last week's Orlik Straight Grain, the 1942 Parker, as well as pieces yet to be listed).  The Loewe Straight Grains are rare pieces in the larger scheme of things; they weren't stamped with shape names like the normal lines and although they probably were produced in limited quantities from the beginning of the company, they aren't even mentioned in the 1910 or 1926 catalog and don't appear in any company literature until the 1937 catalog.  That particular catalog shows three Straight Grains with the text "Loewe Straight Grain Briars are too rare to enable a large stock being kept, but all enquiries will receive individual attention and the nearest shape to that selected will be sent."  Prices are not listed; I am assuming that the pieces were likely either priced individually based on size and grain quality, or on some other tiered structure similar to Dunhill at the time.  Still, the fact remains that these were not cheap pipes, and were not produced in any appreciable numbers.  Outside the examples I received in this collection, I've never personally seen any other Loewe Straight Grains; in fact, I would hazard that you're more likely to find a Dunhill DRR Patent than you are a Loewe Straight Grain.  While it is impossible to know for certain when, exactly, this pipe was produced, based on the other pipes in the collection as well as clues on the pipe itself, my best guess is the mid 1930s.  Loewe still employed the old-style oval button - either with slot or hole - into the 1920s, and this has a more "modern" (but still pre-war style) "normal" button with narrow oval slot.  The nomenclature is simple, and is in line with what one saw prior to the 1950s, with "L & Co" in an oval, "Loewe LONDON. W." and where the shape name would be stamped, "STRAIGHT GRAIN".  There is no L&Co on the original stem, but this did not appear on the pipes shown in any catalog prior to the war and I have to assume this was a 1950's addition.  The tenon is interesting in that it is threaded; originally it had a small vulcanite screw-in "cap" which unfortunately was damaged and disintegrated when we removed it for cleaning.  I am assuming - but this is just conjecture - that Loewes included the option for some sort of "plumbing", and those who did not want to use it could screw on this small vulcanite cap.  Many brands were starting to employ screw-in plumbing from the 1920s into the 1930s (including Sasieni, Comoy, Bewlay and many more) and so that is my best guess as to what the threads were for.  Regardless, this beautiful old Loewe is otherwise in fantastic condition, with deep, mainly sharp stampings, very little in the way of handling marks or dings, a clean rim, original stem with some slight to moderate toothmarks, and of course the exceptional grain which allowed the pipe to be stamped "Straight Grain" in the first place.  


Markings read: L&CO (in an oval), LOEWE (over) LONDON. W., STRAIGHT (over) GRAIN.  Measurements: 5 7/8" long, bowl is just about 1 3/8" wide and just over 1 1/2" tall. The pipe weighs 31 grams. About a modern Dunhill group 3 in capacity, with a chamber that's .74" across and 1.33" deep.


9.25 out of 10. Really exceptional condition overall, with a smooth glassy finish, clean rim showing very little wear, no knock marks and few handling marks, original stem with only a few shallow toothmarks and solid nomenclature.  Issues:  A touch of darkening right around the inner rim edge, along with just a slight bit of rounding and a pinprick 'nick' on the inner edge at the 9 o'clock position.  The nomenclature is all there and deep, but has lost its "factory crisp" edges in a few spots.  The original stem has a very small, buffed over tooth 'wave' on top, and a medium-sized but shallow toothmark on the bottom that has been buffed and smoothed a bit.  There is also the slightest tiny buffed-over tooth 'nick' on the front top face of the button.  All these are photographed and shown for you to determine for yourself the condition.  Finally, there are a few small, shallow handling marks on the bottom of the shank, but nothing at all to be concerned about.  That's really it; the main issue would be the bottom toothmark, and that isn't that bad.  Overall this is an exceedingly rare Loewe in exceptional overall condition, and while it isn't cheap, there simply aren't many of these around.  When will you see another, outside the examples I have?  

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