The headline from this year's Triangle Pen Show in Raleigh, North Carolina was the staggering collection Ross McKinney brought to liquidate. The frenzy that surrounded him for the better part of the day was an indication of just how good that stuff was.
One of the advantages to being a pencil guy is that while the pen guys are doing their thing, we are generally content to sit back and wait until the activity dies down, then we come in and pick over all the pencils, which are generally left behind. Believe me, it's great for the blood pressure!
So that's what I did -- and I found some great stuff that I haven't gotten around to writing about just yet. Joe Nemecek was over there a bit before I was, since I had a table to look after, and he got some great stuff, too. But there was plenty to go around.
After a few hours, all of us predators had picked the proverbial wildebeast down to the bones, and what were full pen cases full of prizes were now mostly empty, with just a few lonely stragglers that no one wanted left behind. Mostly, the things that were left were things that should have been. But late Saturday, as the show was slowing down, I had some time to peek around a bit and I swung back around the carcass of this collection, after everyone else had spent themselves silly, for some quality time looking at what was left.
One of the last remnants was this:
You can see why it was left behind -- it looks like just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Welsh-style flattop pencil, right? But since I had the time, I took a closer look at it with my loupe, and imagine my surprise:
"Grieshaber Pens Chicago, Ill." The company made some fine pens, and there's quite a few guys who have assembled some nice collections from this maker.
But what makes this special to a pencil guy like me is that I've never seen a pencil that was actually marked Grieshaber. I've got a few that I suspect were made by Grieshaber, but without more than a hunch I wasn't going to list them in The Catalogue! This one, however leaves no doubt.
As I examined this one more closely, some things looked a little familiar to me. Notice the top:
Here's the Grieshaber, posed next to a couple of Cross "Alwrite" pencils:
The Alwrite flattop is nearly a dead ringer for our Grieshaber, and the small ringtop also has similar beadwork around the top of the cap:
I'm not prepared to say that Cross made pencils for Grieshaber, because from everything I've seen, these Cross Alwrites themselves look very . . . un-Cross-like. Neither am I prepared to say that Grieshaber made pencils for Cross.
But I am prepared to say that whoever made one made the other.