About Meerschaum Pipes
Until you started collecting tobacciana, you always thought meerschaum pipes were an old brand name, carved by men who wore lederhosen and drank beer in the deep valleys of Bavaria. However, meerschaum is a material, an off-white silicate similar to soapstone. The German name "meerschaum" means "foam of the sea." Like soapstone, meerschaum floats, and was found floating in the Black Sea, hence the name. Antique meerschaum pipes are highly collectible with most specimens dated after the mid-1800s when meerschaum replaced porcelain in German pipe making. At one point, the stone become so expensive that pipe makers salvaged pieces of meerschaum and glued them together to create pressed meerschaum, although these antique pipes are not nearly as valuable as the block carved meerschaum. You can also find valuable collectible pipes in a lot of estate meerschaum pipes, which have already been used, but hold value because of their durability, rarity, age, or country of origin. Meerschaum pipes are lauded due to their light weight and porous structure, which does not flavor the tobacco the way wood pipes do. There is a large inventory of fascinating tobacciana collectibles on eBay for collectors of fine items, including meerschaum cigarette holders, ashtrays, and pipes.