The S. Bang pipe has long held a special place in the hearts of collectors, representing what many hold to be the pinnacle of pipemaking. The “ungraded S. Bang” stands as the grail of the venerable line. To digress for a second, while European market S. Bangs are number/letter graded (5-9 and A-C [with an occasional, very rare ‘D’]), what is usually left to dangle in the informational wind is that very pinnacle of the Euro Bang is stamped with a simple series of numbers and (sometimes) the initials indicating which member of Bang's dynamic duo carved the briar. Such is the case with this amazing, unsmoked, Per Hansen crafted bent Tomato.
Within this shape, I see what I personally consider to be the embodiment of all that is “good and right” in the post-1984 S. Bang shaping aesthetic. I refer to a form which induces a pleasant resonance at first glance, and that sonority steadily increases as you approach, culminating into a crash of wonder, desire and a not-uncertain hope of “One fine day… ”, once cradled in your hand. While delightfully chubby, there is no sense of vertical compression at play in the bowl, rather there is an emphasis created by a subtle ridge which draws the eye forward. That same supple prominence travels the underside of the bowl and shank, becoming both vanguard and herald for the poignantly beautiful, curving line that is the very foundation to this masterpiece. On the matter of grain quality, I will let the work of our pictographic team provide the commentary.
R. 'Bear' Graves