Last August at the DC Show, Joe Nemecek sold me a Parker Bridge set, which included the bases for all four suits, one of which was boxed and included the correct pencil:
Included in the deal were pencils to fill the other three trumpets, including a mandarin yellow one and a burgundy and black example – nothing to sneeze at for sure. Was I happy with the deal? Plenty happy. Did it bug me that the set didn’t have two red and two black pencils? Not at all.
Okay. I’m lying. It bugged me a little bit.
Okay, I’m still lying. It was driving me frickin’ crazy.
I did find one red vest pocket before the show was over in DC, but I never put it in one of the trumpets. Why? Because I couldn’t decide which one to put it in – the heart or the diamond one. Yes, I know that’s insane. So I put it alongside all the other vest pockets in my collection instead, and I waited for a second red one to come my way.
At the Philadelphia pen show, I thought I caught a break – there was another red vest pocket pencil in the auction preview. It was the only reason I got a bidder number. I was the high bidder, but there was a reserve that was twice as high as my winning bid. This is nuts, I thought to myself. There’s no reason to pay twice as much as anyone else in this room is willing to pay for that dumb little pencil.
In a moment of lucidity, I passed. Even though it drove me bonkers doing so.
When the Baltimore Show rolled around, that same vest pocket pencil shows up in the auction again. And I’m the high bidder – again. And there’s a reserve – the same reserve – again. This time, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
It’s got the same imprint exactly as the one I found in DC:
But . . . oh crap . . .
I’d forgotten that Parker vest pocket pencils had two different styles of nose cones! I’d noted that difference some time ago and shot these photographs last fall, when I was comparing a "Moderne Black and Pearl" (that’s the Parker name) with a "Seafoam" example (that’s pearl with green veins – I don’t know whether that’s Parkerese or a collector nickname):
Since the Seafoam color was introduced later, I had theorized that the longer tips might have been introduced later, as well. Maybe that’s true, maybe not:
So my two red Parker vest pocket pencils are not as identical as I had hoped they would be. You might wonder, since I couldn’t even decide which trumpet to put my lone red pencil into, why I haven’t been committed to an institution while I try to decide which trumpet gets the longer tip, or whether to keep searching for another so there are exactly matching pencils in each of the two trumpets. The good news is I did find a solution short of medication for my problem:
As long as I don’t take them out of the socket, I can’t tell which one’s which.
Now, to find another black one . . .