389. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!—Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to You!

This morning I’ve invited Jason Canady, the blog’s resident St. Patrick’s Day commemorative expert, to step in and take a look back at what will go down in Kapp & Peterson’s history as the very finest SPD ever issued (and you ought to look at his complete SPD collection and thoughts on this year’s SPD listed at the end of his post–and perhaps Post #84 on the history of the series just to bring you up to speed).  I’ve got my own D20 “Flying Pencil” SPD 2023 ready to go with some Germain’s RDF tonight, and either a pint of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout or some Teeling’s Single Grain–or maybe both.  Sláinte!


by Jason Canady

It’s time to reach for your favorite St. Patrick’s Day pipe. The flags are unfurled, and the brass instruments polished. The church doors are open, and the parade and celebrations are underway. I hope everyone finds time to join in the celebrations today and celebrate the St. Patrick holiday your way.

Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day pipes, Mark graciously let me cover the launch of Peterson’s St. Patrick’s Day 2024 edition pipe on January 14th in Post # 380. With 2024’s release in the rear-view mirror, I thought we’d look back at 2023’s 25th Anniversary release.

The 25th anniversary of the St. Patrick’s Day pipe gave the opportunity for Peterson fans to grab an Irish-colored flag pipe if they missed the 1998 original release. Unlike the original version which came only in a smooth finish, the 2023 version came in smooth, sandblast and rustic finishes.

To celebrate the occasion, Peterson paired this collectible pipe with an Irish wool tweed bag for the first time exclusively for the smooth and sandblast finishes.

That St. Patrick’s Day anniversary release was quite special in the Peterson SPD line and deserves a second look. While on my hunt for pipes from this release I discovered hidden gems of information I feel should be noted and shared with my fellow Pete Geeks.

First, we’ll look at the pipe drop itself with its crash troubles. Then, I’ll reveal shapes released that I discovered were never advertised. “Wait. What?”

And we’ll look at some shapes that were advertised for sale in only a rustic finish, yet a smooth or sandblasted version was spotted in the wild.

We’ll also note with zero intention of criticism to K&P, but with dutiful observation some of the quality control issues Peterson had during the production of this series. I consider this something of a duty to note for historical purposes.

To understand the troubles of the 25th anniversary pipe drop in January of 2023, we need to look back at the Peterson Pipe of the Year drop in 2022 (see Post #297). In August 2022, Peterson released the much-anticipated Mark Twain shape for their POY. The excitement and demand for the shape generated heavy traffic that contributed to the crashes of the Smokingpipes.com website. It was also noted, buyers put a pipe in their shopping cart only to have it sold out from underneath them to another buyer. Many complained this process happened to them several times before they could check out. (I lost a dark smooth and it’s still painful to talk about.)

I believe this buying frenzy of a highly anticipated and limited pipe release, along with its site crashes, set the stage physically and mentally for more site troubles ahead of the 25th SPD anniversary release just four months later.

The Big Crash

On January 31 at 6 p.m. the SPD pipes went on sale at Smokingpipes.com. Minutes later the site crashed —Hard.

The site struggled and fluctuated for the next couple of hours due to the weight of buyers hungry for the anniversary pipe. I had a game plan with a main target in mind. I was after a smooth 124, one of my favorite shapes. My second choice was a smooth 605. I had all my desired shapes written in front of me so as not to get distracted.

The SPD drop wasn’t my first rodeo, and I planned how to quickly secure my 124. I snagged one and got it in my cart just as the site crashed. I spent the next 10 minutes in panic trying to check out as the site allowed. That day I purchased a 124 and 605 smooth, a 606 rustic version and 03 sandblasted version.

Top: shape 605. Bottom: shape 124.

This was the first time the 124 was offered in the SPD line and I love the shape. Though I’m a fan of the 606, I wanted a shape I didn’t have in the SPD line and passed over the smooth 606 to its slimmer and smaller 605 shape. Both are the first time dressed in the Irish colors as well. Unlike the original release which sported a thin white P on the stem, the anniversary model came with a brass P that brilliantly matched the brass rings.

How Many 25th Anniversary Pipes Were Created?

 According to Sykes Wilford, Laudisi Enterprise’s Chief Executive Officer, “There were a combined total of 1200 of the sandblast and smooths made, and about 2,000 rusticated pipes.”

Crash Buying Tip 

If you find the site’s page frozen or moving slow due to high volume and not allowing you to go forward or backwards, you can use the pipe finder tool to select the finish and it will take you to that page. For example, while on the Peterson-St Patrick’s day- page, you can click the desired finish in the option menu and hit – Find.

This scenario happened to me. I selected “Sandblasted” in the finish category and even though the page was frozen, it took me to the sandblasted models. When it did, I discovered only about 10 sandblasted shapes were left for sale. This is how I snagged the last 03 sandblasted shape.

Shape 03

The sandblasted versions became my favorite finish of the series. The black stain against those Irish colors really pops. The sandblasted finish also came with the Irish tweed bag at a much lower cost than the smooth versions. Also note this was the first and maybe the only time the sandblast was paired with the Irish-colored band.

The custom Irish wool bag had a thick leather drawstring with a soft black linen cloth sewn on the inside to protect the finish of the pipe. The wool was sourced from Kerry Woolen Mills, a 260-year-old Irish manufacturer of fabrics.


Addressing the Crash

The day after the drop, Wilford addressed the growing dissatisfaction of pipe smokers regarding the continuing website troubles on a popular chat smoking forum.

On February 1st, Wilford wrote,

“Smokingpipes put up about 700 Saint Patrick’s Day pipes yesterday, of which more than 100 were smooth and more than 50 were sandblasts. We didn’t expect the smooth and sandblasts to sell out as quickly as they did (it took about ninety minutes to sell through both). It’s also worth noting that as of 24 hours later, twice as many rustics have sold as smooth and sandblasted combined on Smokingpipes.com. Folks are certainly buying the rustic pipes, but those who want the smooth pipes know they’re scarce and are acting quickly.

“There will be some more Saint Patrick’s Day pipes going up next week,” said Wilford.

“As for the site instability during periods of heavy traffic load, this is not a simple problem. We’re still working to resolve it and I am very sorry.

So, to recap, 150 or more pipes were sold in an hour and a half. 24 hours later, an additional 300 were sold. That’s a lot of pipes. Also, Sykes has said in an interview by Chuck Stanion on Smokingpipes.com “these anniversary pipes are a limited edition and will not return.”

So, Pete Geeks, I highly recommend getting them while you can before they are gone for good.


Hidden Treasures

Treasure within Treasure

While on my 25th Anniversary SPD pipe hunt, I encountered a few interesting and surprising things. Most collectors of SPD pipes know there is often a special shape or two within Peterson’s released shapes. Many collectors consider those pipes collectibles within collectibles. For example, the Bow and Starboard shapes found in the limited-edition Iceberg Collection, found their way into the 2013 SPD line that year.

I discovered a few hidden shapes, along with smooth and sandblasted finishes that were never advertised – anywhere. These shape numbers were not listed on the Laudisi site for sale, the Peterson site, or named among the shape list released on any written Smokingpipes promos. Yet, they exist. When I came across them in the wild, I was surprised. I immediately searched for references and discovered my suspicions of them never being listed were correct.

The first surprise was the 107 in a smooth version. I’m a big fan of the 107 shape. Anytime I can find the shape in the SPD line, I make sure to get one. So, imagine my disappointment when I discovered while perusing the shapes with their offered finishes before the drop, the 107 was only offered for sale in the rustic version.

The Ultimate K&P Billiard: the “Beast,” the 107, in 2023 SPD dress

Then imagine my surprise discovering a 107 smooth version in the wild for sale. A smooth 107 sporting the Irish band had only been a dream until then.  I’ve seen about five for sale. I snagged a 9mm version one early morning on the Europe Smokingpipes.com site. This one is a fine specimen and currently remains unsmoked only because I haven’t gotten to smoking it yet.

264 Sandblast

The second pleasantly surprising gem was a 264 sandblasted version. Only the smooth and rustic finishes were shown as options for sale, never the sandblast. Believe me when I tell you I looked to see if they offered a sandblast. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Peterson did make a few 264 shapes in the sandblasted finish.  I snagged this rare 264 blast-beauty the same time I saw the 107 pop up for sale. You may call it right day-right time, or just being lucky. Like the smooth 107, I’ve only seen about 5 sandblasted 264 in the wild. Some may have been for sale the day of the drop and sold out before I got there. But I’m certain the sandblasted 2023 SPD 264 was not listed as an option before the first drop.

As you can see, alhough the 107 is unsmoked, the 264 has seen some serious Virginia flake action.

Having found these two versions, I wonder if a 107 SPD 25th Anniversary sandblast exists? (Can I called it my “Black” Whale?).


The Sherlock Holmes SPD Shapes

The 2021 SPD release saw a Sherlock Holmes shape introduced in the SPD line for the first time. There was only one, and it was the XL11, also known as the Original. The following year 2022, Peterson introduced three more Sherlock shapes along with the Original. They were the Watson XL17, the Baker Street XL13, and the Deerstalker XL14.

The 25th Anniversary release introduced more Sherlock Shapes! Who noticed? 

 The sandblasted Original and a B42 sport the Irish colored band for the first time. 

The 25th Anniversary release showcased more Sherlock shapes than any release before it. In all, I count a total of 8 different shapes from the Sherlock series. Consider this idea, having a 7-day set of the Sherlock pipes sporting the Irish colored band! Mind blown.

The shapes offered in 2023 were the Original, the Watson, the Mycroft, the Deerstalker, the Professor, the Milverton, the Baker Street, and the Baskerville.

However, the Baker Street, Professor, and Baskerville were never listed on any shape release. Imagine my surprise when I came across an Irish colored Baskerville for sale. I said, “Wait, an xl12? Isn’t that the Baskerville?”

Again, I quickly checked all the listings and discovered those three shapes xl12 Baskerville, xl13 Baker Street, and the xl16 Professor, were never listed among the 2023 SPD available shapes release.

The Professor

Did you know Peterson made a Professor that sports the Irish colors? Cool huh? Bet you didn’t see that coming? To date I’ve only seen these three shapes in the rustic finish, but who knows?

The Baskerville


The Baker Street


The only Baskerville and Baker Street I’ve seen for sale are found at C.Gars LTD. I located a Professor model on the Peterson site and eBay.

The Original and Watson: “Irish Sherlock and Watson are on the case!”
I wonder what Arthur Doyle would have thought of this idea.

Peterson’s 25th Anniversary Pipes Had QC Issues 

Double stamping-serialization

I purchased a nice sandblasted XL11 from the Smokingpipes.com website here in America and a sandblasted B42 straight from Peterson’s online site in Ireland. When the pipes arrived, I was surprised to see they both read the same serial number of 1031.

I don’t know the odds of the same person receiving the same stamped number on two different pipes, but I’m sure it’s astronomical. Keep in mind this double stamping would never have been discovered if the two pipes went to two separate buyers. In this rare case the two matching serial numbered pipes went to the same person. Again, the odds of this are astronomical.

I contacted Glen Whelan Director of Sales at Peterson and as always received the highest level of customer service. Whelan offered to send me a replacement with the right number stamped in the heel. When I asked how he would do this, he replied he would send a replacement pipe with a new number. I really liked the deep craggy blast on the B42 and didn’t want to give up the pipe for a replacement, so I decided to keep it.

Whelan said they were having a quality control issue with the 25th anniversary pipe and somehow the stamping got off track. It was hard to do as each stamped pipe is recorded in a book. Whelan told me unfortunately that mine wasn’t the first pipe to get double-stamped, but they caught the issue before they went out the door and mine somehow slipped through. After learning I would keep the pipe Whelan wrote “Well, in a way, you have the most rare and unusual St. Patrick’s Day pipe!”

I guess I’m just lucky.

I often wonder, since the serial stamping got off, how it might have affected the overall line. Are there a true total number of 1200 stamped SPD pipes out there?


The Sandblasted Watsons Have Acrylic Stems

If you purchased a sandblasted Watson shape, it most likely has an acrylic stem. All sandblasted and smooth versions should have a ebonite stem.

I purchased a 2023 SPD sandblasted Watson from the Peterson site and quickly received an email from a representative at Peterson who informed me there was a mistake in the Watson pipes due to a QC issue.

“The Watson sandblast has an acrylic stem instead of the required vulcanite stem. I don’t know how much the vulcanite means to you?”

I replied, “if it just has the foil stamped P and not the brass P, I don’t want it.”

“Oh, it has the brass P, it’s just an acrylic stem rather than vulcanite,” she replied.

I decided to purchase the Watson and I’m very glad I did. It’s the only Watson I’ve ever owned. It has been a favorite of mine; an excellent puffing machine and I load it with C&D’s Haunted Bookshop quite often.


Stamping on the Smooth Pipes Is Faint

I’ve never been a piper who complains about stamping. I do notice and admire when it’s done right. When I received my 124 and joyfully looked for the St. Patrick’s Day stamp, I was surprised to find the moniker hard to read. The stamping was very faint, and you could barely make out the thin Peterson’s logo on the shank. The 605 even more so. All my sandblasted models were fine and were deeply and nicely done when struck on the heel, but I noticed the smooth versions tend to be much lighter when stamped on the shank. I sometimes hold the pipe by the shank when I smoke, and I wonder how an already thin stamping will hold up over the years. The Peterson’s St. Patrick’s Day stamp is a source of pride to St. Patrick’s Day collectors. Just an observation Watson.


In Conclusion

You can’t go wrong with picking one of these pipes with the Irish-colored band and adding it to your collection- whether it’s the original or 25th anniversary release. The Irish-colored band is special and really makes the pipe sing. Several years ago, I took up the quest to collect each shape from the original release. The journey was presented on PPN in Post #275.  Since the article was published, I added two more to my collection, the x105 and the 221. The 221 is such a prize among my treasured collection as the shape is one of my favorites if not my very favorite. That rings the total to 11 in my original collection. But I fear collecting each shape is an unreachable goal as I’m always discovering new shapes from that year and the originals are getting harder to find.

I did take advantage of the 25th Anniversary release honoring the original with its wonderful new features. In all, I picked up 12 shapes of the 25th anniversary release and stayed married and lived to talk about it. The shapes I’ve currently collected are the 01, 03, B42, 338, 264, 124, 605, 606, xl17, 221,107, and the xl11.

Shape 338

Which is my favorite from the 25th Anniversary release? The biggest surprise has been this 338 sandblast. The ridged blast is spectacular and gives my fingers a great grip. The ebonite fishtail stem fans out just right and the button feels soft and comfortable to my mouth. A little brother to the 309 shape, this 338 shape can handle flakes and whatever I throw at it. It has brought the greatest joy and I’m currently smoking Sunbear in it while I type.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone near and far!
May this day bring you joy and blessings to you.

Jason Canady, CPG is a professional writer, educator and graphic designer.
Jason has previously contributed Post #274, Post #275, and Post #380.

With thanks to Laudisi and to Kapp & Peterson for photos and support,
and to Daniel Billings CPG for the banner and parting shot photos.






Tom Dempsey, CPG: The unsmoked clay Peterson is one of my “unicorn” pipes. Spent years searching for one before finally capturing this beauty:

John M. Young CPG. Ready for St. Patrick’s Day with a classic sterling-clad SPD and the Pete Geek Ramsey.


Shimshon Cooke CPG, PG Tall Belly Forest Green.


Mark Hunt CPG, the new PG Classic Tampers from Gary Hamilton.


Mark Hunt CPG, with the 2023 PG Commemorative, Dubliner Flatcap & and anwesome 302 DeLuxe blast.

Erik Peissig CPG, Couteau Tamper and 2023 PG Commemorative.


Clint S., CPG. Reflecting with his favorite SH Pete on his recent win at a long(ish) distance run.



Continue Reading389. Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!—Happy St. Patrick’s Day!