Recap of My First Pipe Show
In August of this year, I wrote about preparing for my first pipe show and explained both my excitement and worry regarding what to expect. Although two months have passed since my trip, I would still like to take a moment to recap and share my experience with each of you.
The North American Society of Pipe Collectors (NASPC) hosts their annual Pipe and Tobacco trade show exposition each year in Dublin, Ohio. Although I have been a member of the NASPC for several years, my schedule has never allowed me to attend one of their trade shows until this year. I have read and viewed many other fellow pipe smoker’s pipe show experiences, however, wanted to see what all the excitement was about for myself. In fact, I would like to revisit the original four questions/concerns I posed in my last post and also address some other things I learned during my excursion.
I can now state that one of the many joys of a pipe show is the viewing, selling, and trading of pipes, tobaccos, and pipe smoking related materials. As I had only minor intentions of selling any pipes from my own collection, and figured I would more than likely purchase at least one pipe at the show, I was unsure as to how many pipes I should take with me to the expo. In fact, the question I posed in my original post was “How many pipes should I take with me?” I ended up taking eight pipes to the show and believe it or not, did not purchase any pipes while at the show. No doubt, there were several that called my name. However, at the end of the day, I was more interested in the aged and rare tobaccos I was finding. Understanding that I only participated in the show on Saturday (I showed up too late on Friday night and had hotel room issues-this is an entirely different story), eight pipes proved to be too many for my show smoking experience. In fact, I probably could have done with just four pipes for the one day.
I will do a separate post in the future, here at thepipeprofessor.com, to discuss what I use to travel with my pipes, along with my everyday pipe and tobacco carry.
My next question had to do with tobacco. Obviously, I knew there would be tobacco for sale at the show, but was unsure as to “How much tobacco should I bring with me?” What truly prompted this question is my uncertainty as to how much time I would be viewing vendors and items vs how much time I would be smoking and conversing with other pipe enthusiast. I ended up packing 12 different tobaccos to smoke and share, one of which being a tin of Butera’s Dark Stoved from 1998. At this time, let me go on record by saying this was too many tobaccos for a single day. Admittingly, I smoked more of the tobacco I purchased at the show than those I brought with me. There is certainly a greater excitement of opening an aged, rare tin of tobacco purchased at the show than smoking tobacco I have access to at my home.
One of the rare, aged tins I am referring to is McClelland’s Anniversary from September 2001. I was able to acquire two 100g tins of this blend for $35 a piece. Even better than the steal of a price on this aged and out of production brand was the opportunity to share the tobacco with a long time YouTube/innerweb friend, Mr. Brian Doran. In case you are unaware, Brian Doran is an outstanding pipe maker from West Virginia who is well known in the You Tube Pipe Community (YTPC) for his tobacco and bourbon reviews (his YouTube handle is Beans316). I have passed messages with Brian for several years and was finally able to meet up with him at this year’s show. It goes without saying that Brian is truly a stand-up individual and I am happy to call him a friend. Together, we cracked open the 17-year-old McClelland blend and enjoyed it with another new-found friend, Jim (you can find out more about Jim by watching Brian’s YouTube video here.) Jim is another outstanding pipe smoker and I’m glad I was able to meet him.
Again, I did have a few pipes I was looking to part ways with but did not solely go to the pipe show with the intent of selling these pipes. In fact, the third question I asked in my previous post was “If I have pipes I want to sell or trade can I do so?” Without a doubt the answer to this question is yes. Although I could have spent part of my day haggling with pipe retailers at various tables, I much preferred to browse and socialize with others pipe enthusiast than make a few bucks. In fact, if you intend to sell some pipes at a show I would advise you to either a.) purchase a vendor table and sell outright to the attendees, or b.) line up a buyer or interested party before the event who you could sell to in person while attending the show.
My final question was one that I was the most uncertain of as I prepared for the trip “How do you determine a budget for the show?” Somewhere along the line someone shared the valuable knowledge with me to only taking the exact amount of cash (my budget) with me to the show. Well, this is the precise advice I followed and the exact advice I pass on to anyone preparing to attend a pipe show. Knowing from personal experience the real and true struggles of Pipe Acquisition Disorder (PAD) and Tobacco Acquisition Disorder (TAD), setting a budget through the use of a predetermined amount of cash is a very helpful PAD and TAD defense mechanism. If fact, as I stated earlier, I ended up not purchasing a pipe at the show due to my indecisive nature and exploratory thinking of “what if I spend all my cash and find something else I really love?” This mantra helped to keep my impulse buying under control, thus, allowing for my focus to remain of rare tobaccos and interesting pipe smoking paraphernalia. The picture below shows my entire haul from the show.
Keen observers will note the almost exclusive lot of McClelland tobacco as their product lines are no longer in production and finding the blends at reasonable prices is becoming more and more difficult. I also picked up a tin of the NASPC 2018 Dragon Weed. Each year the NASPC creates an exclusive yearly blend with a theme that spotlights the famous Lord of the Rings stories. This year’s blend was created and produced by G.L. Pease and according to the tin description has a ‘mysterious make-up’. We will have to wait a few years to find out if this was a good purchase or not as I do not plan to open and sample the tobacco immediately.
I also made it a point to search out and find a copy of the late Bill Unger’s Individual as a Trumbprint: The Custom-Bilt Pipe Story which is an in-depth overview detailing the history of the Custom-Bilt pipe brand. I have been in search of this book for some time and was able to easily locate it at this year’s show for only $20. Lastly, the Scandinavian Tobacco Group was handing out free metal pipe stands and Czech tools. I found this to be very kind and was able to pick up a couple of each.
There you have it. My first pipe show summed up in less than 1500 words. All in all, I had an excellent time and will certainly be making this show a yearly event. In fact, I am already beginning to weigh the options of traveling to a few more shows within driving range in the upcoming year. The people, pipes, tobacco, and camaraderie are well worth it and for those who have never attended a show I highly recommend you give it a shot. If you have been to a show in recent years, or have experiences similar (or different) to mine, feel free to leave a comment below. Your opinions and insights are always valued and welcomed here at thepipeprofessor.com.
Until next time, cheers!