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.
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:
less than one inch thick
holds 3-4 bowls
1.8 fl. Oz. capacity
colors: black, green, orange, purple red,
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!