Collectable pipes are commonly available in offline auction salerooms where they can sell at prices way below their possible resale values on eBay.
Pipes from ancient times to round about the early 1900s were made from many different materials, some from clay and other inferior materials which were easily broken and few examples remain today, others from ivory or rare woods embellished with silver and porcelain. The latter represent the highest profit potential.
Pipes made from finely carved woods, ivory and precious metals fetch the highest prices, especially with famous faces (a bowl with a portrait of Napoleon fetched £400 at a sale in Newcastle a few months back) or commemorating important events (such as military campaigns). Among the most valuable pipes are long stemmed designs with ornate carved bowls sometimes decorated with silver and precious gemstones.
eBay.com's recent high prices include:
* $3,075.00 was paid for a Lars Ivarsson Pipe
* A large Dunhill pipe fetched $1875.00
* A Dunhill White Spot Briar Pipe and Case fetched $954.81
* An Ivarsson Pipe made from bamboo made $860.00
A few minutes spent studying vintage pipes selling on eBay revealed the following main trends:
* Pipes aged one hundred years or more almost always attract several bidders and good finishing prices and rarely go unsold on eBay.
* Names like Dunhill and Ivarsson are amongst the most valued and collectable on ebay.com and other eBay sites.
* Pipes made from meerschaum are also extremely collectable, meerschaum being a porous mineral found in rock veins. Being porous, meerschaum pipes absorb nicotine and gradually grow darker which some collectors like and some don’t. The better types are elaborately carved to represent people or animals.
The more intricate the design on pipes made from meerschaum and other valuable materials, the higher the finishing price is likely to be, such as a meerschaum pipe depicting an elephant's head with long winding trunk and tusks that fetched £1,000 a few years ago at Christie's and a cheroot holder (not exactly a pipe) in the shape of two ladies sitting on a snake that fetched almost fifteen hundred pounds at Sotheby's.