Condition is everything, some will say. Pass on an example with issues and wait for a clean one – so goes the conventional widsom. "They didn’t just make one," I’ve even been known to say.
But when it’s just a buck or two in a junk box, and it fills in a little bit of a story I’d like to tell, I don’t play according to Hoyle:
Now that’s a dent. Since this wasn’t a very expensive pencil when it was made, the barrel is made from a very thin material, but still – looks like someone slammed this one in a desk drawer or something. Before we look at what’s stamped on the barrel, have a look at the insides of this one:
Everything about this one screams Eberhard Faber of New York, a company which offered a whole plethora of leadholders like these. In fact, if it wasn’t for what was stamped on the barrel, I wouldn’t have given this one a second thought:
"Keene / New York / 12k 1-4." The last bit refers to the gold plating - one fourth 12k gold plating. The first part refers to Keene, the New York jeweler who on a whim decided to have Eclipse make pencils with his name on them in the early 1920s - probably no earlier than 1923, judging from the fact that most have Eclipse’s 1923 patent clip (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/03/have-keene-friday.html).
Which brings me to the reason I thought it was worth a couple bucks to share this one with you. Faber was making leadholders like these from the turn of the century forward. My guess is that before Keene became more serious about offering his own brand of writing instruments in his store, he started by dabbling with a custom order of Faber-made leadholders.