A golden ducat in the lid
With many tobacco pipes, the lid is a status in itself. That certainly applies to this pipe, made of meerschaum with a constricted multi-sided bowl and flattened bottom. A historic gold ducat from 1803 has been added to the silver mounting in the lid. A wonderful curiosity that undoubtedly hides a love from the then first owner. There is plenty of speculation about this golden coin but unfortunately there is little evidence why this montage was made that way. That this pipe was found in the English antique trade does not explain anything. Moreover, there is a second feature that makes this tobacco pipe special and that is the original stem being completely flexible. Normally, a sturdy stem is mounted with a short flexible zone at the end for comfort to keep the mouthpiece between the lips. In this case, quite unexpectedly, a completely flexible stem was used. That seems practical, but the lack of firmness between the pipe bowl and mouthpiece makes this pipe a bit awkward in the hand. In fact, if the mouthpiece falls out between your teeth at an unguarded moment, you loose it. This mount is therefore rather a curious exception than a successful contriviance.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 20.087Permalink