Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vintage Ad (1960): Wally Frank

Wally Frank was another pipe maker from the United States that seems to have developed a sort of cult following among collectors of cheaper pipes. Every time I sold one on eBay there was a flurry of bids for it and the final bid always surprised me at how high it went.

Here's one in which they combine at least three different gimmicks:

1. Threaded interchangeable bowl.
2. Pre-caked bowl.
3. Aluminum "radiator" stem.

Not that there's anything wrong with any of these gimmicks, or anything wrong with this particular pipe. However, breaking in a new pipe that has a completely naked inner bowl is not torture. I've always enjoyed it, actually.

Wally Frank also had something going for a while that might get modern nannyists into a frothing fit. They had a "Pipe of the Month Club." Members would receive a brand new Wally Frank pipe in the mail once a month. Of course, several tobacco distributors have had the same kind of program, at one time or another.

I've had a few Wally Franks pass through my hands. They were decent pipes. Nothing spectacular, but fine smokers nonetheless. Every one I had, I eventually resold, mainly because they kept selling so high. I mean, if I pay ten bucks for a box full of old pipes, and the Wally Frank sells for more than I paid for the entire lot, it's hard to not sell it.

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