Here’s a recent acquisition. Sterling silver, 124mm long x 8mm barrel diameter. Twist tip mechanism to advance or retract the 1.18mm lead. It takes those old short style leads, 35mm or 1 3/8 inch long. For comparison, most modern leads are 60mm long. The main body is guilloche pattern engraved, which is a pattern I generally like. Overall the pencil is in pretty good shape, although it has a pinhead dent in the top cap, and the tip has a little bit of damage as if it’s been dropped onto a hard floor once or twice. But nothing to get too concerned about.
The top section is engraved “The MASCOT Reg’d” and “Made in England”, so I assume Mascot is the model name of this pencil. As British silver it is of course legally required to be hallmarked. I think the British hallmarking system is great. I’m certainly no expert but it appears to be far more informative than the hallmark systems of most other countries.
Here’s the hallmarks.
Seeing they are so small (only about 1.5mm or 1/16th inch tall) I wasn't confident I'd be able to successfully photograph and enlarge the hallmarks so I took a couple of minutes and drew them with the aid of a 10X magnifier. Not the best, but it was only a quick 3 minute sketch.Again, at the risk of making a fool of myself, I believe the hallmarks on this pencil indicate it was made by E. Baker & Son (the E.B), and certified by the Birmingham Assay Office (the Anchor) as Sterling Silver (the Lion) in 1960 (the L in that specific font type, inside that specific shield shape).
E. Baker were apparently silversmiths of long standing. I found a record of them exhibiting at the 1929 British Industries Fair:
1929 Listed Exhibitor. Manufacturers of 9, 15 and 18 carat Gold and Silver
Patented Propelling Pencils, Telescopic and Cedar Pencils, Cigar Piercers,
Toothpicks, Penholders, Pocket Knives and Silver Lamp Extinguishers. Birmingham Jewellers' and Silversmiths' Association Member. (Stand Nos. J.43 and J.54)
Furthermore they are one of the three old British pencil manufacturers that effectively ended up amalgamated into the modern Yard-O-Led company.Whilst some vintage silver can go for stratospheric prices, you can also pick up some great bargains, like this pencil. It weighs 29 grams, so taking a little bit off for the internal non-silver mechanism, let’s say there is 23 grams of actual silver in the pencil. At US $11.50 per ounce, that means there is about US $9.40 of silver metal. That’s its nominal value as scrap metal. Well it only cost me a couple of dollars more than that, including delivery. A pretty good bargain.