On Facebook there are many groups dedicated to the art and enjoyment of smoking, especially pipes and cigars. Some of them are dedicated to the work of one pipe manufacturer, such as Rick Black Pipes. Others to the work of Hand made Pipes, still others to Pipe Restoration And Making, and some to both PIPE SMOKERS/MAKERS.
But it seems that wherever I turn on Facebook, one name keeps popping up in the field of estate pipes, and that name is Val Shannahan.
“You’re in good hands with Valstate!” is a commonly heard phrase when one hears that someone has made a pipe deal with Val.
My first acquaintance with Val Shannahan was when I went looking for someone to restore a pipe for me that would otherwise have been a very bad deal. I had acquired a pipe on Ebay that I had not taken a close look at, and rather than dishonestly retract my bid, I chose to have the pipe restored, and posted a plea on one of the pipe groups for somebody to set me up with a pipe restorer, and Val responded saying he could hook me up with the pipe restorer that he used.
So, suffice it to say I sent my pipe straight from the purchase at Ebay to pipe restorer Tim Tibbles (review on Tim later), and since he was recommended by Val, Val made certain to keep me well-informed as to the progress of my pipe.
I indeed felt that I was in good hands, and I didn’t even buy the pipe from them.
After that, I felt compelled to buy a pipe from him, so I waited until one came into my price range. When one finally came within reach, I hit up Val immediately as I seen how fast these pipes sold. There were occasions before this that other pipes had come within range, but they were sold before I could even ask about them, and other times when I would check my notifications only to find that the post Val had made less than 5 minutes before had been removed, and I soon realized that was because those pipes had sold in the mere 5 minutes that it took me to check my notifications.
It seemed pretty obvious to me, that Val priced his pipes to move. Rarely, have I ever seen one sit for more than an hour or two, and the pictures seem to indicate high quality pipes.
So it was that I found myself negotiating with Val to get my first pipe from him. Once the price was negotiated (OK, he told me the price and I went holy crap and decided to take it before it changed his mind) I set about gathering the money together to send to Val, only to be told that he had sent the pipe, and that I could pay him later.
I was sincerely touched by the trust, and with form probably expected by Val, I made certain that he got the money that I promised him.
Now, you probably can’t expect Val just to extend credit to anyone, but once you’ve established a good relationship, you will find that Val will figuratively bend over backwards to assist you in getting the pipe you want.
I’ve seen Val’s pipes offered for as little as $30.00 USD, and once I saw one for as much as $199 USD, but most advertised are under $75.00 USD.
I recently discovered that Val also sells many higher end pipes, but doesn’t often post them.
If you’re looking for something special or have a pipe you would like to find, he will be glad to help.
He will buy pipes, take trades and will also be happy to answer any of your pipe questions or assist you with a repair or restoration of one of yours.
Overall, I think that six odd months, and near that many pipes later, I now have a good friendship with Val, and the world of Facebook pipe smokers isn’t a very large one, a man (or a woman) develops a reputation, and I’ve never heard anyone say a bad thing about Val’s business dealings. I certainly know I wouldn’t say anything bad about his business and I would not hesitate to buy another pipe from him should one come up that I like.
You’re in good hands with Valstate, for all your estate pipe needs, that’s when I say and as I always say;
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!