Bruce Harris

        "Pipe Mysteries Number One: The Roosevelt/Stalin Pipe" (June 2002 issue) really hit home. I've often thought about the fate of famous (and not so famous) pipes I've read about in the old PIPE LOVERS magazines. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer to that mystery. However, I will take you up on the invitation to the membership to submit additional "mystery" pipes.

        The Fall, 2002 issue of Pipes & Tobaccos magazine printed my article about the discovery of a Marxman Heirloom pipe, Cecil Howard's Pipe Dream. In addition to Howard's Pipe Dream, the Jo Davidson Self-Portrait Marxman Heirloom (see Pipes & Tobaccos, Summer, 1998, page 63) was housed in the now-defunct Museum of Tobacco Art and History in Nashville, TN. The contents of the museum were broken up and distributed in 1999. The Davidson Self-Portrait is currently housed in a private museum in Chicago. We know the whereabouts of these two, but that is just the beginning.

        The Marxman Heirloom series consisted of approximately 80 pipes commissioned by Bob Marx in the late 1940s. These special pipes were carved by famous sculptors of that time. They ranged in price from $100 up to $7,500 for the Jo Davidson. The sculptors first made wax and plaster impressions. They were then made into pipes using Algerian briar, provided by Bob Marx. These pipes received a good deal of press half a century ago. Today, they have virtually vanished.

        Photos of a few of these enigmatic pipes appeared in magazines and publications years ago. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:

        Deep Sea Diver: carved by Charles Kopp. Why this one originally sold for only $250 is beyond me. The detailed carving appears extraordinary. The treasure chest in the diver's arms forms the bowl of the pipe.

        Retriever Head: Neat head of a dog holding a pheasant in its mouth. Original price $175. Carved by R. D. Lewis.

        Gorilla Head: Looks like the head of King Kong. Original price $175.

       There were many others as well. Sculptor Charles Kopp carved "Cat and the Kettle." This pipe has a cat perched on the front of the bow, peering into the bowl. Other Heirloom pipes included:


Chinese mandarin kneeling in a cluster of Oriental foliage.
Vine-entwined tree trunk with a bird sitting on the bowl.
Indian Squaw.
A mean and nasty-looking catfish.
Santa Klaus--this one has a little story to it. Bob Marx had a Santa-carved pipe made, which he presented to the "real" Santa in the window of Macy's Department Store in New York City one Christmas during the late 1940s. I'm not sure if this one qualifies as an Heirloom, but it certainly qualifies as a mystery pipe!

        The list goes on and on. My theory is that the pipes are signed with the carver's name and possibly the date. I do not believe that they carried the Marxman logo. They are out there somewhere--but where?