You may be asking you asking yourself, why is an old, semi-discolored pipe, crafted conservatively in the Italian school, going for $1100? Because it's made by America's first great pipe maker, Michael Butera, that's why. Needless to say a Butera is very hard to find these days because of minimal current production and high collector appeal, which is also a factor, but you also have to understand his worth in context.
After a pilgrimage across Europe - learning the technical perfection and aesthetics of the famous Italian and Danish pipe makers, visiting among others, some of the most prestigious carvers of that time, Baldo Baldi and Carlo Scotti, Butera returned to the United States to a market almost completely devoid of American high-end pipemakers. Right away he won competitions, and amazed his colleagues and connoisseurs alike by the quality of his work, presenting pipes that were beautiful and presented in an execution and finish that were beyond reproach. More than just an admired carver, Mike Butera became a living legend. With the meticulous soul of the perfectionist, he attained this level of respect through a simple philosophy: “I will not market anything that doesn't represent the best, to my own taste, in its category.”