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1999 Talbert Yule Blend

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 Price: $150
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Yep, I know that's a whopping price for a tin of tobacco, but... It's the last one that I know of. It's a first, and it's also something that the current regulations will never allow to happen again, so basically this is a, "This is what it's worth to me" price and I wouldn't even be offering it if we didn't have my wife's surgery bills to pay for.

The backstory - I went fulltime as a pipemaker in 1998. 1999 was my first full year in business and when December rolled around, I wanted to mark the occasion with a set of Talbert Yule Pipes, ten to be exact. I got with Greg Pease and he came up with this latakia-heavy English as a specialty blend, and we made up ten tins of it so that one tin would ship with each Yule Pipe, and also I got a couple more tins for myself. It was the first time I'd ever tried a project this complicated - Each of the Yule Pipes was not only a high grade Talbert Briar, but they also came with a matching briar & cumberland tamper and the tin of tobacco. I went one further and drew the tobacco tin art myself in pen & ink, then had it printed and actually stuck all the labels on myself. There's some fun runic inscription around Santa's bowl, and if you turn the tin upside down, his cap and beard are specifically drawn in such a way as to mimic a smoking pipe also. I also worked my signature into the detail carving around his pipe bowl rim.

Over the 20 years intervening, probably all of the other tins of this have been opened and smoked. I know I smoked the other two that I had, but I always held onto this one just for sentiment's sake. There's no telling what the tobacco inside is like - The tin is still sealed but there's a tiny pinprick rust hole in the bottom, and it sounds dry when I shake it, so some rehumidifying misting may be in order for whoever decides to finally open it. But still... This is a case where the value lies much more in the status of the tin as a rare collectible than it does in the tobacco. I ended up liking this pen & ink tin art much better than the acrylic color painting I did for the 2000 tobacco blend.

A classic case of - If nobody buys it, I'll be happy. If somebody buys it, I'll be sad, but that money will go into paying my wife's surgery, so it'll be for a good cause at least.