Preparing for My First Pipe Show
One week from today I will be doing something I have never done before as a pipe smoking enthusiast. If you guessed attend a pipe show, you would be correct. I will be attending the North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC) annual pipe show in Dublin, Ohio next weekend, and yes, it will indeed be my first pipe show experience (que audience gasps).
I have been a member of the NASPC for over 5 years now and enjoy reading and contributing to their bi-monthly newsletter entitled The Pipe Collector. In fact, in my humble opinion, it is the closest current publication to the long-lost Pipe Smoker’s Ephemeris. This timeless publication, produced by the late Tom Dunn, was a quarterly print that allowed members of the world-wide snail mail pipe club to contribute pipe and tobacco related material for publication in a newsletter. Several of these quarterly newsletters were hundreds of pages long and can still be found for sale on eBay and other collector websites. As stated early, much of the content in the Pipe Smoker’s Ephemeris newsletters was valuable information and stories regarding pipe smoking from a generation of individuals who lived the true pipe smoking lifestyle. Nevertheless, if you have not heard of, or are not a member of, the NASPC you are certainly missing out. And with membership dues being only $10 per year (this gives you electronic access to The Pipe Collector newsletter) you can’t beat the value this offer holds. For more information on the NASPC and membership options visit their webpage at: http://www.naspc.org
Over the years, I’ve read and followed several other pipe smokers and their attendance to the various pipe and tobacciana shows around the world. Each story of these tobacco and pipe related excursions has done nothing but peak my interest and innermost desire for adventure to what I can only imagine as a Heaven on Earth encounter. However, I must admit that my mind is running ramped with questions and concerns in preparation for my first every pipe show trip. Therefore, I feel the best way to focus my thoughts and concerns is through sharing them with you. Any insight and/or advice from those of you who have participated in a pipe show is very much welcomed and appreciated. The following are some of my concerns for the upcoming weekend.
Q: How many pipes should I take with me?
For some people this may seem like a simple problem with a simple solution. However, my mind continues to over analyze and question itself. To narrow the question even further, how many pipes should I carry on my persons during/at the show? As far as I know, smoking is indeed allowed at the show and I guarantee I will want to partake with other brothers of the briar. So, how many pipes should I take and how many should I carry while at the actual show?
Q: How much tobacco should I bring with me?
Again, for some of the more veteran show goers, this may seem to be a simple question, but remember, I’m a newbie at this. I have several pipe pouches I intended to fill with my favorite blends, but should I also dig into the depths of my cellar to bring some unopened aged tobaccos? Is it weird to carry around a bag with unopened tins of rare tobaccos to share with others? I’m assuming there will be tobacco vendors on-site selling a wide variety of hand crafted blends, but should I still bring my own and if so, how much?
Q: If I have pipes I want to sell or trade can I do so?
There are indeed a few pipes I am looking to part ways with. Although I typically put pipes I am ready to relinquish on eBay for auction, would it be frowned upon if I took them to sell or trade? Further, how do I go about doing so? Are vendors open to trade or are they only looking to sell the pipes they have for cash? How do you know if they are open to buying or trading?
Q: How do you determine a budget for the show?
Yes, I have already found quite a bit of advice related to pipe show budgeting such as only using cash (this will help you stay within your budget range and once you’re out of money you can’t buy anything else). However, what should this amount really be? I reflect on my current collection and think “do I reallyneed another pipe?” and the answer is no. But this is my first pipe show and I would really like to get at least one pipe to mark the occasion. Also, can I expect to get a better deal on pipes for sale at the show or is it the same deals I find online, I just get to look and feel the pipe before purchasing?
Please know these four questions are only a fraction of the conversation in my mind but I want to ensure this is a memorable experience and that I don’t look/act like a complete moron at the show. No matter what, I will be surrounded by other people who enjoy the hobby of pipes and tobaccos just as much as myself and that has to count for something.
If you plan on attending the upcoming NASPC show send me a message through this webpage or via email and maybe we could meet up to share a bowl. I will certainly report back with pictures and stories in the upcoming weeks and look forward to sharing my first pipe show experience with all of you. Until then, be well.