When buying any estate pipe, it's important to remember that damage can greatly diminish the value of a collectible pipe. In the interest of helping avoid an estate pipe buying disaster, I offer the following 9-point checklist:
Scrutinize the interior of the bowl for signs of excessive wear and abuse. The inside may have been over-reamed, thinning the bowl walls. This may not destroy the value, but does diminish it. One of the most common, and hardest to detect problems is over-reaming or burn-through on the bowl's bottom, caused by smoking too hot at the bottom of the bowl or pushing a reamer too deep and removing wood instead of char. In most quality pipes, the air hole should be flush with the bowl bottom. If the bottom is below the air hole, it could be a trouble sign (although not always).