Friday, January 13, 2012

The One That Started It All

(Image: Ethan Brandt, © 2011 Ethan Brandt, All Rights Reserved)

I have written extensively about my obsession with the Rubens Rhodesian shape design by Greg Pease and Luca diPiazza. To see the level of my fascination, check here.

Recently, I have made a breakthrough in that particular passion.

After the publication of my most recent story concerning the stout, bulky, beautiful shape, I was contacted by Neill Archer. As some of you might recall, I recently wrote about how it was upon seeing the Rubens Rhodesian depicted on his blog that my craze was sparked.

(Image: Neill Archer Roan, © 2009 Neill Archer Roan, All Rights Reserved)

That was the photo I saw. This was the photo that called me and created a fervor in my pipe world that has yet to be matched or even rivaled by any other aspect of tobacciana.

I attempted to sate the desire by setting my aim on any other Rubens Rhodesian I could find. Believe me, it was intensely satisfying to see my collection grow and mature. Still, it was not finished.

I said all of this before, and I rehash only to help you all understand why the message that I received from Mr. Roan was such a bombshell.

He started off with some advice for my blog and photography, an area where he obviously has extensive knowledge. Eventually, however, the topic changed.

He told me that he had seen my most recent article concerning Rubens Rhodesians and he made me an offer.

Trades and purchases are frequent within the pipe world. Sometimes one of the collectors involved comes out on top, sometimes it is an even trade. This offer, however, was nothing that I ever expected.

What was this offer, you might ask.

(Neill Archer Roan, © 2009 Neill Archer Roan, All Rights Reserved)

Two, count them, two beautiful example of the Rubens Rhodesian, one from each generation.

Do you see what I see? That top beauty, the one with the darker finish and the curved stem, is the very same pipe that I had seen a little over a year ago on Mr. Roan's website.

I could not believe it. My heart rate increased and I could swear I literally started salivating. In the pipe world, this is like getting a date with the pin-up girl whose picture you hung up in your locker.

Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity like a dog begging for a treat.

I was so excited that I stayed up far too late that night, considering I had such an early morning, so that I could respond instantly to his messages.

This offer came just a day after I got a message from another pipester on Tamp and Puff, a pipe forum that I have only recently discovered. He let me know that he had found another unsmoked Rubens Rhodesian on an online retailer. I was extremely grateful for the early warning, as I had not yet received the e-mail update alerting me of its presence. Thank you, PapaBear!

(Photo Courtesy of Smokingpipes)

To say that this was an amazing week would be an understatement of epic proportions. Not only has my collection grown to fifteen of the two-hundred pipes ever made (7.5% of the total), but one of those is the pipe that started the entire infatuation. 

Pipes, and life's little serendipitous moments, never cease to amaze me.

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