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X - SOLD - "Blue Chip" Estate Pipe: 1913 BBB Hallmarked Bent Apple - Near Mint

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Product Description

1913 Silver Hallmarked BBB Bent Apple - A Rare Shape - Near Mint Condition


Description, Markings, Measurements:

BBB (Blumfeld's Best Briars, and later, Best British Briar) has a long and distinguished history in English pipes. Created in 1847, they are one of the oldest pipe companies from England.  Though never gaining the "status" of Dunhill in the 20th century, BBB did what they did best, making affordable quality pipes at a fair price. It is rumored that Dunhill actually purchased bowls from BBB in the early years, which wouldn't surprise me, as BBB utilized from some of the finest Algerian briar to be had at the time.  But it is really from the "golden age" of pipe making that BBB really shines; from the 1880s through about 1920, there really wasn't a manufacturer that could touch BBB when it came to just sheer volume, exceptional beauty, and top-quality craftsmanship.  Loewe came close and in some ways did meet or beat BBB, but just the massive numbers of shapes, finishes, innovations, and options available at the time puts BBB squarely in the drivers seat.  You could order a particular pipe shape with a vulcanite stem (round button) with screw mount or push mount, a vulcanite "Glokar" bit (think of a Peterson "P" lip, only refined and elegant) or could get it fitted with a horn stem, black amber (actually "jet"), pressed amber, block amber, bone, or ivory.  You could get it mounted with or without sterling silver band or silver spigot or army "push" mount.  You could get it without a case, or have it fitted to a case.  The case options were just as staggering, with your choice of hides from a whole zoo-full of animals including gazelle, antelope, and alligator.  The interiors could be lined with your choice of velvets in red, blue, purple... or you could get it fitted with suede chamois.  You could get the pipe in standard quality or in the top "Own Make" quality, or one of the lower qualities.  The bowl could be made out of briar, or meerschaum. You could get your chosen shape in small, medium, or large.  Now take all those options and multiply it by probably close to a thousand different shapes.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like to walk into a well-stocked tobacconist in 1910 and see the dizzying array of pipes just from BBB alone.

This is a lovely piece from the early years of BBB. It’s a smooth bent apple with hallmarked silverwork dating to the pipe to 1913 (lowercase "o").  This shape is not often seen; it's an adorable shape, a fat 3/4 bent fat apple with a thick shank, smart silver band and thick stem that tapers elegantly through its bend down to the thick oval button.  This pipe is in near-mint condition, few conditional issues.  The finish is exquisite, shining like glass, with no handling marks, no scratches, not even any raised grain.  The rim is clean with no darkening or rounding.  The stem is the original taper with the thick, oval button and round airhole with only the slightest of small tooth 'waves' on the bottom of the stem.  Nomenclature on the pipe is perfect, and all silver stampings are fully readable (if a tad light).  There are no fills (of course), although I see a couple small sandspots on the bottom of the shank that at first I thought were tiny pinprick dings.  The graining is a spectacular front-to-back radial crosscut - seriously, take a look at the closeups.  It's beautiful.  The excellent overall condition may be attributed to the suspicion that this pipe, at one time, was in its own case; many BBB's of this era were cased, so a case wouldn't have been out of the question.

Markings read: BBB (in diamond). Silverwork is marked: BBB (in diamond), AF & Co, and 3 hallmarks for Birmingham with the letter code lowercase "o". These are shown in a closeup shot, so you can determine for yourself. Measurements: 4 1/2" long, bowl is just under 1 1/2" wide and just over 1 5/8" tall. The pipe weighs 44 grams.  This one is about a Dunhill group 3 in capacity.



9.5 out of 10.  Outside of some buffed silver stampings, and a couple small creases (or shallow, small dents) on the silver band, there's not much wrong here.  The finish is flawless.  The stampings are crisp.  There IS the one small, shallow, tooth wave on the bottom of the stem, which I have shown in the closeups.  The rim has no rounding, no darkening, no dings, no anything.  A lovely piece overall and sure to be a fine addition to your early silvermount collection.


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1910s  Apple  BBB  Bent  Birdseye  Crosscut  Hallmarks  Pre-War  Silver  Smooth  

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