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X - SOLD - "Blue Chip" Estate Pipe: Brilliant 1909 BBB Double Silver Cased Calabash w/Amber

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RRP:
$689.95
Your Price:
$489.95 (You save $200.00)
SKU:
BBB1027
Brand:
Condition:
Refurbished
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Calculated at checkout
Minimum Purchase:
1 unit(s)
Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)
Current Stock:
SOLD OUT

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Product Description

1909 Hallmarked BBB Gourd Calabash w/Double Silver and Amber Stem in Hard Case - Excellent Overall Condition

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

 

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.  

Here we have one of the "holy grails" of BBB collecting, a cased fitted gourd calabash with meerschaum bowl, double silver (silver rim cap and silver band) and a real amber (not pressed amber or "Amberoid") stem fitted to the pipe with a bone screw tenon.  While you will occasionally come across BBB Calabashes, you rarely see one such as this, a fitted Calabash with double silver and real amber.  When you do, they're usually in pretty rough shape, even if they were fitted to cases:  Most I have come across - and passed on - had heavily dented rims from being "knocked out", had broken amber stems that had been haphazardly glued back together, had massive toothmarks or bite-through.   But the primary reason you just don't see pipes like this - even in poor condition - is simply that this was an incredibly expensive pipe back in the day.  Depending on size, cased block meerschaum calabashes with double silver and real amber cost anywhere from 18 shillings up to 30 shillings or more.  Compare this to a typical case-fitted, hallmarked "Own Make" billiard which could be had for around four shillings.  In today's parlance, it is like, say, a Dunhill Shell versus a Dunhill Straight Grain.  You could easily acquire seven or eight Shells for what it would cost for one Straight Grain 3 star.  This particular example is in excellent shape overall, with very few detractions outside the normal wear and tear one would see from smoking.  The original stem is in near-mint overall condition, with no toothmarks and only a few teeny tiny chips (I mean pin-prick sized chips) out of the stem face, where it screws into the shank as well as right around the airway on the button.  The silverwork is beautiful, not perfect but close, with a few pinprick dings (very hard to see) on the rim proper and a few tiny marks on the band.  The gourd it very light and hasn't darkened much at all from smoking, with some slight natural variation to the color and a very smooth skin.  The case, too, is in very good to excellent shape in black leather that, outside some random scuffs here and there, is in completely acceptable condition. There is some some slight fraying along the edges of the seams and some very slight staining to the chamois inside, but a solid clasp and original hinges, and a re-assuring 'click' when closed.  During this time, case-making was an art form in and of itself, and the early directories are filled with both pipe fitters (silversmiths fitting only pipes) and case makers.  It must have been a grand time to be alive in London, if you were a man of means.

 

Markings read: (No stamping on the pipe at all).  Silverwork is marked: BBB (in a diamond), L-B, and 3 hallmarks for Birmingham with the letter code lowercase "k", indicating 1909 production. The rim, also, is marked L-B and the same hallmarks.  These are shown in a closeup shot, so you can determine for yourself. The case shows the BBB logo in a diamond, in gold leaf, and has zero wear to the logo.  Measurements:  5" long; the bowl just over 1 3/4" wide and just about 2 1/4" tall. The pipe weighs 41 grams.  This one is about a Dunhill large group 5 in capacity, with a chamber that is 1.01" across and 1.37" deep.  

 

Condition:

9.5 out of 10.  Really great shape overall, with barely any wear to the silver, clear hallmarks, only the slightest of teeny tiny dings on the rim proper (I count about ten random tiny marks or pinprick dings here and there, but none stand out).  Stem is near mint with only a couple teeny tiny chips out of the face of the stem, where it meets the shank (hard to find and not noticable; I've seen worse on unsmoked pipes!) as well as a few really miniscule chips right around the airway on the buttom; there are no toothmarks.  Case, likewise, has been well cared for with only minor scuffing to the outside leather and minor staining on the bright tan chamois interior.  So as you can see, the issues are all minor, and this pipe shows incredibly well.  It is obvious looking at the case, the lack of darkening to the gourd and the condition of the chamber that this pipe was not smoked all that much.  These old BBB's simply do not last long, so if you like it, I suggest you jump on it.

 

 

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Amber  BBB  Calabash  Cased  Hallmarks  Meerschaum  Rare  Silver  

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