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From the introduction into Britain in the late sixteenth century, of smoking tobacco, until the first world war, when cheap cigarettes were introduced. Tobacco was smoked in clay pipes. These fragile pipes are today very collectible.
Collecting clay smoking pipes became a very popular hobby, largely due to the number that could be found, and also the huge range of different design and size available.
Clay pipes can be found (unearthed) in freshly cultivated farmland and also old domestic refuse sites close to old houses. They are also regularly traded at car boot sales and collectors fairs.
Clay pipes can be collected by collectors of any age.
The main abilities desirable when collecting clay pipes are; The ability to spot modern day replicas, of which there are many. The ability to identify pieces of broken pipe, few pipes are found whole due to the fragile nature of the pipe.
Due to the popularity of smoking and the fragile nature of the pipe, old clay pipes were commonly found. They come in a wide range of style, from highly ornate to purely functional, and a range of bowl size, that was largely influenced by the price of tobacco at the time the pipe was manufactured. There are also many commemorative pipes made to mark some historic event. Pipes were also made to mark a persons status, eg the long stemmed wardens pipe.
A collection of clay pipes can give an interesting social reflection on the habit of smoking, and also makes a very decorative and conversation inspiring wall hanging, in the home.
The cost of pipes, like many collectibles, varies widely, depending on how fashionable the activity is at the particular time. And also the condition of the pipe. Repaired or damaged pipes do not command the price of a complete pipe, but are still very collectible. Pipes can normally be purchased for no more than a few pounds, often less.
Level of Demand
The table below shows the maximum levels of demand that this activity requires. NOTE: These are not entry levels or levels of requirement and has nothing to do with ability.
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