Link to Dunhill Book
Errata & Update Page
Link to Pre '25
Dunhill Dating Guide
Link to Dunhill
Tobacco Tins Paper
Link to Dating
English Tinned Tobacco Paper
Link to Tobacco
Link to my 'Pipes For Sale' Page
DUNHILL ERRATA SHEET FOR R. C. HACKER'S "RARE SMOKE" (10/8/99)
Since Richard Hacker's new book "Rare
Smoke" has come out I have received a number of inquiries as to the
accuracy of what he writes about Dunhill pipes. The following are the errors
(in italics with the book page number in parenthesis) that I have spotted in my
initial read together with the correction.
- The 841 ODA is not rare
(p.71) - In fact that 841 is one of the rarer and most desirable ODAs
easily selling for at least twice the price of a common shape.
- The 845 ODA is rare & was made only from 1973 - 1976 (p. 70) - In fact while a nice shape the 845 is
not rare & it was produced for a great many more years during at least
the '60s and throughout the '70s.
Initially Dunhill made three
ODA Canadian shapes: the 845 the largest
bowl, the 851 a bit smaller bowl, and the 850 the smallest bowl. In terms of the shank length the 851 is the
longest. The 845 is a fairly common
shape. The 850 is some what rare but
usually doesn't command that high a price because of its small bowl size. The 851 is quite rare and quite desirable. In the mid to late 1970s Dunhill also made
a variety of Canadian shapes that were
stamped ODA without a shape number.,
generally these pipes had wider shanks of varying lengths with bowls around the
size of an 845. In addition to the oval
shanked ODA Canadians Dunhill also made a very long pencil shanked billiard,
the 841 (a rare and desirable pipe) which while not a Canadian as it is not
oval shanked, is sometime referred to as being such because of its long
shank.. One can speculate that Hacker's
confusion lies in hearing but not fully digesting the above.
- The Dunhill Classic Series are banded in 23 K gold (p.71) - In fact they are banded in gold plate,
the first base metal bands, aka 'junk bands' ever put on a Dunhill pipe.
- The most complete dating guide (p. 73 et seq) - In fact the chart (& the book) omits an
entire decade - the 1920s.
- The dating guide provides complete patent number coverage (p. 73 et seq) - In fact the chart (& the
book) fail to report most patent numbers or their usage.
- 1951 pipes are identified by a "1" date code (pp. 74 & 76) - In fact effectively "1"
was not used as a date code in 1951 and no 1951 pipes are known that bear
that stamping. 1951 pipes are principally identified by patent number
stamping ending with "/34" together with a "0"
date code and a circled group size number.
- Group size numbers began in 1950 (pp. 74, 76 & 51) - In fact they began in 1951, RH is simply
confused by the 1951 pipe stampings.
- TanShells were first produced at the end of 1952 . (p. 74) - In fact TanShells were first produced
in 1951 but withheld from retail distribution until early in 1952 due to
the lack of an appropriate stamping tool
- The "INNER TUBE" stamping on smooth finishes ended in
1935 (p. 75) - In fact the
stamping ended during 1932.
- 1930 & 1931 Shells were stamped "SHELL" MADE IN
ENGLAND (p. 74) - In fact they
were stamped either that way or alternatively "SHELL BRIAR"
without a 'made in england' stamping.
- Size is not a factor in pricing DRs (p.68) - In fact at least during a portion of
the past three decades large DRs were stamped and up priced as such.
- DRs bore no grade stamps until the 'letter grade' system (of the
1950's) (p. 67) - In fact almost
from inception in the 1910s DRs were graded and stamped with a square (or
diamond) 'stop' system on the brand side of the pipe.
- In 1951 Dunhill adopted a three number system for all of its
existing pipes (p. 66) - In fact
it did not, the pre War shape identification system (which included
letter, letter & number, and two digit number codes) continued into
- Multi date coded stamps are the result of delayed retail
distribution ( p. 66) - In fact
into at least the 1950s the Dunhill factory also would sometimes stamp an
additional date code on used pipes returned to the factory for repair.
Also it appears that when a pipe already at the retail shop was returned
to the factory for special order custom work (e.g. banding) the pipe
received an additional date code stamp. I suspect that upwards of half or
more of the multi date code stamped pipes I have seen fall into these
latter two catagories.
- Double patent numbers appear on a few Shells, mainly on pipes sold
in the US during the 1920's (p.
65) - In fact double patent numbers were normally stamped on all Shells
from the late 1910s to the early 1930s and are found as late as 1936.
- The 75th Anno Set replicated two of the first Dunhill
shapes (p. 62) - In fact the set
replicated two shapes made for Dunhill by a third party pipe maker,
Nathan's. The shapes were discarded from the Dunhill line shortly after it
began making its own pipes.
- Shape 472 pre dates the LB
(p. 61) - In fact it is the reverse, the LB shape designation goes back to
at least 1920. In the the mid/late 1930s the same shape was stamped 472 if
it had a smooth finish and LB if it had a Shell finish.
- Until later years the black sandblast finish has almost always
been stamped "Shell"
(p. 60) - In fact until the 1930s the practice was to stamp pipes intended
for sale in England with "Shell Briar".
60) - In listing the Inner Tube patents RH omits the 417574/34 spring
flange inner tube patent, which patent number was stamped on most all
Dunhill pipes from 1942 to 1954.
- The Inner Tube is a "filter" (p. 59) - In fact the Inner Tube was not a filter
at all but rather a device to aid in keeping the pipe clean. Although not
mentioned by RH Dunhill did have an Absorbal pipe filter system.
- From 1911 all Dunhill pipes were fitted with an Inner Tube (p. 59) - In fact through the 1920s most bent
shapes were not fitted with an Inner Tube. Further, it is very doubtful
that the Inner Tube began in 1911 as opposed to 1912 the year of the
initial patent application.
- RH knows of 30 post war ODA shapes (p. 56) - In fact 39 post war ODA shapes have
been reported in the various issues of The Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris.
- The initial post war ODA shapes were large pre war shapes that had
been popular (p. 56) - In fact
the initial post war ODA shapes were new Dunhill shapes that had not been
produced prior to the war.
- The pictured pipe, an ODA 834, dates to 1943 (p. 56) -
In fact a review of the nomenclature of that pipe (it recently came up for
sale on eBay demonstrates without question that the pipe dates to 1953 (it
nonetheless remains a very desirable and rare pipe).
- The letter following the post war OD stamping is a size
designation (p. 53) - In fact
the letter following the post war OD stamping is a price designation that
could involve a number of factors, not necessarily size related, for
instance when ODA 803, 804 818, and 831 were given five digit shape
numbers they were size graded as group 4s and in one instance a group 5
and most, if not all known, ODBs and higher are actually smaller then the
- The post war OD pipes are larger then group 6 pipes (p. 51) - In fact a great many group 6 pipes are
larger then the largest post war OD pipe and a number of post war OD
shapes, e.g 803, 804, 818, 813 and 850, are significantly smaller then a
group 6 pipe.
- There was an attempt prior to the War to classify large pipes (p. 51) - In fact this was not the case. Pre war
OD pipes were letter graded on a number of factors and it appears that
size was a relatively minor factor. The pre war shape system simply
assigned pipes of the same design but different sizes different shape
numbers and all such standard shapes were priced the same, e.g. an LB/472
sold for the same price as a 126.
- The Root is Dunhills most expensive finish (p. 49) - True only for recent years, for in
fact prior to the war all finishes were priced the same and after the war
into the 1970s, the Root and the Bruyere were both priced the same (and
higher then the Shell and TanShell).
- The Shells of the '20s, '40s, and '60s were the craggiest (p. 49) - The omission of the '50s which many
collectors consider the best years for Shells is a puzzlement. In fact the
Shells of the '20s are easily the craggiest with those of the '30s, '40s
and '50s next in line (and considered 'classic'), and those of the '60s
comparatively, the smoothest and often smoother then in later years.
- Up until 1960 Dunhill had a Double Sandblast finish, wherein they
would sandblast their Shell pipes twice (p. 49) - In fact according to the original Shell patent
application, double sandblasting was part and parcel of the Shell finish
and prior to 1960 there was simply the Shell finish (as opposed to a Shell
and Double Sandblast finish). In the latter part of the 1950s Dunhill
determined that pipe smokers wanted a smoother Shell finish and began to
adjust its production according. This change was dramatically reinforced
during the 1960's when it was no longer able to obtain the soft Algerian
briar it has always used for the Shell and was forced to produce the Shell
using much harder briar which necessarily resulted in a much smoother
- The earliest "Shell" pipes bear a Patent Pending stamp (p. 48) - In fact the earliest Shells bear a
double English patent number (119708/17 . 5861/12) without a date code.
The problem is that because the date code system was not yet implemented
these pipes can be dated only to a range of year, 1917 - 1921. The 'Patent
Pending' Shells bear a "PAT.APP" stamp in conjunction with a
reference to either the 1915 American or 1914 Canadian Inner Tube patent.
These PAT. APP pipes date to either 1918 - 1920 if the Inner Tube patent
reference is to the American patent or to 1919 - 1921 if the Inner Tube
patent reference is to the Canadian patent. Thus a PAT APP American pipe
is the earliest datable Shell since it cannot date to later then
1920 while the Canadian PAT APP or the English '/17 . /12' patent can both
date to as late as 1921. It should also be noted that there is no known
PAT APP Shell in conjunction with an English Inner Tube patent but if one
were found it would be the earliest datable Shell, dating to 1917 - 1918.
Lastly, it should also be noted that the two digit number following the
"/": for an English patent refers to the patent application
date and for an American or Canadian patent refers to the patent grant
- The Shell finish was produced as early as 1912 (p. 48) - In fact the 'finish' described as
being produced in 1912 is not a Shell finish as it does not include any
sandblasting, nor is there a suggestion that a smokable pipe was in fact
actually produced. More to the point, the true error is in failing to
distinguish an accident or an experiment from the conscience effort to
produce for sale a pipe with a sandblast finish. That did not occur until
- Dunhill offered horn bits
(p. 47) - This needs to be clarified, during the war Dunhill made pipes
with horn bits because of war time material restriction but neither prior
to nor after the war did Dunhill advertise horn as a bit material. This is
because horn bits crack quite easily.
- Dunhill may have produced 'black spot' bits (p. 45) - In fact this is extremely doubtful,
the truth of the matter no doubt lies in the fact that ivory can be easily
stained at any time either accidentally or intentionally. Thus with some
black ink, shoe polish or whatever, one can stain an ivory dot black in an
instant and no one will be able to tell whether the that 'black dot' was
original or not.
- Beginning in 1920 Dunhill turned its bowls from St. Claude briar (p. 40) - In fact Dunhill publicly despised
French briar and used Calabrian briar for the Bruyere and Algerian briar
for the Shell. As Dunhill advised in its 1921 About Smoke catalog "[A
Dunhill pipe will] never become saturated as do pipes cut from the more
porous French Briar." That Dunhill did not use French briar
was a fundamental Dunhill selling point through out the 1920's.
- When Dunhill began making pipes in 1910 it initially offered 30
shapes (p. 40) - In fact this
appears to be a confusion with the 30 pipe shapes made for Dunhill
beginning in 1907 by Nathan's and sold by Dunhill until Dunhill began
making its own pipes. Once Dunhill began to make its own pipes it ceased
offering shapes #s 1 - 30.
- The windshield pipe was an immediate success (p.39) - In fact as Dunhill itself put it in
1979, the windshield pipe "was a flop". Indeed shortly after the
Dunhill shop was opened in 1907 it had the shields cut off the dead
inventory and sold the amputated pipes off at sale prices.
Link to Dunhill Book Errata
& Update Page
Link to Pre '25
Dunhill Dating Guide
Link to Dunhill
Tobacco Tins Paper
Link to Dating
English Tinned Tobacco Paper
Link to Tobacco
Link to my 'Pipes For