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Who makes the best Meerschaum?

Who makes the best meer?

  • Altinok

    Votes: 9 18.8%
  • Baki

    Votes: 29 60.4%
  • Tekin

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • IMP

    Votes: 6 12.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 6.3%

  • Total voters
    48
#21
I had a Pete from the Sherlock Holmes series that used a block second to none. But I thought I could get used to a P lip stem. Alas, I could not.
Me too, I can't get use to the P lip. That's why I use it as my VA pipe. Small little sip and it taste great ?
 
Last edited:

Siv

Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O
Sales
#22
I'm biased and I'll freely admit it. My Turkish block pipes by count that are still in my hands:

Baki 30 (includes 2 Calabash)
IMP 5
Peterson 2
Altinok 2
Tekin 2
Yanik 1
BC 1 (Calabash)
SMS 1
Frischer 1

I have a few African block but I won't include them here.

My personal thoughts of the top 6 are as follows:

Baki: High quality block, high quality carving, some inspired/unique shapes, excellent fit and finish, mostly larger pipes, expensive but worth it
IMP: Good block, smaller pipes, good quality carving, excellent value for money (or at least hey were, prices seem to have risen recently)
Peterson (Sherlock Holmes series): High quality block, high quality carving, excellent fit and finish, p-lips, no case, pricey, hard to find now
Altinok: Good block, variable carving (Altinok pipes are made by a variety of carvers), excellent sales service, good prices
Tekin: Good block, somewhat variable carving, better fit and finish now than in the past but not the best, good prices
Yanik: Artistically wonderful, huge high quality blocks, variable quality control, high prices but you're paying for art (I see he makes more conventional pipe shapes now but I don't have experience of them)

I have to given an honourable mention to the BC calabash - it's a lovely pipe and my favourite calabash. I don't know if they're still sold but if you can find one, buy it - you won't be disappointed.
 

Blackop555

Well-known member
#23
I'm biased and I'll freely admit it. My Turkish block pipes by count that are still in my hands:

Baki 30 (includes 2 Calabash)
IMP 5
Peterson 2
Altinok 2
Tekin 2
Yanik 1
BC 1 (Calabash)
SMS 1
Frischer 1

I have a few African block but I won't include them here.

My personal thoughts of the top 6 are as follows:

Baki: High quality block, high quality carving, some inspired/unique shapes, excellent fit and finish, mostly larger pipes, expensive but worth it
IMP: Good block, smaller pipes, good quality carving, excellent value for money (or at least hey were, prices seem to have risen recently)
Peterson (Sherlock Holmes series): High quality block, high quality carving, excellent fit and finish, p-lips, no case, pricey, hard to find now
Altinok: Good block, variable carving (Altinok pipes are made by a variety of carvers), excellent sales service, good prices
Tekin: Good block, somewhat variable carving, better fit and finish now than in the past but not the best, good prices
Yanik: Artistically wonderful, huge high quality blocks, variable quality control, high prices but you're paying for art (I see he makes more conventional pipe shapes now but I don't have experience of them)

I have to given an honourable mention to the BC calabash - it's a lovely pipe and my favourite calabash. I don't know if they're still sold but if you can find one, buy it - you won't be disappointed.
I knew you had lots of bakis, but wow. I agree with your descriptions. I didn't know imp was known for smaller pipes. I didn't even know they had smaller ones until recently i bought a blowfish imp and i was surprised at the smaller size
 

dmkerr

Fabulously non-descript
Staff member
#24
I'm biased and I'll freely admit it. My Turkish block pipes by count that are still in my hands:

Baki 30 (includes 2 Calabash)
IMP 5
Peterson 2
Altinok 2
Tekin 2
Yanik 1
BC 1 (Calabash)
SMS 1
Frischer 1

I have a few African block but I won't include them here.

My personal thoughts of the top 6 are as follows:

Baki: High quality block, high quality carving, some inspired/unique shapes, excellent fit and finish, mostly larger pipes, expensive but worth it
IMP: Good block, smaller pipes, good quality carving, excellent value for money (or at least hey were, prices seem to have risen recently)
Peterson (Sherlock Holmes series): High quality block, high quality carving, excellent fit and finish, p-lips, no case, pricey, hard to find now
Altinok: Good block, variable carving (Altinok pipes are made by a variety of carvers), excellent sales service, good prices
Tekin: Good block, somewhat variable carving, better fit and finish now than in the past but not the best, good prices
Yanik: Artistically wonderful, huge high quality blocks, variable quality control, high prices but you're paying for art (I see he makes more conventional pipe shapes now but I don't have experience of them)

I have to given an honourable mention to the BC calabash - it's a lovely pipe and my favourite calabash. I don't know if they're still sold but if you can find one, buy it - you won't be disappointed.
Excellent descriptions overall. I do have one IMP with killer block but it's the exception to your spot on analysis
 

Siv

Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O
Sales
#25
For the OP, the pipes you have are mostly African block. To me, they seem denser and not as cool smoking as Turkish so are a different animal. I have several (Peterson & Manx/Kikyo/Amboseli/Tanganyika) and they're fine smoking pipes and can be bought for a song compared to Turkish.

The resale value of Baki pipes has already been alluded to so I think it's a no-brainer to buy one and if you don't like it, you can sell it for close to what you paid for it.
 

Siv

Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O
Sales
#28
@dmkerr and @Siv how can you tell who uses better block? If I’m looking at new meerschaums are there some things I can look for?
Thanks
The easy answer: By the price you pay for them.

Meerschaum is a natural material and the higher the quality and larger the size, the more expensive it will be for the carver to acquire. The carver is not going to buy the best block and carve a crappy pipe - they won't get a return on their investment. The best carvers use the best block to maximise their selling price. Carvers or shops that make many pipes, won't buy the best block because they're going for volume rather than the premium market.

Also, just like briar, any pipe with rustication or the "holes" pattern will be made like that to cover flaws in the block. No self respecting carver will sell a "smooth" pipe with flaws so they hide the flaws with carvings.

Sometimes you can see a marbling through the wax, this may indicate superior block that will colour really well.

Having said all this, a better block makes for a better looking pipe - they probably all smoke the same.
 

Pilgrim

Well-known member
#29
Will all these companies have their mark or number on the pipe? I see pipes for sale on ebay and haven't run across one with a maker's mark on the pipe. Some, like SMS and CAO, have a sticker inside the case. I just bought a nice smoking bearded man Meer with no case and no markings and I wonder who made it.
 

MakDragon

Former PSF Wizard
Sales
Patron
#30
Will all these companies have their mark or number on the pipe? I see pipes for sale on ebay and haven't run across one with a maker's mark on the pipe. Some, like SMS and CAO, have a sticker inside the case. I just bought a nice smoking bearded man Meer with no case and no markings and I wonder who made it.
My Baki has a mark on the stem that says, "Baki".
My Altinok does not.
 

Siv

Mg4Si6O15(OH)2·6H2O
Sales
#33
The signing of meers is a relatively recent thing given they've likely been produced for 100s of years. I've seen brands on the case, rarely on the pipes. And on old pipes, this is usually an indication of the brand (the store or the re-seller) not the carver. The elevation of the carver is perhaps a more recent thing too.

Baki has been signing his for as long as I've been buying them (the last 12 or so years). I've no idea if there are pipes of his out there that are unsigned. In my experience his signatures are always on the stem or acrylic trim, never on the meer. I have pipes that say Baki, F.Baki and Fikri Baki. Given that I've bought all my Bakis from Deniz Ural, Some have Best Meerschaum stickers, some with Ural and some with no stickers.

My first Altinok had a little circular A sticker on the stem which fell off after a while. Now I think the A is carved on the stem. You can also get pipes from Altinok which are by specific carvers and have the carver's name on the meer. This is a nice development.

I have 5 older IMPs that have nothing on the pipe (though some have IMP stickers in the case). It looks like the newer production have IMP on the stem now. IMPs have a distinctive style - you can almost tell if I pipe is an IMP by the look.
 

dmkerr

Fabulously non-descript
Staff member
#34
Baki has been signing his for as long as I've been buying them (the last 12 or so years). I've no idea if there are pipes of his out there that are unsigned. In my experience his signatures are always on the stem or acrylic trim, never on the meer. I have pipes that say Baki, F.Baki and Fikri Baki. .
I have a very old Baki that he signed on the stone itself. Big monster with a windcap. But that's the only one.
 

Pilgrim

Well-known member
#35
That's good information; thanks. I hope i never buy an estate Meer that's a regular Joe pipe with a Baki stem stuck on it :O
It's doubtful that i'll ever become a connoisseur, so as long as i'm happy with the smoke then.....
 

xrundog

Old Pipe Dude
#36
I've smoked a whole passle of old and antique meerschaums, but I have only bought one new meerschaum. I do feel I have a good feel for what constitutes a good smoking meerschaum though. I bought the Altinok PSF 2015 POY in a smooth billiard finish with a faux spigot and a colored acrylic stem. The customer service was great. I got lots of updates on the progress of my pipe. The workmanship is top notch and the faux spigot is really well done. It's a handsome pipe and a good smoking pipe as well. That is my testimonial for Altinok.

This was the as new pic:

PSF 2015 POY.JPG
 

Pilgrim

Well-known member
#37
I've smoked a whole passle of old and antique meerschaums, but I have only bought one new meerschaum. I do feel I have a good feel for what constitutes a good smoking meerschaum though. I bought the Altinok PSF 2015 POY in a smooth billiard finish with a faux spigot and a colored acrylic stem. The customer service was great. I got lots of updates on the progress of my pipe. The workmanship is top notch and the faux spigot is really well done. It's a handsome pipe and a good smoking pipe as well. That is my testimonial for Altinok.

This was the as new pic:

View attachment 18366
Wow, that's nice. One day i'll buy myself a pipe like this so i'll have at least one Meer with a genuine name; one like yours that has a good rep.
 

Spillproof

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Sales
#39
My nicest meer all around is a Baki.
My next nicest is the Altinok POY from 2015 (*I dont like the stemwork as much).

I don't really smoke my other meers anymore.
I had a nice Tekin but I gave it away (as did the original owner). BC gourd calabashes are quite nice but they cannot be smoked without looking goofy.