Hand Carved or Machine Made
A lot of pipes bought today normally cost in the region of $50. The pipes within this price range are generally machine made from ebauchon briar wood. However, the smoke that they provide isactually pretty good. These days machine made tobacco pipes can smoke pretty much as good as the more expensive, hand made Dunhill pipes. The cheaper pipes are actually inexpensive due to the work being automated and with materials that are standardised. It may be a case that you find that the stems don't always fit really tightly or maybe the pipe has noticeable putty fills.
The majority of middle range pipes, which cost from $100 to $400, you will find are hand crafted. There are a very small minority that have been shaped on a fraising machine. However, all of these pipes will have used high grade briar, will have a beautiful appearance and will smoke extremely well. It is possible that they may have noticeable blemishes, but unlikely. Within this price range you will discover the top names in pipe making, any pipe here will be a quality pipe. There are around fifty thousand pipes a year sold within this price bracket.
Then finally we come to the premium pipes, the Chonowitsch, Ivarsson and Bang pipes to name a few, along with the premium pipes of Castello, Dunhill and Savinelli. These are the Rolls Royce pipes, the ones that achieve the greatest levels of design, performance and appearance. You maybe surprised to learn that these works of pipe art can cost $10,000. Not surprisingly, only around one thousand of these high end pipes are sold every year in the United States.