With the possible exception of Russian space stations, there is a general agreement that anything made long ago is better than that which is made today. In terms of pipes, the briar of long ago is thought to be better than the briar available today. A third factor is the belief that the older the briar, the better the pipe.
So a person might assume that a pipe discovered unsmoked some 30 or 40 years after it was made could well turn out to be a treasure.
It just so happens that over at James Barber, a cache of "pipes" was obtained from a pipe manufacturer which had kept a large number of pipes from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s as samples.
How could I avoid buying a few? These aren't "estate" (= used) pipes. They're unsmoked!
A handmade Stanwell from back when.
My first choice was a Stanwell, but I was surprised in seeing the notation "handmade" on it. The pipe is somewhat longer and more elegant than similar Stanwells which I have.
A well-curved Nording.
My second was a Nording. I've seen his pipes in various places from time to time, and while his pipes are often a temptation, nothing yet had caused me to cross the line. But I liked the lines of the pipe, and the idea of "aged" briar never left my mind.
Kriswill the unknown.
My final choice was more problematical, and I didn't make the order till a couple of days afterward. I had never heard of "Kriswill" before, and I know little more now except that the pipe was handmade in Denmark. The pipe turned out to be smaller than expected (though quite pert), but what appeals to me enormously is its style. Seen at any right angle, the pipe consists of only straight lines while being outrageously conical. It is quite remarkable and quite the character.
Thus far I've only begun breaking in the Nording; it smokes like a dream too. Somehow I expected that from an old (and unsmoked!) pipe.
Look Out! | Pipes & Tobacco | New old pipes from James Barber