A Closer Look At Peterson's Sherlock Holmes Pipes: An Infographic

Peterson Sherlock Holmes Pipes

In 1987, Peterson released a special commemorative pipe to celebrate the 100th anniversary of A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyles' first novel in the Sherlock Holmes universe, originally published in the November 1887 issue of Beeton's Christmas Annual. The pipe took the form of a tubular, almost trumpeting Calabash shape: an XL version of the 305(b) System first designed by Paddy Larrigan. That design, known today as the Original (XL11), became the first entry in a project that would span over two decades.

Before his retirement, Larrigan went on to create the prototypes for each of the seven shapes in the Original Sherlock Holmes Collection, released between 1989 and 1991, all of which were inspired by people, places, or important artifacts from Doyle's stories. Continuing with that theme, Peterson followed those first Sherlock Holmes designs with The Return of Sherlock Holmes line (1992-1997), ushering in an additional seven original shapes, as well as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series (2011), which added an additional four signature models.

Collectively these 18 pieces would comprise one of the Irish marque's most popular and sought after series, one still produced today in a variety of finishes, all banded with sterling silver and stamped with the series' logo, itself inspired by a silhouette of Basil Rathbone with a 4AB System clenched between his teeth. For more information on the Sherlock Holmes line, see the detailed infographic below, complete with a short description of each shape, as well as some important "pipe spotting" dates from the Sherlock Holmes film canon. Or for a deeper dive, consult Mark Irwin's and Gary Malmberg's fantastic book, The Peterson Pipe: The Story of Kapp & Peterson. The duo's knowledge of all things Peterson is far from "elementary."

Peterson Sherlock Holmes Pipes

Click to enlarge

Which Sherlock Holmes shape is your favorite? Anyone have Sherlock collections? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.


    • Kenneth Solomon on September 7, 2019
    • I have a Watson. It is 20 years old, I bought it new then, and it is still my best smoking pipe. Peterson hits another home run!

    • Benjamin on September 8, 2019
    • This is one of the coolest sort of "cross-branding" campaigns ever. Finding out Peterson had a Sherlock Holmes series made me appreciate Peterson more as a brand even though I still had yet to own a pipe or ever smoke one. It was just an acknowledgment that Holmes is one of the greatest characters ever conceived, and though this series seems like a no-brainer, kudos to Peterson for actually doing it properly.

      I now own some pipes, but I'm planning a driving tour of Ireland next spring starting with three nights in Dublin where I'll pick up my first Peterson.

    • Bruce Bibby on September 8, 2019
    • Why no Holmes church wardens?

    • George Wynne on September 8, 2019
    • I have owned and smoked many Peterson pipes. They are a cut above average, in my mind, but not equal to many of the better Italian and Danish pipes. Without doubt they are also more time consuming to properly clean so you get it to function as the maker designed it to smoke.

    • Fred Hart on September 8, 2019
    • I have a number of Peterson's along with a number of Italian and Danish pipes. My favorite smoker is a Peterson XL 305vintage 1945. I paid $45.00 on e-bay and it is in beautiful shape.

    • Jack Gillespie on September 15, 2019
    • Fantastic information! Peterson Pipes are some of my all-time favorites. I have some great System Pipes -- a Mark Twain and 05 De Luxe are a couple of my most favorites. I'll need to be on the look out for a 309.

    • Robert Fliss on September 16, 2019
    • It's taken years, but I have nearly all of the non-bulldog shapes in the sandblast finish. Not only are they cheaper, but they seem to be the rarest of the Sherlock Holmes series.

      I still need the "Gregson" from the last four releases titled Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. And it has to be with the P-Lip mouthpiece -- I am something of a Peterson purist and generally won't collect any Peterson pipe that doesn't have this featureAmong the bulldog shapes, I have a "Hansom" and a "Deerstalker." While I am not totally against sandblasted bulldogs, I think the bead lines come across much better with a smooth finish..

      So, c'mon smokingpipes,com, get some new sandblasts in. I'd like to complete my collection.

    • Yosemite on October 3, 2019
    • I'm still hoping the 4AB makes a return to the Peterson catalogue .... that would be the ultimate tribute to Basil Rathbone's portrayal of the sleuth.

    • Paul Iacono on October 28, 2019
    • Thanks for the graphic. Looking forward to Rathbone’s 4AB, too.

    • Mark Silveira Sr on November 2, 2019
    • I love my pipe I've been trying to find one exactly like it did he's the same model the 811 I want to know where I could go if you have one for sale and how much they cost I want to see all your pikes cuz I would love to purchase one

    • Cassie D on November 2, 2019
    • @Mark Silveira Sr I'm going to reach out to you via email to help with your pipe search!

    • Faridunhill on February 19, 2020
    • very strange to find Sherlock Holmes and XL305 stamped in same time, usually Sherlock Holmes without any grade number system, but I can guess it is before Sherlock Holmes series , anyway the same dimensions Sherlock Holmes original and XL305.

    • Jorge Macieira on July 14, 2022
    • I own the first collection, bought them as they were being issued, every 6 months each. Thank you for the article and the poster.

    • John Wiiliam Mize on August 8, 2022
    • My last Peterson purchased was an XM 302. Smokes perfectly, down to the bottom, each and every time.

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