378. “A Real Pippin”: Pipe and tobacco Magazine’s 2003 Peterson POY

PSA: 2nd Call for the Official CPG 100% Irish Donegal Tweed Cap
(see end of post)


Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit !
Happy New Year to you!

A handful of unsmoked Pipes and tobaccos magazine POYs of various makes (including some J. T. Cookes) surfaced recently on Smokingpipes.com, including three Naturals and a Terracotta by Peterson. While I don’t normally turn to F/Ts or straight apples, I couldn’t resist the combined history behind this one. I was a subscriber to Pipes and tobaccos for many years, and completing the 1996 — 2019 run of the magazine at Christmas about ten years ago was a highlight in my life as a pipeman. There’s never been a pipe smoker’s magazine like it, nor I suspect will there ever be one again. And as Peterson’s P&T commemorative just marked its 20th anniversary, I thought it might be fun to look at what went into its making and where it fits on the Peterson “apple tree” (see Post #230, revised).

The Peterson P&T apple was the 5th of the magazine’s annual POYs, an annual commemorative which included pipes by such luminaries as Eltang and Former, J. T. Cooke (twice), Brad Pohlmann, Castello and several others. K&P had launched their own POY (known as the “Limited Edition” for many years) just seven years before, in 1997. This would be the magazine’s only Peterson commemorative.

#22 of 250, Natural

The shape chosen was the 502, an elegant, elongated apple. It’s from K&P’s 500 shape group released in the early 1980s for the European market (see Post #49) and features the tapered spigot first introduced with the relaunch of K&P’s spigots c. 1978. This is one of two types of spigot Peterson makes, which I refer to as the “modern,” and was joined in production by the beaded “vintage” style (reminiscent of the double-beaded Patent era spigot) that graces the Spigot System line.  Of the two, the vintage is used to adorn P-Lips and accompanied by a domed ferrule, while the modern utilizes the “F” or Facing / Flat Mount on Classic Range pipes. We see more of the vintage these days because of the System Spigot, although the modern also makes regular appearances.

The nearest current production shape to the 502 is the 87. As you can see with a top and bottom comparison here, they’re similar, the 502 having a “chopped” rim and slightly less cheeking toward the crown:

While the photos aren’t spot-on exact in set up and angles, a look at the measurement below shows they’re pretty close:

87 DeLuxe Natural (2023 HM)

  • Length: 5.78 in./146.81 mm.
  • Weight: 1.60 oz./45.36 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.74 in./44.20 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.44 in./36.58 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.49 in./37.85 mm.
    Stem Material: Vulcanite

502 Natural (32/250; 2003)

  • Length: 6.04 in./153.42 mm.
  • Weight: 1.84 oz./52.16 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.83 in./46.48 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.38 in./35.05 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.61 in./40.89 mm.

The similarity of the two shapes doubtless accounts for why the 502 left the catalog. While a bit of difference in the cheeking seems apparent in the photo above, that may be more to do with original shaping on a bowl-turning machine and subsequent sanding.

#90 of 250, Terracotta

In Post #49 on the 500 shape group cited above, I suggested the group (which is only five shapes, 501-505) appeared in the 1980s, given the evidence of the boxes and lines, although of course it may have appeared earlier, and as Kenneth Lieblich just brought to my attention, there were pipes in the 500 group earlier–notably the 595 bent bulldog, which fits nicely in the group but dates back at least as far as the 1947 Distributor’s Catalog.

As the P&T 502 appeared in 2003, we can say that it continued on into the first decade of the 21st century. This receives further confirmation from that most useful of Peterson reference sites, Worthpoint, one I hope you’re familiar with as it’s a goldmine of Peterson information. Clicking on the link will show the 502 appeared in wide array of Dublin-era (1991-2018) lines, including the SPD, Killarney, Donegal, Kapet, Jade, Irish Sea, Celtic, Dublin & London, Emerald, Galway, Aran, Waterford, Shamrock, Kinsale, Sterling Silver, Shannon, Flame Grain. You’ll also see a rare Brandon, a line described in the Peterson book as—

The Brandon 87 (Worthpoint photo)

Brandon  (1980 –)  Inexpensive rusticated line described only in the 1980 Peterson Range and Price List from July 1980.

—which brings us back to where we began as far as dating the 500 group is concerned.

P&T released their annual pipes in the same elegant, understated way they did their magazine: without a great deal of aplomb (they weren’t even listed in the table of contents–one simply had to search for the ad and be ready to put in a phone call to order, of all things!). Yet they were meticulous in their care about the quality of what they were doing. For that, we must thank two of the most important pipemen in the pantheon: Dayton Matlick, the owner and publisher of P&T, and Chuck Stanion, who is without doubt the greatest professional writer the world of pipes and tobaccos has ever known. The loss of the magazine to the pipe world was serious one, and despite the flurry of forums and instant gratification social media provides, our world lost a light that will not be replaced until the world slows down enough to realize the value of hard print.

While K&P was releasing their own Limited Edition POY in a serial edition of 1000 pipes at this point, P&T commissioned only 250 serialized pipes for their Peterson POY. That being the case, it’s amazing to me just how much effort Tom Palmer and his craftsmen put into the project, treating it not as as “okay, we’ll see if we can find a few bowls for your project from our overstock,” but as something every bit as important as their own POY. As is always the case in a Dublin-era Peterson special release, a full spectrum of finishes was offered:

The colors from this scan don’t do the pipes justice, but we can see that even with a high-grade project like this, K&P graded their bowls to accommodate five different price points, revealing in the process some variance with the company’s practice today: the blast (at $160) was more than dark brown ($125)!  The walnut ($210) and terracotta ($245) were grouped fairly close, doubtless graded by fills, while the natural was way above them (at $340). While it’s idle to speculate on the ups and downs of pipe prices over the decades it’s still low-grade fun. How wild is it that the P&T Natural of twenty years ago was actually $100 more than a current 87 Natural at SPC?!

While Laudisi-era K&P has chosen an understated elegance in their silverwork that is quite appealing, there’s no denying the sophistication of what the Dublin era silversmiths achieved, which remains unequaled in the history of the company.  Deep twin beads were applied to the “F” (for facing or flat) mount, which is rarely seen on a Peterson straight pipe.

Typical of the spirit of the Dublin era, a special stamp was created for the magazine’s logo and applied to the top of the band, while the “Peterson’s [over] DUBLIN” stamp was impressed on the obverse side.

The hallmark stamp, at least on #32/250, displays an anomaly in that it has the Seated Hibernia and the sterling purity mark, but no year stamp. This sort of thing happens often enough that it’s worth noting to say that things like this do happen from time to time.

Finally, it’s always good to take note of whatever shank stamps are in evidence. In this case, the fork-tail “Peterson’s” over “Dublin” is on the obverse–and how many times did I hear back in the 2000s that this stamp was only used on Patent era Petes?  The shape number and MITROI appear on the reverse, the MITROI notable because it wouldn’t be long before it would be removed. I speculate this had more to do with the cost of labor involved in this small, separate operation than for any political or commercial reason. I say this because Tom Palmer would pursue similar operations later on, first gathering the shank stamps onto one side of the briar and then doing away with them altogether in favor of laser engraved information.

The Peterson P&T pipe was also used, rather improbably, for the cover of the Winter  issue of P&T a decade later in 2013.  This issue contains Rick Newcombe’s “It All Began With Peterson,” a short memoir he wrote at my request for the introduction to the big Pete book. The piece caused a regular firestorm between Rick and Chuck Stanion (editor of P&T) on one side and the Peterson book’s editor Gary Schrier on the other. I thought the article would be great publicity for the book (which as it turned out was still six years away from publication!), but Schrier was incensed because no one asked for his permission, which I (sort of) understand. Rick’s article also featured Pete photos by Yours Truly and was my first “break” into the world of real pipe publishing–which makes the 2003 P&T Pete commemorative all the more endearing as a souvenir.


Jason Canady, CPG, sends a comment from his time working for Pipes and tobaccos that richly adds to the story:  “I worked at p&t magazine for about a month before they let me go. I was a graphic designer slash their production manager. I helped produce one issue (don’t remember the month, it was in 2012) but Adam Davidson was featured on the cover. My name is listed inside with the credits. It was an interesting place to work but also strange. I had to drive an hour to work to Raleigh. I guess I really didn’t fit in or click. There were way too many strong egos and personalities and chief’s trying to row the boat. (Their words not mine) That mention of the editor being upset brought back a bunch of memories and what it was like there. I have a ton of memories and learned how to run a magazine which served me later. Stanton could smoke in his office and they could reverse the intake unit in your room if you wished, so it would suck the smoke out of the building. There was a clipboard loaded with pipes on the wall in the break room. I have memories of Stanton in his office puffing away and hammering out stories at his desk. As I passed chuck in the hallway at 8am I’d say, “I see you put on your pipe cologne this morning.” The smell of pipe tobacco was strong with him. He said he’d have a pipe at home before work. I really liked him and he was one of the few people who was nice to me. Regarding the p&t Peterson I had either the natural (I think) or walnut. I traded it even a few years ago for an 03 natural with silver lid that I cherish. You’ve seen my only 502 I have left in my st Patrick’s day collection. The grain is off the chart. Nice shape if you can get it. They are very rare in the states as you’ll only find that shape outside the country. It’s another thing that made that run special. I have many interesting stories about the magazine I’d share with you sometime in person. Dayton the publisher use to keep a shotgun in his office for emergencies. lol. Last thing I’ll say. Right after they fired me I saw a Macanudo ad advertising a cigar photo contest for an all expense paid trip to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta in one of our issues. I entered it and won! It was valued at over 10,000 and they even gave me 2,000 spending cash for the week. They put me up in a sick mansion, gave me a personal driver, all the cigars I could smoke, and access to the masters all week for me and two friends. This was by the General Cigar Company who runs The Scandinavian group, probably the biggest tobacco producer in the US. Good times.”



Thanks to K&P and to Laudisi for stock photos!
Images from P&T courtesy SpecComm

2nd Call:
The Pete Geek

With Christmas Day behind us and the weary days of winter to come, many Pete Geeks are going to find their heads longing for the warmth and comfort of a 100% Irish Donegal herringbone cap with its quilted lining to be just the ticket to stave off head colds, cover heads that might could use a little more hair than they’ve got now (!) and just wanting to look like a well-dressed CPG as they sit by the fireside smoking their favorite Pete and sipping their favorite brew from their Deneen Pottery Pete Geek mug.  Join us! We still need orders to make this event happen.

The hats are made for Kerry Woolen Mill’s partner, Hat Man of Ireland. (Kerry Woolen Mill, remember, did the pipe socks for this year’s SPD and POYs). Hat Man’s description reads, “This Dubliner is a contemporary version of the traditional Irish Flat Cap. With its curved peak, quilted lining for extra comfort, double stitching at the seams and a strap at the back for added style this expertly tailored cap can be worn with pride anywhere around the world. Made from 100% Donegal Tweed.”*

Cap sizes are as follows:
Small -56cm
Medium – 58cm
Large – 60cm
XL – 62m
XXL – 63cm

Ordering Information:

  • We need a minimum order of 50 caps to make our order
  • The “Pete Geek” logo (seen in its digital approximation above) will be embroidered along the right side of the cap
  • This is “the Dubliner” Contemporary Irish Flat Cap made from 100% Donegal Tweed
  • Individuals are responsible to correctly measure and order the right size (a video is found on the previous post for directions on determining your correct size)
  • Price is $65, including shipping in the US
  • Price is $75, including shipping internationally FedEx International Connect where available, otherwise US First Class Intl (this does NOT include any customs/import fees) 
  • Deadline: Tuesday, 2nd January, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. CST (GMT-6)
  • You will invoiced through PayPal when the caps are ready to ship
  • Estimated to ship middle February 2024
  • Questions? Send email to petegeek1896@gmail.com
  • Order by filling out this GOOGLE FORM


Rath De’ Ort!

*Kerry Woolen Mills doesn’t weave a black herringbone, but Hat Man assures me these are genuine, 100% Irish Donegal Tweed sourced from reputable black sheep (!) across the Emerald Isle.


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