This morning, a complete set of the original 1997 Colleen Woods pencils sold at an online auction for ¥110,000.
The price is a validation of the importance and rarity of these pencils.
Please see the previous posts on the Colleen Woods for more information:
Colleen Woods Volume 1 (2010)
Colleen Woods Volume 2 (2009)
For a relatively affordable reinterpretation from some of the same creators of the original set, please take a look at the Bosco Woods which are still available at retail.
Another Thoreau pencil is for sale. This follows an auction by the Thoreau Society earlier in 2023.
This time the seller is online vintage pencil store Brand Name Pencils.
Asking $USD4500 (and the website offers a 10% discount for subscribing to a newsletter), this is roughly double the price of the Thoreau Society pencil.
This pencil has an imprint – “J. Thoreau & Co”, which I believe is highly desirable. But what is lacking are clear photos of that imprint and particularly the end – the lead and joints. I’d also be concerned about how the peculiar storage may have affected the pencil.
I’m sure Bob wouldn’t have bought this pencil if he didn’t believe it to be genuine, but I’d suggest that at this price one might hope for more background. The statement “This particular pencil comes to me by way of a large Victorian in West Roxbury, Massachusetts” had me imagining an older, rotund person.
And an alternate spelling of the name “Henry” doesn’t garner confidence regarding the attention to detail.
Still, an extremely interesting offering.
If you buy this pencil, please let us know.
And a very happy new year to all!
A recent link from Hacker News led to a significant traffic spike at pencil talk. From what I see in the logs, over ten thousand people visited that day. Welcome!
This morning, the New York Times published the obituary of Professor Henry Petroski.
Duke University’s obituary is here.
Petroski was the author of The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, the authoritative history of the pencil.
My thanks to Michael from Orange Crate Art for sharing the news with me.
In 2020, Prof. Petroski told me that he had read this blog, which continues to humble me.
Last week, a Thoreau pencil sold by online auction for $USD2200.
The auction, arranged by the Thoreau Society and Thoreau Farm Trust, offered a single pencil from the famous Thoreau & Company. This pencil maker, associated with the earliest organized pencil making in the United States and a family business of Henry David Thoreau, is described in the chapter An American Pencil-Making Family in Henry Petroski’s The Pencil.
I accept the provenance of the pencil, and the price seems reasonable to me. I do wish there was a better photo of the pencil itself.
For added interest, note the famous donor.
Last year, Caran d’Ache released an unusual product, a pencil with a lead containing coffee grounds. This blog took a look at the pencils, and deemed them innovative but having problems.
Caran d’Ache recently released a second version, officially called a Set of 3 NESPRESSO graphite pencils Limited Edition 5th Edition. This is a series that includes both ballpoints, clutch pencils, and woodcase pencils. Editions 1, 2, and 3 were ballpoint pens, while 4 included both the original pencils and a 2mm Fixpencil.
This pencil has some significant differences – the wood is “FSC™ certified cedar” rather than Swiss beech, and the lead is smooth and no longer crumbles. I would say the mark is fainter. Also gone is the unusual aroma. The end caps are “ochre, green and gold” according to Caran d’Ache. This version is an attractive, approachable, and very usable quality pencil.