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GBD Natural Large Bent Billiard - 1970s Production - Unsmoked

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Product Description

1970s GBD Natural - Rare Higher Grade, Unsmoked


Description, Markings, Measurements:

Ganneval, Bondier, and Donninger, three artisans who worked with meerschaum, formed GBD in 1851 in Paris.  The company soon decided to try their hand at briar pipe production, and the rest is history, finding huge success.  By the late 1800s, GBD had over 350 employees making pipes in their Paris facility.  In 1903, GBD set up shop in London producing pipes for the English market, and eventually the Paris pipe operations were moved to St. Claude around 1952, where they still employed hundreds of workers.  Even though the original founders were gone by 1903 when Oppenheimer (later re-incorporated as Cadogen) purchased GBD, I highly doubt even the new owners could have foreseen the powerhouse that GBD was to become in the pipe world.  With Oppenheimer at the helm, GBD flourished, producing a vast number of 'firsts' such as the XTRA and SPECIALE, followed by the London Made, The Standard, and then in the mid 1920s the top-graded GBD:  The New Era.  The New Era remained the top 'standard production' finish until the arrival of the Virgin, and then that was supplanted by the Pedigree.

In the 1960s and 1970s, GBD introduced a number of new lines, including the Natural.  I don't know a ton about this line, but based on the fifteen or so Naturals I've seen, I can make a few assumptions. First, they were high quality pipes, at least on par with the Virgin, and were free from fills (and in many cases, free from all but the tiniest of sandspots).  Second, they were larger pipes than the normal catalog line, typically about a Dunhill group 5 or 6 in both capacity and dimensions.  Third, the shapes were never purely "classic" but rather modifications of classic shapes, with slightly exaggerated dimensions or slightly more flowing lines.  The Natural line was, by all accounts, short-lived; I believe it came out only a couple years before production was integrated in with Comoy production in the early 1980s.  In any case, just based on clean wood, light stain and good grain (and the fact these were produced before the integration with Comoy), I'd say these offer a tremendous value for the money.  This particular Natural is an unsmoked quarter-bent billiard with a slightly forward-leaning bowl, chamfered rim, longer saddle stem (believed to be hand-cut but I can't tell for certain) and inlaid brass-toned GBD rondelle.  Outside a couple light handling marks on the bottom of the shank near the stem, this pipe is mint, unsmoked, and ready to pack and light for the first time.

Markings read: GBD (in oval), NATURAL, LONDON ENGLAND, 9685. Stampings are deep and factory crisp, as you'd expect on an unsmoked pipe.  


Length: 6.36"
Bowl width: 1.66"
Bowl Height: 2.07"
Chamber dimensions: .92" across, 1.58" deep
Weight: 58 grams


9.85 out of 10. Unsmoked and almost perfect.  Just a couple light handling marks/small dings on the bottom of the shank (near the stem) take away from this otherwise pristine example.  A lovely piece of GBD history, ready to pack and light for the first time.  



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1970s  Bent  Billiard  Birdseye  Crosscut  GBD  Natural  Smooth  

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