The New York Pipe Show - March 2010

By Dock Perry

I met up with friend and fellow SHPC and Brother of Briar (BoB) member Andy Camire at Rein's Deli in Vernon Ct. on the Friday morning before the show. After breakfast we proceeded down to the Wyndham. For once there was plenty of parking there and the rains had yet to begin their assault on New Jersey. We checked in and were overjoyed to find that our reservations had indeed been kept and that we were able to get rooms early. We were off to an excellent start.

After chilling out a bit I headed down to Andy's room. He's been settling the estate of Don Powers who had 400-500 pipes in his collection. Two really caught my eye. One was a flawless cross grained Larsen Select and the other a Larsen Pearl with very strange boxwood inserts on the bowl. I'm convinced it was made by Tonni Nielsen sometime in the 80's. A deal was quickly worked out and I had made my first purchases of the show. A time later I ran into my buddy Mel Feldman of The Smoker in Albany, NY. Mel's been liquidating his wares for retirement and brought with him two foot lockers full of aged tobacco and about 1,000 high grade pipes. I bought a ton of MacBaren's, Edgeworth, Dobie's and others from him as well as a super Castello lovat and a big Mike Frey freehand with exceptional straight grain for a very good price.

In leaving Mel's I ran into friend and show organizer and good friend Sammy Barnett. I didn’t know it then but this meeting was to change the course of my show in amazing ways. Sam had brought with him quite a few pieces for sale and was gracious enough to give me the first viewing. As he pulled them out of his bag I laid each on the desk in his room. Several caught my eye including a nice Jack Howell clam, a Jody Davis blasted lovat, a Premal Chedda blasted bent poker and a killer Tonni. The one I'd see next nearly made my head spin. Out of the bag came THE Nanna Ivarsson bent blasted egg that I've been after forever. The dream pipe! It was love at first sight I gotta tell you. A deal was QUICKLY worked out for the Howell, the Davis, the Chedda and the Nanna. From Sam's room I went next door to see two of my favorite folks in the world Jay and Louise Jones of Hermit Tobacco in Ohio. It's always nice seeing them and I really appreciate the fact that they never miss a NY show. I wish all vendors showed this same loyalty! Jay was kind enough to bring me a bunch of Dunhill newsletters for my ephemera collection.

Shortly thereafter about 20 of us attended dinner in the hotel's restaurant. It was great just talking to friends and checking up on their activities A few of us made plans to meet up later that night. We checked out the various open rooms and what was for sale in them. At about 10:00 pm I got a text from a fella from my board "The Brothers of Briar" saying that he had got to town and wanted to meet up. I gave him my room number and he came down to visit for a bit. A few minutes in the flood gates opened and nearly everyone staying in the hotel was in my room smoking and talking! Estate pipes dealer Robert Lawing came in to shoot the breeze only to be followed by friend collector Neill Roan. It was almost surreal to me and a great time indeed. My good friend Ron Colter also showed up. He checked out my newly acquired Jody Davis with considerable interest. He confided to me that he REALLY wanted the pipe. I know how it is to feel that you've lost out on something like this. It can really ruin your show. A deal was worked out and Ron got the pipe. I had owned it for less than two hours but pipes are pipes and friends are friends and one just carries more clout than the other!

The next morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to have breakfast with Mel and set up his four tables in the hall. We were in the doors at 8:00 and man was it hot! Someone had let the heat crank ALL night long. Uggghhh! After helping Mel I went around visiting with everyone as they set up. I was first to see Robert Lawing's stock and fell in love with a little Jess Chonowitsch blast which I quickly bought. Robert and I also worked out a deal for my recently acquired Howell clam. In looking at it the pipe was just TOO similar to another Howell clam which I already owned. We made a deal for a great little Scott Anderson tomato and a Stanwell bamboo bent. I had never heard of Anderson pipes before but was amazed at the quality. He's a very small production maker who concentrates on nose warmers. His commissions can take years and he'll only bring a few pipes to a show with for sale. I'm thrilled to have got it. Robert is every bit the gentleman I thought he'd be. A nicer guy you'd not soon meet.

Most of my day was spent helping Mel with sales and visiting with fellow BoB's board members and friends. Unfortunately I only talked briefly with Tim and Rick and was told that Tim had sold five pipes! That's very cool! I also got quite an education about Comoy Blue Ribands from buddy Neill Roan who is simply "passionate" about these old pipes. He also showed me what I believe to be the finest Cornelius Manz ever made among other straight grained wood that would make a grown man cry. Neill has an amazing eye folks. I truly enjoyed his company throughout the show. In talking to vendors all seemed to be having a great day sale wise and this is great for the future of the show! Walk in traffic was double what was expected even with the foul weather outside!

Later that day I was making the rounds and found a fella selling McCranie's Red Ribbon and Red Flake at $10.00 per tin and bought them all! These sell for at least $30.00-$50.00 per tin everywhere! Another fella was selling an 8 oz bag of Penzance for $20.00 and two OLD production tins for $8.00 ea. I bought these two. Jay Jones sold me an awesome Peter Stokkebye advertising piece as well as an unused in the box Dunhill leather journal from "84". There was other stuff bought and other folks talked to but this was the gist of it. For me it was a truly great show all the way around! Hanging out with friends and buying pipes! What's better?

At about 3:00 Andy and I headed back. The skies were pouring and the wind was howling! It took us four hours to make a run that should have taken less than three! There was major flooding and detours all the way to rt84! Still we chatted and passed the time and ate at good old Rein's again. It was a great as usual.
I think the best news of all is that due to very GOOD walk in traffic and vendor support there will be a NY show in December! Thanks to all that came! It wouldn't have been the same without ya!

Here are some pics from the show from the Hermit Tobacco Website.

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