You are currently viewing 350. Michael Mikropoulos: Naming Ireland, One Pipe at A Time (+ The CPG Pocket Jar Event!)

350. Michael Mikropoulos: Naming Ireland, One Pipe at A Time (+ The CPG Pocket Jar Event!)

Public Service AnnouncementSUMMER 2023 CPG EVENT
Pete Geek Leaf Pocket Jar (see end of blog for details)

 


Kavala, Greece

You never know where Peterson will take you. This morning I feel privileged to introduce you to Michael Mikropoulos, CPG, from Kavala in northern Greece. His collection is one of the most interesting I’ve come across, in part because he has taken the geography of Ireland to his heart and built an amazing collection of Petes and in part because of his sheer devotion and dedication in the obstacles he’s had to overcome as a pipe smoker in Greece.

Line names, as we discuss in the Peterson book, are a fascinating and important part of the K&P story. The model name of a Peterson pipe (its line name) is stamped on the shank or bottom of the bowl. It’s a narrative indicator of bowl quality, stain finish, bowl finish, mounting, mouthpiece and mouthpiece logo. Peterson began naming their lines in the mid-1920s beginning with the Kapet, and with familiarity the Pete Geek can use line names to aid in identifying when a Classic Range or System pipe was made.

Most line names in the catalog are drawn from Irish towns, streets and geography or have a connection with Irish history. It’s all there, in plain sight, although not many pipemen know it. Not infrequently, a line name will be discontinued then resumed with an entirely different quality and finish, sometimes several times.


NAMING IRELAND, ONE PIPE AT A TIME
By Michael Mikropoulos, CPG

Three years ago, when I started this wonderful adventure in Peterson’s world, I would not have thought that one day my “smoking story” would be on Peterson Pipe Notes. I am really grateful for that and thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. Starting with the basic information, I live in the seaside town of Kavala, in northern Greece. I am a primary school teacher and I think my job is a blessing to me, because first of all I love my students. I have also studied forestry and specialized in environmental education.

My relationship with smoking until not too long ago was really non-existent. My family was fanatic anti-smoking and I never smoked, except for a few months when I was at university, when I experimented with cigarettes. However, since I was a child I liked the image of people smoking pipes in books or movies and sometimes I was lucky enough to observe some family friends smoking old pipes.

Michael’s Peterson Pipe Map of Ireland

I remember loving their style and getting so excited when I smelled the aromatic smoke that their pipe left in the room. The years passed and I always had in my mind that one day I would start smoking a pipe too. Finally this came true 3 years ago, on June 30th, 2020, on my birthday. Then I was working in a small school in the island of Thassos and because I didn’t have many friends there, I spent a lot of time at home reading or watching movies. So I decided to give myself a birthday present and thought that a pipe would be the perfect companion. The order was made online from a tobacco shop in the nearby town of Drama and in a few days I had my first pipe in my hands, a Peterson Aran 03. My first tobacco was Mac Baren Scottish Mixture, followed by some others of the small variety available in my country. When I started I smoked every second day. Now I try to only smoke one bowl a day, but I often smoke more.

At this point I want to say that it is rather difficult to be a pipe smoker in Greece and especially a collector specializing in a foreign brand like Peterson. There are excellent Greek pipes made by real artisans available here (I’m a little jealous of some of them, but I can’t afford to open a new door), but pipes from foreign companies are few and usually there are only the most common and popular models. In addition, the shipping costs from abroad are often high and prohibitive, while import duties outside the EU often double the total price.

The 500 Shape Group (and a 700)! Bring them back!

Also, tobacco products are restricted to only a few specific brands, while any importation is illegal. In order to buy tobacco from abroad, we have to invent various “alchemies”, such as asking relatives and friends who are traveling to carry them in their luggage, etc… From all this you understand that trying to make a decent collection here is quite difficult.

Despite the difficulties, I decided to try first to learn how to smoke a pipe properly and secondly to build a collection. Why did I choose Peterson? There is a clear explanation. As a child, because of my support of the Celtic Football Club, I grew to love Ireland and Scotland. My love for both countries has evolved and grown over the years, even though I have not yet visited either of them (I’m not one who decides to travel easily, but I definitely will someday). Consider that my new house, which I will be moving into in about two months, will be decorated exclusively with Irish and Scottish items. It will also have a great corner for my Petes! I’m looking forward to it!

So my choice to get a Peterson made perfect sense to me. Of course, later my motivation for buying new Petes was not only Ireland, but also the amazing quality, the excellent smoking, the history of the company, their collectible value and so much more… I soon realized I needed at least one more pipe for my rotation, so an Aran 01 arrived. A Dublin Filter 120 followed, a Racing Green 68, a Donegal Rocky 408 and finally within three years my Petes became almost 200.

Then I joined the Peterson Pipes and PSOI Facebook groups and started reading PPN as well. So I realized that I really had a lot to learn. Three years later I really understand that the more I read, the more knowledge is out there waiting for me. New friends’ Facebook posts, their kind response to my questions and my study on the subject increased my interest in the older Petersons and I made eBay a part of my daily hunt for valuable estate treasures. Now I’m following various auction platforms and I think I’ve brought some really interesting older Petersons to Greece.

My collection at first consisted of only Classic Range and premium Classic Range Petes. The truth is that I love the classics, and they’re my main preference even now. A mistake by an eBay seller opened the door for Systems. I had ordered a Donegal Rocky B46 from US, but when I opened the box I found a System Standard 303. I decided not to send it back and smoked it to forget my disappointment. It was a great smoker and revealed to me that it was time to get some more Systems.

The rare 04 Specialty Kaffir in smooth, from c. 1979

At the same time, I got some POTYs. Something rather strange is that my collection has no Sherlocks at all, apart from a Milverton from the Christmas series. I think that someday I will have collected all the Classics and Systems I have on my wish list and then I will dedicate myself to Sherlocks. However, this day never comes and new classics are added to my list, sending Sherlocks even further into the future.

Spigots don’t concern me at the moment, other than some POTYs that have more collectible value. I think I don’t like their aesthetics and that’s just my personal taste, but I used to say the same about the Systems that now I love. So I prefer not to prejudge that I will never get some Spigots.

(Mark: Note the 4th-issue, Italian-market Galway in the upper left corner. Almost never seen, from c. 2006-10. And while you’re looking, the Dunmore 05 has a brass-and-briar sandwich band. I don’t know that I’ve EVER seen one of these.)

If I have to choose my favorite shapes, it would be the X220 from the bent ones and 606 from the straight ones. I think the X220 is perfect for me because it’s not large, but not small either. I also love the Dutch shapes, so among Systems I definitely prefer the 309 and 313 and I’m very proud of my natural Deluxe 4s. It’s very hard to choose only one favorite Pete, but I think a Kerry X220 has a good chance of being it.

The Kapruf, K&P’s first sandblast line, was introduced in 1940

My next goals for my collection:

1) To have at least one Pete from all series with names from Ireland (counties, cities, villages, castles, rivers, streets etc.). Then, in my new house, I will make a large wooden map of Ireland on the wall and put them in the right spot. I think I’m only missing Valentia, Newbridge, Newgrange and some castles and rivers.

2) To get Sherlock Holmes collections.

3) To complete the Christmas series (only two left).

4) To collect more B, 400 & 500 shapes and also some Danish shapes.

5) To find a Premier Connemara rusticated and also a Donegal Rocky B46 (the first one never arrived).

6) After diving deep, to find a real Patent System.

I really enjoy being a member of this community. I greatly appreciate the sense of acceptance and solidarity among the participants, the kindness and willingness to help the newcomers like me in this great hobby.

 

 

SUMMER 2023 CERTIFIED PETE GEEK EVENT:
The “Pete Geek Leaf” Pocket Jar

You can get your CPG certificate or a Merit Badge added to your existing certificate by participating in the Summer CPG Event. Just email me a photo of your Pocket Jar(s) with a favorite Pete and/or yourself after you receive it (them).

Every time I leave home I struggle figuring out how to carry my tobacco. I’ve done this since I took up the art of smoking in the late 1970s, moving from a zipper leather pouch to a roll up to a standup shirt-pocket pouch. The ergonomic problems were all the same: hard to get tobacco in and out, easy to forget remove the tobacco when I get home. The spoilage problems are also vexing. Be away more than a few days and your tobacco can turn to dusty crumblings before you smoke it.

For a few years now I’ve simply packed a few of the small wide-mouth mason jars in my pipe bag. They take up too much space and I’m always afraid I’ll drop my pipe bag and break one of them, but at least the tobacco is stored correctly.

So enter the perfect solution: the “Pete Geek Leaf” PocketJar created for us by The Pipery. Versatile, virtually indestructible, foolproof (i.e., Mark-proof). If I forget to move the tobacco back to a jar when I get home, no worries. These have the same hermetic rubber gaskets that are used on mason and canning jars. I’ve left tobacco in one for three months, remembered it, opened it and the tobacco is as moist as when I packed it.

The “Skoal Ring” made famous by generations of cowboys

I also like the two sizes: the slim Original is great for a back jeans pocket “Skoal Ring” or shirt pocket and the larger Max is perfect for the pipe bag, rucksack or luggage. In fact, since I usually like to take two or three blends when I travel, these allow me to do so without taking up any appreciable space:

The Original
less than one inch thick
holds 3-4 bowls
1.8 fl. Oz. capacity
colors: black, green, orange, purple red,

Max
1.2 inches thick
holds 4-6 bowls
2.5 fl. Oz. capacity
colors: black, green, orange, red (no purple)

For the Summer 2023 CPG Event, we’ve got every jar color and size available from The Pipery at $13 each plus shipping (shipping combined if you order more than one). You can mix and match whatever colors and sizes you want. I wish white jars had been available to complete the Irish flag, but I’m pretty stoked just to get green and orange, plus red for the blog. I confess I had to get purple for Halloween and my Halloween System, and black—well, that’s always been a standard for me.

The design is inspired by the 1960s K&P meerschaum boxes with their Shamrock logo, which I’ve always thought was quite clever. The word “Leaf” was added to the shamrock, plus silhouettes of the 4AB System (left) and 9S System (right).

ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS

We need a minimum order of 40 PocketJars

Price: $13.00 each
US Shipping: First Class Mail – $7 for orders of 1-5 PocketJars / Priority Mail – $10 for orders of 6-10 PocketJars
International Shipping: FedEx International Connect (where available, otherwise US First Class Intl) – $20 for orders of 1-5 PocketJars (this does NOT include any customs/import fees) You will invoiced through PayPal when the PocketJars are ready to ship (2-3 weeks from ordering)

Deadline for ordering: Monday, 10th July, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CST (GMT-6)

You MUST fill out the Google form below to be eligible:  POCKETJAR ORDER FORM

Questions? Send email to petegeek1896@gmail.com

 

 

So yeah, as you might expect, I’ve got a slim PPN Pocket Leaf inserted in my back right pocket right now working on my PG Leaf [Skoal] Ring. As that iconic modern cowboy Bruce Willis once so sagely said, Yippee-Ki-Yay MF!

 

 

 

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Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
Bob Cuccaro/TLIP
8 months ago

Mike has a great collection and love his FB posts in PSOI. Seeing his rare pipes and finds overseas makes him a certified Pete retriever too 🙂 Great write up of a CPG!

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago

Thank you so much Bob! It’s great and very important for me to hear these kind words from you!

Martin
Martin
8 months ago

Truly a stunning Collection.

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Thank you very much! Your words give me strength to keep trying to improve my collection even more!

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago

Thanks so much Mark for giving me the opportunity to join this great Pete community! Thank you for the ease and directness of our communication in preparing this post. I have no words to thank you!

Redcoat’s Return
Redcoat’s Return
8 months ago

Excellent collections of Peterson pipes and vintage posters…just wonderful my friend…this pocket jars are great too! ??????????????

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago

Really thank you for your kind words!

Tom cuffe
Tom cuffe
8 months ago

Savage collection Michael. Some absolute gems. A true CPG for sure.
Always great to hear of your new Peterson pipe finds on PSOI.

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom cuffe

I owe to you a great debt of thanks Thomas, as you were the first to inspire me! Our discussions helped me a lot and I want to say that! Really thank you!

Chris Streeper
Chris Streeper
8 months ago

What a stupendous collection! I follow Mike’s collecting activities on the PSOI FB group page, but it’s nice to get the back story here, which we don’t often get on FB. (just the pics) I love the pipe maps! Thanks for sharing the story. As for the pipe jars. I picked up a couple from the Pipery a few years ago when they first released them. They are absolutely fantastic devices. I’ll echo what Mark said about them keeping tobacco properly maintained for a good length of time. They really are a great item for the pipe smoker. If you’ve… Read more »

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris Streeper

I was pleased that Mark gave me plenty of time and space to write some more information here about me and my collection. I hope it was interesting for the readers. Thank you very much for your kind words, they are very important to me!

Al Jones
Al Jones
8 months ago

A wonderful glimpse into the challenges of a fellow pipeman! My neighbor is from Cork County, (or County Cork as she describes it! She understands my love for Peterson pipes, so I saved a copy of the Pipe Map to show her! I am also ordering a CPG Pipe Jar. I have the original, and find it too small, so I’ll be oping for the new, larger version. Thanks Team CPG!

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Al Jones

Really thank you! I think many friends here really liked the map! I hope in the future I can make the bigger one, as I have imagined it and share many pictures with you again.

Last edited 8 months ago by Michael Mikropoulos
Gypo
Gypo
8 months ago

I really enjoyed this story. I enjoyed the great pictures Michael Mikropoulos you have a awesome collection. The only pipe smoker I get together with a few times a year and enjoy sharing tobacco with and learning, he has about 40 years of experience on me is a very kind person who’s family is Greek. I can not out give my fellow pipe smoker. Sometimes I bring him fire wood oak and madrone and he usually sends me home with a new blend. I too am looking forward to the pocket jars.

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Gypo

I’m really glad you liked my story and thank you for your wonderful words! I wish you and your “Greek” friend “Καλό Κάπνισμα!” (pronounced: Kalo Kapnisma) which in Greek means “Have a nice smoking!”

Nevaditude
Nevaditude
8 months ago

WOW~ What an incredible collection! Thank you Michael & Mark for sharing this with CPG’s everywhere. So impressive!
Also,I am staggered it has been done in THREE years. You are making me reconsider my own personal definition of PAD… and on a school teacher’s salary! Very well done Michael, thanks again.

I have several pocket jars,& they are great, but no Max size. Thanks, I’ll grab a few.

Last edited 8 months ago by Nevaditude
Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Nevaditude

Really thank you! It’s really surprising even to me how quickly this collection was built. The teacher’s salary in my country is not high, like most salaries in general. But the truth is that my financial circumstances helped me in the last two years when I returned to my place of origin. Also, since I haven’t started my own family yet, I don’t have a lot of expenses. However, I don’t think I can keep buying pipes at the same rate. Limit exceeded!

William Auld
William Auld
8 months ago

Terrific collection and awesome map, Michael! I admire that you have some order to your collecting, something I seriously lack. The Kaprufs are wonderful, especially that 455 with that absolutely wonderful stem. There seems a dearth of Mayo pipes, so, Peterson, how about a black, bandless Kapruf style series named for Inishglora, the isle of the dead??

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  William Auld

Thank you so much! Well, I think I’m a bit “compulsive” and I want my pipes always clean and tidy, but sometimes this is a little difficult. 
Oh yes, the 455 is a cute, favorite Pete. I really love it! 
I also think your suggestion is great! Many areas of Ireland I would like to see in future series. I wish it!

Scott
Scott
8 months ago

Great collection. After zooming in on the map, I noticed the map is a jigsaw puzzle…well done.
Thanks for sharing.

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott

Really thank you for your kind words! Oh yes, you’re right it’s an Ireland puzzle! It’s a temporary solution. It’s too small to place the pipes in the right spot, but that will be done when I finish my project with the bigger map!

Chris Tarman, CPG
Chris Tarman, CPG
8 months ago

Wow! I’ve seen Michael’s posts on the Peterson Pipes Facebook group, and have always thought “Man, that guy has a lot of Petersons!”. But I didn’t realize the full scope until now. And in just three years??? I thought my Peterson collection had grown rapidly (about 50 purchases in 2.5 years), but I see now that I’m not so bad. I’ll save this article to show my wife in case she ever finds out how many I’ve bought in such a short amount of time. Luckily, they pretty much all look the same to her and my 60-some Petersons are… Read more »

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago

But that’s my secret Chris, I’m not married! Just kidding. I just had a good financial period in my life and used it to build my collection. Each pipe that arrived led to the next one… I understand that this is not a good management model, but I did it with a lot of passion!

John Schantz
John Schantz
8 months ago

Awesome Collection Michael, and the first I’ve seen of anyone collecting “Ireland Map Pipes”, very cool basis for a collection. That Kildare 505 is a cool shape. I think I had seen one….one, before, but at the time it didn’t “grab me”. It may have been the angle of the picture. I love the SK “Professor” shape, and the 505 looks like a “Professor” with a rim ring. The River Carib is another Pete that I was not enamored with when I first saw it, now I really like it. I’m looking to get one?. Your comment about spigots not… Read more »

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  John Schantz

Thank you very much! It means a lot to me to read these wonderful comments! Yes, actually from my little experience I see my tastes changing. For example in the beginning shape 03 was my favorite. Now I think I avoid it. I also found that big pipes didn’t suit me, but now I enjoy them too. You’re right about the 505. I’ve also seen some of those sturdy pipes appeared recently. In addition I found another relative, big Pete, a Shamrock 504. I got it recently (unfortunately I didn’t have it when I took the photo), so my favorite collection… Read more »

John Schantz
John Schantz
8 months ago

Not trying to taunt you, but I have a Sterling 501. If I had a duplicate, I would gladly give one up for adoption.

John Schantz
John Schantz
8 months ago
Reply to  John Schantz

How about I get it right…. “River Corrib”

Paul Combs
Paul Combs
8 months ago

What a beautiful and interesting collection Michael – thank you for sharing! I do hope you will share a picture of your wooden map of Ireland once it is finished. 🙂

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul Combs

Thank you so much! It’s my pleasure to share my collection with you! I’ll be sure to send you pictures of my map progress, once I find the pipes I’m missing.

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton
8 months ago

Hello Michael, and what a great story you have on your collection of Peterson pipes. I really like how you have connected the map of Ireland to your Peterson collection, what a fantastic concept for the foundation of a pipe collection! As I think about it, I’m not aware of any other pipe maker, other than Peterson, that one could could build such a collection as this. And like many other CPG’s have commented, it simply amazing that you have done this in such a relatively short amount of time! Wonderful collection you have, and thanks for sharing it with… Read more »

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Gary Hamilton

I really didn’t expect to hear such nice words about my collection and what I tried to do! Thank you so much indeed! 

Marlowe
Marlowe
8 months ago

Wow, 2023 keeps getting better. Thanks Mike for that lovely story of your piping journey. I love the pictorial displays of your pipes and I learned a few new Peterson facts today. Mark: first I get in on the excitement of a PPN pipe – still anticipating the reveal. Then my long time desire to own a Short Army is fulfilled (I picked up the 80s and the 68. My son in Florida notified they arrived today) . Now, after discovering the existence of pocket jars on The Muttonchop Piper last year and thinking I should really find some –… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Marlowe
Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Marlowe

Thank you so much for your kind words! It is very nice for me to feel that what I tried touches and interests the members of this great pipe community! Really thanks!

Last edited 8 months ago by Michael Mikropoulos
Stefano Zerbi
Stefano Zerbi
8 months ago

Great collection Michael! I am happy to see a CPG who likes the Kapruf line. All shapes are beautiful. I like this line too, as the Kapet. Old classic lines. I wish you quite smokes whit all these beauties.

Michael Mikropoulos
Michael Mikropoulos
8 months ago
Reply to  Stefano Zerbi

Oh yeah, I love the old classic series too! Along with the Kaprufs, I also have a few Kapets, most of which are not shown in the post. Thank you very much for your kind words!

Rick Myerscough
Rick Myerscough
7 months ago

Michael… Wonderful collection of Pipes and I loved the story behind them and your story of discovering Peterson. Thank you too… for your love of teaching and your students.
It is a needed profession.
Blessings,
Rick