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In the US, does it make sense to order from Smokingpipes.eu?

I see estate Vauen pipes on there for 60 euros, which is about $71 US. Does it make sense, financially or any other way, to order from the European shop? I'd presume there would be hellacious shipping charges and a long wait? I seem to recall Columbo had to wait some months for his Vauen to come from Germany. Any ideas?
 
Not normally a problem, unless you have a problem. Then you can wind up with a big problem. I had some problems, on a pipe completely unavailable here in the US. It eventually turned out ok, after a bit of effort.

Overseas return shipping is sometimes not cheap, and there can be extensive delays. Not to mention potential customs headaches. If you can find it here in the US, my advice is to not go overseas unless there is a dramatic price savings. If it’s a one off estate, unique in all the world, that’s a different story.

SP.eu is the European affiliate of our own SP here in the US. Looking at their Vauen estates, most look like lower line (non white dot) new old stock, priced not much less than what SP or TP here offers them for. SP sells new entry level Vauens for $50-60, and even less with a VIP account. TP starts out a little higher, but sometimes offers a super deal (like my $105 white dot special that turned out to be a magnificent smoker).

If you don’t mind the wait, and you don’t mind the risks, and you think you are saving a lot, give it a try. Most of the time, it turns out OK. Another layer of protection on overseas sales is to use Ebay, but my experience is you may pay a premium compared to a direct purchase.

Another tip for overseas purchasing. As long as it is not a ‘prohibited good’, you can also buy things outside the US that would not normally be shipped here by using a parcel forwarding service (e.g., forward2me in the UK/EU). You will pay extra shipping fees, but it gets you what can’t otherwise get here. For instance, I enjoy lava lamps. A forwarding service lets me have high quality UK-made Mathmos lamps, because the ‘Lava Lamps’ now sold here are hopeless garbage, IMO.
 
The Vauen I had my eye on with SP.eu was a model called the Wave, model 3768: Estate Tobacco Pipes: German Estates Vauen Wave (3768) (9mm) (Unsmoked) || Smokingpipes.eu - https://tinyurl.com/vj7nya43 That's about $71 US. That model doesn't come up for me on SP.com, and the only Basic model Vauen shapes they have don't appeal to me. There's the Rubin model which looks about the same shape, but it's $118. Thus I wonder if ordering from the SP.eu might beat that $118.

That’s a nice pipe.

My experience with UK shipments is they get across pretty quickly. From the continent it takes a bit longer (especially with some DHL shipments). The problem is if there’s a problem and you have to ship it back. Then you lose unless the vendor picks up the shipping.

You could also check with SP here, and see if they would take returns for their EU shop (which I doubt they will).

I don’t see any US vendor deals on Vauens presently, and Ebay looks fairly dry on deals, too. There was a Vauen collector who decided to unload his collection on Ebay in 2019-20, and had a whole flock of NOS white dots going back to the 1980s for around $100 each. But they’re all snapped up (I got a nice sterling silver trimmed apple one, and it smokes great). Every so often a nice NOS one pops up there for cheap, but they disappear just as fast. Here’s one older white dot model in that same price range ($100) right now, although I am unfamiliar with the seller:


FWIW, a US dealer is listing this same model for $249.


TP occasionally runs clearance and extra off deals on select Vauens, including the white dots, which are a decided cut above their entry models. With patience, a great deal inevitably pops up from time to time there … although with their recent operation changes, that might end.

I guess my point is, if you’re willing to wait and or keep looking, a higher end Vauen should come along for just a little more than what you are willing to spend now. I have both white dot and standard Vauens, and both smoke well. The white dots are better pipes, as factory pipes go.

But the one you’re looking at right now looks like a good pipe at a good price. So I think either way you do well.

These are 9mm filter pipes. Some will come with an insert included, but if not, it’s a good idea to pick one up, or use a filter. They smoke a little sloppier wide open. The Vauen inserts have o-rings and work great. The Vauen filters are purportedly excellent as filters go. I’ve tried a couple, and they didn’t do a bad job at all.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
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