Collecting Antique Meerschaum Pipes: Miniature to Majestic Sculpture, 1850-1925 is an illustrated guide to the smoking utensils made of a mineral that has been used since at least the early 1700s and which is, today, still a popular material. In the last decade, a surge in interest in tobacco collectibles has already spawned many books on cigarette lighters, cigar-box labels, and snuff boxes and bottles. This book now comes at a time when antique meerschaums are taking center stage, and collecting them is like buying blue-chip stocks. Ben Rapaport is one of the few internationally recognized authorities on the subject of antique pipes, and in this, his second book published by Schiffer, he has created a powerful and convincing tour de force in word and picture that evidences why so many pipe collectors have a fervent passion for these exceptional works of art. Ranging from very diminutive and expressive cigarette holders to massive sculptured pipes, these instruments were produced by many talented, skilled, and unknown craftsmen working in a cottage industry trade 150 years ago. The caliber of their handiwork and the myriad imaginative meerschaums they produced cannot be duplicated anywhere in the world today. Now, this volume is a permanent record of their unrivaled genius.
Ben Rapaport, a Virginia resident, retired U.S. Army career officer, and currently working as a systems integrator for a high-tech defense firm, has been collecting antique pipes for 40 years. Although his collection includes examples from around the globe, he has a special fondness for pipes, cheroot holders, and cigarette holders of meerschaum made in the last half of the 19th century to early in the 20th century. He is the author of four books on collecting tobacciana and has co-authored several other works on related tobacciana subjects. He was initiated into the Pipe Smoker's Hall of Fame in 1973, elected as the U.S. founding member of the International Academy of the Pipe in 1985, and inducted as a ConfrSre Pipier of the Confr'rie des MaOEtres Pipiers de Saint-Claude in 1991. He regularly writes for art journals and tobacco trade magazines about the lure and lore of tobacco collectibles. He believes that this latest written contribution to the collecting world will visibly-and unquestionably-show why he and so many other enthusiasts collect antique meerschaums.