Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Price?

Being a collector of anything involves some financial outlay. Luckily collecting pencils, woodcase or mechanical, is generally towards the lower end of the expense spectrum. Having said that, you can certainly spend many a pretty penny or two on mechanical pencils. You can easily pay hundreds of US dollars for luxury brand items by the likes of Parker, Caran d’Ache, Mont Blanc and Yard-O-Led. In moments of extreme PAS madness you can also pay over a hundred bucks for used vintage pencils that were not all that expensive in their day. Thankfully for me personally, these hundred dollar plus moments are the extreme exception rather than the norm, and I am taking steps to inoculate myself against them.

As any dedicated fan of Antiques Roadshow knows, provenance is everything. A piece of jewellery made by Faberge is tremendously expensive, but if that same piece of jewellery was owned by the Tsarina, then you can slap a couple of extra zeros on the price tag. Similarly there are silver spoons and then there are silver spoons made by Paul Revere.

I was recently discussing some historical events and disastrous communication failures with an American friend. In passing he mentioned ‘Jeb’ Stuart and the Battle of Gettysburg as one example. That set some of my lateral thinking cogs awhirl. As they say provenance is everything. So, what then is the most expensive mechanical pencil? Who knows? Think of some possibilities. I do know that the most expensive mechanical pencil I know of is the engraved gold pencil owned by the said Jeb Stuart and used to write battlefield orders. Auctioned back in 2006 along with a set of gold cufflinks, pre-auction value estimates were in the vicinity of US$10,000. Maybe one of you belongs to Worthpoint or wants to sign up for a free membership trial and tell us what it actually sold for.

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/jeb-stuart-s-highly-engraved-gold-mechanical-pen

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dave, please don't start me on Antique pencils.

I've been trying to stop myself from broadening my passion to include Antique pencils because of the sheer cost of it all BUT surreptiously Pentel do the same thing by producing Limited Editions in ten colours and two point sizes (Graph 1000 Limited 1 and 2) so to collect all twenty pencils I may as well start the Antique habit - it might be cheaper!!!

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

Antique - No, No, No - VINTAGE - Yes, Again - Yes and again - Yes. Its the time of life I'm afraid. 2 1/2p

kiwi-d said...

An educated searcher has pointed me to this website article re the jeb Stuart memorabilia auction in question.

http://www.liveauctiontalk.com/free_article_detail.php?article_id=710

I have copied the auction prices below:-

Gen Jeb Stuart

Portrait and Autograph; matted and framed; 10 inches by 15 inches; $3,884.

Gold Mechanical Pencil and Cuff Links; $19,120.

Field Compass and Lock of Hair; hair removed by wife on night of his death; $44,813.

West Point Class Ring; gold with green stone; given to Stuart by his parents when he graduated in 1854; $113,525.

Gold Pocket Watch; key-wind; 52mm pocket watch; inscribed with his initials; case by E. Maurice and Co., movement by John Cragg of London; $131,450.

Personal Battle Flag; most recognized banner of the Confederacy; 13-star design; $956,000.

Anonymous said...

Dave, you have some talented spotters. Very interesting article and shed's some light on the passion our American friends show for their flag.

2 1/2p

Anonymous said...

I have a collection valued at $35,000 in mechanical pencils. Most of them are antique, some are figural, some are rare advertising. I am a mechanical pencil nut! BUT I RESTRICT MYSELF TO $300 OR LESS. I AM NOT AN EXTREMIST!
-Bryan

Anonymous said...

Ebay has an Antique (Read: pre-revolution) Faberge gold pencil that just listed. I'll stick with my laptop.

Anonymous said...

I listed the Faberge pencil. I changed my "no return" policy to "7 day return policy" because of concerns (not mine) that it may not be real. The markings are hard to read with a 10 power loupe. It is easier to understand why starving Russians would revolt when their autocracy (and friends) were using jewel encrusted gold pencils.

Anonymous said...

Have a pretty 9c gold antique mechanical pencil which is marked st 26908 do any of you pencil nuts no who it could be made by . Have been told it could be dupont ? CHEERS