Unlike most other works of art, tobacco pipes are functional objects. They're handled, set aflame, held in the teeth, scraped out, cleaned, and re-cleaned inside and out (sometimes for decades). Even pipes that haven't been previously smoked often show very minor blemishes, like faint scratches on the bowl or stem — often a direct result of a given pipe maker or factory's workmanship and finishing process.

In order to pass along these details to you, we include a condition statement for each estate pipe we offer on the site. Though somewhat subjective, we do our best to briefly describe any physical and/or cosmetic changes a previously owned pipe may have undergone since it originally left the factory or workshop. Based on that condition, we then assign the individual pieces a score with a maximum rating of 5/5 — denoting a pipe which is, essentially, in mint condition.

Below you can find some examples of the qualifiers we use to rate the condition of our estate offerings. Any of these may be combined, altered, or augmented based on the details of the given pipe. In general, minor cosmetic or physical issues like faint tooth marks or slight rim darkening are rated higher, while more severe issues such as broken tenons and chipped mouthpieces will receive a lower score, as they are beyond repairable to original condition.

Depending on severity, we use our best judgment to subtract points and fractions of points. There are countless factors and combinations that could apply. This list contains some examples, but don't consider it an exhaustive set of rules. As with any pipe listed on our website, if you ever have any questions about an estate pipe's condition, feel free to call or email us, and we'll provide you with details that might not be noted or observed in the photographs.

Got any estate pipes you want to get rid of? Take a look at our estate pipe trade policy to learn how you can send in your old pipes for cash or store credit.