9. A Visual History of Peterson’s Pipe of the Year: 1997 – 2019 (Revised)

(Revised October 17, 2019)

Insert from the rare 2005 3rd Edition “Black” catalog of the 2005 POY

After Charles Peterson’s System pipe, Tom Palmer’s Dublin-era Pipe of the Year is arguably the company’s most noteworthy accomplishment in the worldwide pipe-smoking community. It’s an idea that other companies and artisans have since imitated and one that’s given us some of Peterson’s most remarkable pipes in the B and D shape charts.

The series is now in its 22nd year, and as Pete Freeks and other pipe companioners and collectors often have questions about them, I thought one place to begin would be a visual dictionary of all twenty-three pipes. That’s right, there are actually twenty-three different shapes, because in 2000 a set of two different shapes was released. Here we go.

When the series began, it had two names, one stamped on the bowl–LIMITED EDITION–and another by which it was commonly called–PIPE OF THE YEAR. Most in the hobby now use POY (sometimes POTY) as the preferred acryonym.


1997 Limited Edition

 


1998 Limited Edition

Only the smooth pipes are called “Limited Edition” and numbered. The sandblasted edition (aside from the Founder’s Edition 2015 POTY) is called the “Pipe of the Year” and stamped accordingly. That is, until 2016, when “Limited Edition” stamping was dropped and the series began being stamped PIPE OF THE YEAR. There are a few other “ifs, and, and buts,” but this will get you started.

1999 Limited Edition


2000 Limited Edition: 1 of 2

2000 Limited Edition: 2 of 2

The first four years of production lacked a year stamp (aside from the sterling hallmark) and were just stamped “LIMITED EDITION” and so on. That changed in 2001, when Peterson began stamping “Y” plus the year above the “LIMITED EDITION.”

Y2001 Stamp

 


2001 Limited Edition: The First with the “Y” Prefix


2002 Limited Edition


2003 Limited Edition


2004 Limited Edition


2005 Limited Edition


2006 Limited Edition


2007 Limited Edition


2008 Limited Edition

For those curious to know, the 2004 and 2008 bowls are, per Tony Whelan, Jr., former factory manager, exactly the same.


2009 Limited Edition

 


2010 Limited Edition


2011 Limited Edition

 


2012 Limited Edition


2013 Limited Edition


2014 Limited Edition

The 2014 was the first to feature only the availability of an acrylic mouthpiece. More’s the pity. At the time it was released, the company was convinced that there was a preference among smokers for the less-intensive upkeep of acrylic. As of this writing in 2019, the tide seems to have turned as more and more smokers and artisans are in agreement that high-quality German SEM ebonite (vulcanite) rod is the way to go for comfort as well as durability. This shape would become the last of the B shape group, the B65, in its subsequent appearances.

2015 Founder’s Edition

The FE was issued in an edition of 1865 pieces, to commemorate the year the company was founded, with smooth, sandblast and rustic pieces all being given a serial number. The mouthpiece for the FE is ebonite, incidentally. It became shape D18 after debuting as the FE / POY for 2016. A few of the highest-grade bowls were later issued in Lubinski’s Kapp-Royal line and, even more desirable, as a very few System pipes with old-style tapered space-fitting mouthpieces.

2016 Pipe of the Year

The issue was also reduced to 500 pieces from the standard 1,000. This is one of the most innovative POYs ever released at Peterson utilizing classic Peterson design language elements (straight-sided bowl, massive shank) in a design that is truly fresh and innovative. It became shape D20 in its subsequent releases.

2017 Pipe of the Year

For the first time in the annual release, in 2017 the LIMITED EDITION hand stamp was replaced with a laser-engraved conglomerate stamp that reads “Peterson [in script] (over) OF DUBLIN [small caps] (over) Pipe of the Year (over) 2017 (over) [number of pipe] of 500.” The bowl on this is close, but not an exact replica of the 1906 “Jap.” I know this because I’ve held Chuck Wright’s Jap set that he bequeathed to Peterson and Peterson brought to the 2019 Chicagoland Pipe Show.  The bowl walls are thicker than the original and the bowl itself is slightly oval-shaped when seen from the top, not the ball shape of the original. It became shape D21 after its debut as the 2017 POY.

2018 “Gaslight” Pipe of the Year

I love this Peterson “gaslight” shape, one of the most original in the entire history of the series. You can read about it and its evolution in the blog on the 2018 POY. It became shape D22 in the catalog, but as of May 2019, I hadn’t seen it in any subsequent lines.

2019 Chubby Rhodesian [“john bull”] Pipe of the Year

For the first POY of the new Laudisi Era, the company chose the classic 1937 chubby rhodesian as its inspiration. Per Jonathan Fields, factory manager, the bowl is not the original 999 or any of its subsequent iterations. It is shape XL661.  Having said that, the external dimensions of the XL661 are very, very close to the original 999 John Bull. It is also cause for celebration that, for the first time in the POY’s history, the 2019 was released with a vulcanite P-Lip. Check the blog for a full-length analysis of the shape. Bowls stamped 1-10 were released in Natural, another first in the commemorative’s history.

I’ve had several of LEs in my rotation over the years and from time to time think it might be fun to collect all of them, but then I get practical and remember pipes that I didn’t hit it off with and pipes that lay gathering resentment and tarnish in the rack. The curse of not being a collector, I suppose. If you or anyone you know has a complete collection, please drop me a line—I’d love to blog about your collection.

 

Photos courtesy
Smokingpipes.com, Alpascia.it, Bollitopipe.it, Charles Mundugus, The Briary, James Fox and
the Black Swann Shoppe

Thanks to everyone who has helped keep this post current and accurate.
Craig Hairrell, that includes you!

 

 

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upshallfanAndrew StevensJim FrenkenMark IrwinJeff Recent comment authors
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Jeff
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Jeff

What is the POTY 1997 worth

Mark Irwin
Admin

Hi Jeff, While Peterson estate prices are rising, they’re still the greatest bargain around. I’ve seen early Limited Editions with asking prices of $1,000 and $750, unsmoked and with the original box and ephemera, but I haven’t seen anyone paying those prices . . . yet! The market worth will depend, of course, on the condition of the pipe in question. In the last year or so, I’ve picked up some Limited Editions as new/old stock for less than $200. The publication of the book next year will (unfortunately for me!) raise prices a little more–maybe a lot more. You… Read more »

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[…] Edition / Pipe of the Year appearances of the B12 through B15, B20 and B21/B49, you can click here: https://petersonpipenotes.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/a-visual-history-of-petersons-limited-edition-pip… […]

Jim Frenken
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Jim Frenken

I have been collecting as many of the POTY shapes I have been able to get my hands on. In my search for them I end up with one particular question though: why do so many pipes pop up saying they are the 1999 POTY, especially a smooth red bulldog spigot shape. Where doea this shape come from? I have no doubt in my mind it is a peterson. Was it released as an alternative POTY for a particular market? I wold love to hear your thoughts on this!

Mark Irwin
Admin

Hi Jim! At last–someone who is collecting the POTYs! How wonderful. The illustration for the 1999 POTY in my article is the one Peterson released, as seen in their SMOKERS GUILD magazine of the period. Is there some other pipe you are referring to? The one in the photo — the official one for 1999 — has a gold-plate over sterling mount, as seen in the photo. It was not a reproduction of an earlier Peterson shape, but an original XL produced for the release. I’ll email you directly if you can add any more information to your question.

Jim Frenken
Guest
Jim Frenken

This is the pipe I am refering to:comment image
(photo courtesy of mw-estate-pipes)
(Unfortunately dont know how yo place a photo in my reply.)

I have seen them come by on Ebay quite regularly and they are always refered to as Peterson POTY 1999. Luckily I have your blog to use as a referance for my collecting endeavours to check what pipes to keep a look out for. This one just seems an odd one since it keeps popping up referred to as a pipe of the year although it does not show up in your list (which I completely trust as being correct!).

Mark Irwin
Admin

Hey Jim,

Thanks for calling my attention to this! The photo in my blog for 1999 is actually the same pipe, with different stem, than that shown for 1997. I THOUGHT that was strange when I first wrote the blog. I have corrected it, and attach the Smoker’s Guild No. 3, Summer 1999 cover photo for you.

Mary Coulahan, who is offering the pipe, is a reputable dealer. I’ve bought pipes from her before. The photos plainly show the Peterson POTY markings.

I also revised that blog and credited you for your help.

Best,

Mark

Andrew Stevens
Guest
Andrew Stevens

Hi Mark

Any idea why there has never been a POTY offered with a P-Lip?
It seems strange that a feature that is uniquely Peterson has never been seen on their annual special edition

Mark Irwin
Admin

Aye! There’s the rub. I just asked director Conor Palmer that very question today. Peterson’s last real commitment to the P-Lip was in the Sherlock Holmes series, and it’s a great shame, as the P-Lip will outsmoke and outperform a fishtail every time. Unfortunately, mine is the minority opinion, and the folks at Peterson need persuading. Do drop Conor a line at Conor@peterson.ie. They need convincing from the fan base, as they take their intel from their distributors, who (in my opinion) don’t know what we want. He will listen to you. Case in point: the Christmas pipe a few… Read more »

Andrew Stevens
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Andrew Stevens

I have noticed that a lot of the new lines from Peterson seem to have been focusing on Army Mounts and shying away from P-Lips. I always thought it was a costing issue as I imagine an army mount would require less finishing that a flush mount. With the P-Lip, considering theyre the only ones who really use it I would guess it a feature non Peterson fans would shy away from due to the fact its rarely seen elsewhere

upshallfan
Guest
upshallfan

Mark, has the 2003 pipe ever been released before/after that year? (as a shape #).

Mark Irwin
Admin

Yes sir, it was the B20. Only ever seen the unfinished Shamrock, I believe, in that pipe. If you’ve made another sighting, let me know! It must have sold extremely well, or perhaps (as it sometimes the case) never have made the full 1000 in the lot.

Jim Frenken
Guest
Jim Frenken

Hello Mark, if you would still like to blog about a (near) complete collection of POTY’s feel free to contact me. I own all of them except the 2010 POTY and the newest 2018 addition to the line.

Greetings Jim.

Thanks for this great blog. It is always a pleasure to read and I am really looking forward to the upcoming book!

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[…] Peterson book, but I invite you to take a few minutes now to take a look back at Tom’s innovative Pipe of the Year series, the Dublin Era’s unique B shapes, the 4 Antique Collection reproduction sets, and the13 […]

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