08. Peterson Limited Edition / Pipe of the Year 2014

It’s July, and that means one important thing for Pete Nuts: the global arrival of the new Limited Edition / Pipe of the Year. There’s been a few trickling out overseas in the past month or so, and I’ve even seen a couple for sale on the internet here in the States, but high summer is the traditional release date.

You may wonder why the Limited Edition / POY doesn’t come out in January rather than mid-way through the year. I asked Tony Whelan, Sr. this very question a few years ago. “It’s all to do with the Assay Office and how the orders come in,” he said. “They can’t get the new silver hallmarked and to us until the middle of January or so, which means the pipes aren’t ready until late March/early April. I wish we could convince them to stamp the silver for us in October—that would help us tremendously.” The lag time from April’s first production pipes to the arrival in late May for Europe and mid-June and July for the U.S. has to do with orders placed and shipping—Europe being much closer, of course, and pipes for the U.S. having to travel across the pond in cargo pods.

This year’s Limited Edition / POY is a turn towards tradition with what Peterson describes as “a classic straight army with a chimney bowl.” Like every entry in the series since it began in 1997, this year’s pipe is XL-sized. What is not always the case, as you can see from the dimensions at the bottom of this article, is a very a large tobacco chamber of approximately 21mm x 47mm—which qualifies it as a chimney, I suppose, with a ratio of width by height of 1 : 2.4. (The old 309, by comparison, is what I’d call a “short stack,” with an average ratio of about 1 : 2.12).

As for the finishes—smooth, ebony blast and rustic—you’ll have to make up your own mind which you prefer and why. I’ve always opted for the Limited Edition (smooth) simply because I like the idea of the individually numbered and dated bowl, but given the right shape or mountings, stain color and method of blast or rustication, I could just as easily go in the Pipe of the Year direction, and have done so in the past. The price difference actually isn’t much—about 10% for each step from rustic to sandblast to smooth. The real difficulty, if you go for a Limited Edition, is to get decent internet photographs to see what kind of grain you’re getting.

Presentation Box

After a few years’ variations on the footed, vertical presentation box, 2014’s box is something fresh: a slide-out slipcase with a clear window and rolled pipe sock inside. Beautiful tobacco leaf design. I have to take a point off for using the green pipe sleeve instead of the older cream-colored ones with brown printing that have accompanied so many of the high-grade pipes in previous years, but that may just be my pipe.

If you get one of these pipes, do yourself and future pipe-smokers a favor and hang on to the box! We’ve been fairly fortunate in accumulating K&P ephemera for the upcoming book, but when I think about all the great pipe boxes and sleeves that were produced and thrown away, I know we’ve just touched the surface. Just find a place you can bury your box in a closet if you don’t want to look at it. The next owner will thank you, and generations of pipe-smokers may rise up and call you blessed.

Rim and Air Hole Detail

The air hole enters precisely at the bottom of the bowl on the pipe I examined. It’s got a very open draft, as army-mount pipes tend to have, and passes the “pipe-cleaner” test easily—something that doesn’t always happen when you have this type of tenon/mortise connection.

As you can see, the chamber has been coated with what Greg Pease calls a “decorative” precarb—a thin glaze of gray-black over unstained wood.1 The bowl for the Limited Edition is hand-stained, and for the sandblast and contrast rustic versions (which I suspect involve some dip-staining), I can only say that if they were dipped, remember the chamber was plugged before staining.

The 2014’s got a nice, thin bit, coming it at about 4.64mm (0.186 in) and is only available in acrylic. K&P told me that it was also available in vulcanite, but I think we got our wires mixed somewhere. Of the three samples i received, they all looked identical. This is a big disappointment to me, and I know it will be to other older collectors as well, but K&P believes this is the future for their sales.

Acrylic bits are making inroads with U.S. smokers, and they do stay looking shiny and bright. But being the semi-Luddite I am, and appreciating the versatility to enjoy a comfortable hands-free smoking (clinching) experience, I still go for the old ebonite stems, which to me are much softer between the teeth. And I confess, I like taking care of them.

2014 Bowl Stamping

The finish—smooth, blast or rustic—dictates where the pipe is stamped and what the stamping says. If you’ve followed the Limited Edition series, you know that the bowls are individually numbered. This doesn’t mean the rustic and blast Pipes of the Year aren’t limited—they certainly are, and won’t be produced as 2014 Pipes of the Year after this year.

You should also be aware (if you aren’t already) that when a Limited Edition / POY proves to be exceptionally popular, as did the 2004 and its twin the 2008, you can expect to see it appear as a “B” shape in other lines, popping up as a St. Patrick’s Day issue or Christmas Pipe or in one of the Italian-market series. The 2004 and 2008 pipes appeared as the B21 and B28, and later the B28 did another turn in the current Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series as The Gregson.

Army Mount, 1905 Catalog

The army mount pipe has a long history with Peterson, going back to the 1905 catalog, although in those days it was normally presented with a tapered (AB) P-Lip rather than an army (A) F/T stem. The straight-sided billiard has also had a long and illustrious history with Peterson, so riffing on the normally bent “Dutch” for a straight-sided rendition is a welcome addition to the shape chart.

Of course, as a type of briar pipe the army mount seems to have been one of the primordial shapes, and is certainly not exclusive to Peterson. But Peterson has made the shape its own by the continuous production of it under a variety of names, first simply as the “Army” (1949) and then later as the Military, Irish Made, Irish Grip, K&P Dublin, Irish Army, Silver Mounted Army and Irish Made Army. It’s still quite popular today, and a great bargain, not to mention extremely rugged.2



Smooth Limited Edition 2014
Price: Around $240

Length: 5.83 in / 148 mm
Weight: 2.00 oz / 57 gr
Chamber Depth: 1.84 in / 46.82 mm
Chamber Diameter: 0.81 in 20.6 mm
Bowl Height: 2.20 in / 56 mm
Bowl Diameter: 1.53 in / 39.06 mm
Stem Material: Ebonite (Acrylic available)

Ebony Sandblast Limited Edition 2014
Price: Around $220

Length: 5.83 in / 148 mm
Weight: 1.95 oz / 55 gr
Chamber Depth: 1.788 in / 45.41 mm
Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in / 21 mm
Bowl Height: 2.175 in / 55.26 mm
Bowl Diameter: 1.52 in / 38.72 mm
Stem Material: Acrylic (Ebonite available)

Rusticated Limited Edition 2014
Price: Around $200

Length: 5.83 in / 148 mm
Weight: 1.90 / 54 gr
Chamber Depth: 1.84 in / 46.82 mm
Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in / 20.82 mm
Bowl Height: 2.21 in / 56.08 mm
Bowl Diameter: 1.55 in / 39.53 mm
Stem Material: Ebonite (Acrylic available)

1For a full discussion of the types of pre-carb coatings, see Greg Pease’s excellent article at http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/out-of-the-ashes/bowl-coatings-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-part-ii/ .

2And yes, there is a “navy” mount—but you’ll have to read the book to find out about it, if you don’t already know!



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