Jo Davidson was not a pipemaker by trade, but rather a sculptor who received substantial international acclaim for his portrait busts, primarily in clay. Davidson's association with the pipe world came about through the Marxman heirloom series, a collection of pipes started by Bob Marx in the 1940s. The "Famous Marxman Heirloom Pipe Collection" was advertised while on tour as a traveling show as a collection of pipes from all over the world "many sculptured by world-famous artists such as Jo Davidson...some valued at more than $1,000.00 each!" in 1947.
The standout of the Marxman Heirloom Collection was a self-portrait figural pipe by Jo Davidson carved in and around March of 1947, at one point advertised based on its insured value as the most expensive pipe in the world. Davidson's pipe traveled with the show with a price tag of $7,500.00 in 1947, or $81,911.16 in 2015 dollars.
The pipe was housed after the collection stopped touring in the Museum of Tobacco Art and History in Nashville, Tennessee, and upon the closing of that museum went to a private museum in Chicago.