Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bullet pencil with a difference

Pens and pencils made in the form of (or incorporating) cartridges usually were intended to celebrate military campaigns. This Mordan extending pencil, however, commemorates a very different sort of event: the 1903 Water Riots in Port of Spain -- a key moment in the history of independence for Trinidad. "Moloney" was Sir Alfred Moloney, Governor of Trinidad and Tobago from 1901 to 1904.  

The construction of this pencil is virtually identical to that of the Omdurman bullet pencils, and when I first acquired it, I assumed that it too was made in the same spirit. So it came as a surprise to discover that in fact, it commemorates colonial resistance to imperial rule.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1844 prize pen

This is a prize pen in silver-gilt, presented as an award for penmanship. It is dated by inscription and its London hallmark to 1844. The nib is made in one piece with the rest of the pen, and was made without any harder tipping material.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Eagle filigree overlay pencils

This picture is for pencil maven Jonathan Veley. I showed him this pair of unusual Eagle pencils at the Chicago show, where I had bought them from Peter Miller. Unmarked, black hard rubber, with fine silver filigree overlays. Neither is a catalogued item, so who knows what the backstory might be? Peter said he had owned them for some 25 years.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chicago Pen Show report

Got back from Chicago late last night. Did some good buying, mostly in dip pens and earlier writing equipment, but also brought home some notable fountain pens.

There were some real steals in the show auction, but also some surprises. Most notable was the Canadian Monroe set, which fetched a totally unexpected $880 ($800 hammer, plus 10%). Though this metal-capped version had never been seen before, most of us expected a final price less than half that. The most expensive lot was the large Parker blue-on-blue set, misdescribed by most as a Duofold Senior, which sold at $2500 hammer. The price was a surprise to many, though not to experienced collectors who realized that pen and pencil alike were much less common versions without any Duofold markings, the pen equipped with a #7 Lucky Curve nib. The pen was also a rare example illustrating factory coloring of the barrel imprint: not the crude filling as often done by collectors nowadays with grease pencils and the like, but just a trace of gold at the very bottom of the imprint, its originality guaranteed by the overlapping paper price band.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Equi-Poised combination set

 Wahl-Eversharp combos are rare, and almost entirely uncatalogued. So it is especially noteworthy when an example turns up in its original box, complete with exchange pieces (which, in this case, permit reconfiguration of the set into a pocket pen and a golf pencil -- more extensive sets are known).
This set came to us from the wild, untouched and with the original (hardened) sac still in place. We've had a number of similar sets over the years, but never one so clean and so demonstrably original.