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Saturday, September 26, 2015

1940 - A Centenary

I have been wanting one of these souvenir mechanical pencils for quite a while now, and finally found one that is in reasonable condition that still works. The problem is that they are not particularly good quality pencils and many of them no longer work and/or they are in poor condition. Also there do not really seem to be that many of them about, so perhaps they were not a big seller back in the day.

The New Zealand Centennial Exhibition celebrated the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is generaly regarded as the founding of New Zealand, and ran from 8 November 1939 to 4 May 1940. It was hugely popular, with 2.6 million visitors at a time when the population of New Zealand was only 1.6 million. The exhibition emphasised the Britishness of New Zealand, it's independance as a Dominion, but its commitment to, and pride in being, a nation within The Empire. Despite all that, reports indicate that most visitors went straight to the Crazy House and roller coaster in the Playland amusement park that was part of the exhibition.

The certificate of attendance is a background image

There was some speculation that the Exhibition would be cancelled due to the outbreak of World War Two, but it was felt cancellation might have a negative effect on morale so it went ahead as planned. Of course during the exhibition morale was high - off the coast of South America the navy had the victory of the Battle of the River Plate, and the first echelons of the army had arrived in Egypt. Of course a few weeks after the exhibition finished it all started going wrong, the Fall of France, the disasters for the New Zealand Army in the Battle of Greece and of Crete, etc.

Imprint in good but rather unimpressive original state
A good quality instruction sheet is always a bonus
Not surprisingly the pencil is a 1.18mm screw mechanism. Note the "Made entirely in England" on the instructions. I was surprised to see that the instructions are repeated in five other European languages. Presumably the unknown manufacturer had a substantial export business. I have seen this same model mechanical pencil without Centenary markings.


  1. You have been missed, welcome back.

  2. It's nice to see this blog still alive.

  3. Dave,

    Great to see a new post. Very nice classic pencil!

    Appleton, WI USA

  4. Great you won this auction. The pen looks quite nice, the 'end cap' is especially beautiful.

  5. Hi Dave. I like your blog very much and I consider it as an information reference about leadholder. I've some question for you about a couple of leadholder I bought. Where can I post?
    Thank you

  6. Dave

    what fortitude to acquire a piece of history-nice job!

    you might want to take a look at the Caran d'ache Leman .7mm pencil-- several varieties

    TWSBI mechanical pencils are somewhat new on the block as well

    Keep on keeping on-- Jim

  7. Funny you should mention Leman. I have one, and revieiwing it and another CdA often play on my mind... we'll see.

  8. Hi Dave
    I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and I love it, good job! I was particularly interested with the Pentel Smash review you did. I went to order one online however I have not been able to find the blue colour shown in your review. Do you have any information regarding where to purchase one from and where you got your one?
    Thanks, Anthony

  9. Sorry, can't help re Smash. Mine was obtained from another collector.

  10. The Smash has been discontinued. Anything you can find is old stock. Great to see you back Dave! I'm a big fan!

  11. Glad to see a new post! I really thought this great blog was done forever after that farewell post. You've never heard from me, but I've lurked your blog for about half a decade now, really enjoy it.

  12. Welcome back!

    From: Saudi Arabia

  13. Judging by the Clip and the circles logo I believe this is made by the Platignum pen Company. I have 6 pencils from Platignum myself and they all have the same circular logo as your pencil but on a metal plate fixed to the barrel, and two of them have the same clip.

  14. Morten, sorry for the ridiculously long time in replying, but thanks very much for the information re Platignum.