Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Table pipe on a wood plinth representing Andromeda, a princess from Greek mythology, daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, the king and queen of Ethiopia. who was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster as a punishment for her mother's bragging. She was saved by Perseus.

Courtesy of a Private Collector



and Euripides 

wrote tragedies about Andromeda. TItian, 

Rembrandt (1650),



and Gustave Doré

were among the painters who immortalized the scene.

So famous is this pose that Ernest Wante modeled and cast her in bronze as the naked Andromeda waiting for Perseus to rescue her, circa 1900.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Custer's Last Stand


Custer three months before his death

This is definitely a pipe made in the USA for Americans. New York City's Viennese-born Carl Kutschera carved "Custer's Last Stand," 

a dramatic centerpiece measuring 17.75" l. x 7.25" h., sometime in the early 1900s. It was offered for sale in 1975-1976 in various antique journals for a firm-fixed price of $8,500!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Human Skull by August Fischer

Is there any doubt that this particular motif, however morbid, is the finest example of an anatomically accurate representation of the human skull, ideally suited for use in a medical lecture? Moreover, the hand's veins, fingernails and cuticles are precisely executed. The dimensions are 30" l., and 7" h. 

The long, intricately hand-turned and -filed, multi-part amber mouthpiece in stark contrast with the pristine white of the bowl results in a dramatic combination. The pipe was carved by August Fischer, Orchard Park, New York, for the Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, New York, 1901.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Here is a cased cheroot holder offered at auction on September 10, 2010 at the Rock Island Auction Company, Rock Island, Illinois. Rather than craft our own description, we include a verbatim description by the company cataloger:

"Measuring 6 1/4" long from bowl to stem, 5" tall and 1 4/5" wide, the main section of the holder is constructed with a meerschaum bowl mounted into the front of a single piece of natural meerschaum, which shows a curvature along the underside that matches in contour with the stem.

[Note from admin: this is a single meerschaum block where the carver has purposefullly removed the wax to prevent coloration of the sculpture when the pipe is smoked, preserving the natural white color of the meerschaum and offering a striking contrast with the base as it acquires the golden brown color] 


The main body is three dimensionally carved in a scene of Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, standing atop a rock outcropping covered in floral blooms, posed as though preparing to nock an arrow on a bow (note: bow and arrow are absent), with a quiver on her back and her dress partially undone to free her drawing arm. Arrayed around her are a woman in dress and sandals, holding the leads of a pair of lop eared hounds, 2 nymphs dressed in laurels, and a large stag. In Greek myth, all these things were presented to Artemis as gifts by her father Zeus, along with the bow and arrow and eternal celibacy.

Apollo and Artemis. Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup, circa  BC

The overall tone of the coloration is signature meerschaum, with the underside of the pipe showing a mixed orange color, the carved sections showing a bone white with yellow and orange accents overall, darker and deeper near the front until you reach the bowl, which is near black with streaks of red. The stem is carved orange amber, 5" long, which matches up with the main body excellently. With a leather covered, velvet and silk lined case from Franz Heiss & Son of Vienna, Austria, a late 19th Century carving firm and participant in the Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition of 1893." 

Aerial view of the Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893

According to the House, it sold for the tidy sum of $9,500 plus $1,852.50 (buyer's premium + taxes, fees, etc.).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

La Cinquantenaire, Pipe d'Etalage by Gambier 1849

The French clay pipes known as "pipes d'étalage" have a foyer between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25cm) high. They were never intended for use as a smoking device, they were awarded as in-store showpieces to the most worthy among the retailers.

In 1849, at the Exposition de la Seconde République (aka l'Exposition Nationale des produits de l'industrie agricole et manufacturière) in Paris, the famous clay pipe manufacturer Gambier presented this pipe d'étalage commonly known as La Cinquantenaire

It honors and celebrates the three members of the team of workers responsible for manufacturing clay pipes.

Height: 6.2 inches (16 cm)

the moulder ("mouleur"),

the trimmer ("tramasseuse"),

and the roller ("rouleur") (seated under the coat of arms).