Last week SPC unleashed two dozen pipes in the Sherlock Holmes and House Pipe ranges with a new bowl stamp: PSB. Both the outstanding blasts and the stamp are worthy of celebration by all true PFs (Pete Freeks).
Bowl stamps are important indicators in determining a Peterson pipe’s date and, if the world survives a few more years, there will come a day when someone will pick up an estate Pete and say, “I wonder when this Awesome Blast was made?” The PSB stamp will tell him it couldn’t have been made any earlier than 2020. As you can see, the stamp is being placed to the right of the Peterson’s over Dublin stamp.
Josh Burgess sent the following, which gives us a lot of information about the new grade, where it came from, and what pipes we might expect to see it on:
After consulting with several reputable pipe makers and industry figures, we recently revamped our sandblasting process here at Peterson to follow a more artisan-like approach, enabling us to better reveal the natural patterns of each individual block of briar while maintaining a continuous flow of production.
After refining such variables as media, pressure, blasting duration, and nozzle size, we were so astonished by the results that we also began exploring a way of designating exceptional sandblasts beyond our current grading paradigm. We wanted a designation we could actually stamp on the pipes themselves to mark their status. With this in mind, we developed the new Peterson Special Blast, or PSB grade.
Each sandblasted Peterson pipe is sorted in two stages. The initial grading designates a bowl for sandblasting. Once it’s been sandblasted, it’s sorted again and placed with its appropriate grade. Bowls designated PSB receive their grade in this second phase. Since its inception in March, fewer than 1% of our regular production pipes have earned the designation. They are truly special pieces.
While Supreme is still the highest designation for our sandblasted pipes, our PSB stamp denotes sandblasted bowls of exceptional quality and character. They tend to be craggy and deep, evocative of old-school English or modern artisan sandblasts, and are most often paired to sterling silver bands or mounts, hand-applied by our talented smiths.
Given their rarity and specialness, PSB-graded sandblasts are currently exclusive to a few existing lines. While we may expand other lines to accommodate the designation, collectors and retailers will already find these exceptional sandblasts in our House Pipe, Sherlock Holmes, and Pipe of the Year series, each pipe made even more impressive by our new premium sandblasting.
The PSB stamp is yet another signal to pipe collectors in general and PFs in particular that Peterson is taking stamps more seriously as part of the reason hobbyists love their pipes. Having it appear on the best blasts in Peterson’s long, long history is like getting two tins of Awesome for the price of one. (Now if they could only find the 80 and even 80B stamp and quit putting 80S on every 80 made.)
The PSBs were gone before I could dig enough money out of the sofa to spring for the Original at the top of this post, so I can’t give you my usual in-person impressions on engineering or amateur photos, but it looks like the SH and House Pipes are all done with vulcanite mouthpieces, which is an obvious plus. And in case you rushed over it in Josh’s final paragraph, blast fans, a few of the 9BC POYs will be issued in a black PSB. This is flat-out amazing news for PF blast-lovers.
I don’t know if there is a Supreme sandblast stamp, or what that would be, but maybe we’ll find out some of these days. Josh Burgess told me that for a pipe to receive the Supreme sandblast grading, “it must be a perfectly clean bowl, since it’s a natural finish.” I have seen one or two Supreme blasts on the internet, like this XL90 gold mount:
I’ve included both sides, because the obverse shows the kind of feathery, almost furry-looking delicacy that can be achieved in the most outstanding artisan blasts.
Photos courtesy Laudisi.
Many thanks yet again to Andy Wike and to Josh Burgess!
BTW, the 9BC / 2020 POY will be out almost any time now here in the US.
If you’re interested, keep a close watch on your inbox.